Introducing the Hawaiʻi Congressional Media Collection

Last week, we packed up 53 boxes of film and video and transported them from UH Mānoa Library’s Hawaiʻi Congressional Papers Collection to ‘Uluʻulu: The Henry Kuʻualoa Giugni Moving Image Archive of Hawaiʻi at UH West Oʻahu. The boxes contained moving image material from the archival collections of Senator Spark Matsunaga, Representative Pat Saiki, Senator Hiram Fong, Representative Tom Gill, and Representative Neil Abercrombie–nearly 900 individual items in all. (AV material from Senator Akaka’s collection, which has not yet been processed by archives staff, is currently being prepared for transfer to ʻUluʻulu; AV material from Senator Daniel Inouye’s collection is already being cared for by ʻUluʻulu.)

The move is part of a partnership between the Hawaiʻi Congressional Papers Collection and ʻUluʻulu to establish the Hawai’i Congressional Media Collection at ‘Ulu’ulu. Building on the strength of HCPC’s collections and on ‘Uluʻulu’s expertise and well-established infrastructure, the partnership will ensure that this important audiovisual documentation of Hawaiʻi’s political history will be preserved, digitized, and shared.

ʻUluʻulu head archivist Janel Quirante and digital media specialist Robbie Omura unload boxes of videotapes.

ʻUluʻulu Head Archivist Janel Quirante said, “All of us at ‘Ulu‘ulu are thrilled that we can work in partnership with the University Archives & Manuscripts Department to help preserve, digitize and make accessible the Hawaiʻi Congressional Media collection. It was so exciting to peek inside the boxes when they arrived at ‘Ulu‘ulu and see the media history of our state’s delegates to the U.S. Congress. I look forward to working with the collection, and helping students and researchers view the footage, some of which is over 50 years old!” 

Indeed, the materials date from the early 1960s through the early 2000s, and encompass a range of formats from 16mm film to miniDV tapes. They document significant issues facing Hawaiʻi over the last half-century, as well as issues and events of national and international importance. Highlights include footage of Senator Fong and President Nixon at the White House in 1970; television campaign spots for Representative Tom Gill; Senator Fong’s and then-Representative Matsunaga’s 1960s and 70s messages from the Senate and House Recording Studios; debates on redress for Japanese Americans interned during WWII; Representative Pat Saikiʻs Washington Reports; footage of President George H. W. Bushʻs 1990 visit to Hawaiʻi; Representative Neil Abercrombie’s campaign ads; and televised programming and debates on topics like sovereignty, land, the economy, the Jones Act, sugar, natural resource management, the Iraq war, and public education. 

“This collection is an amazing complement to the other political media collections housed at ‘Ulu‘ulu including the Hawaiʻi Political History Documentation Project from the Center for Labor Education and Research (CLEAR); the DIALOG public affairs television series from PBS Hawai‘i; the Daniel K. Inouye Oral History Project from the Daniel K. Inouye Institute; and the First Friday : The Unauthorized News television series from the Kamakakūokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies,” Quirante said.  

Assistant Archivist for Research and Outreach Archivist Tisha Aragaki, Congressional Papers Archivist Dawn Sueoka, Digital Media Specialist Robbie Omura, Auxiliary and Facilities Services Officer Mark Pascua, Cataloger and Assistant Archivist Koa Luke, and Head Archivist Janel Quirante with the Hawaiʻi Congressional Media Collection.

“Our next steps will be to prepare the materials for storage in our vault, accession the items into our catalog, and start planning and budgeting for their digitization,” she said. 

We will continue to keep you updated on the progress of this exciting initiative! Mahalo to ʻUluʻulu, and to the families of Senator Spark Matsunaga, Senator Hiram Fong, Representative Tom Gill, and Senator Daniel Akaka; and to Representative Pat Saiki and Representative Neil Abercrombie for their support for this partnership!

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