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Kayla Kuʻualoha Annen

Bishop Museum

Ethnology Collections Manager

Country: Hawaii, USA

ITP Year: 2023


Kayla is Ethnology Collections Manager at the Bishop Museum in Hawaii, USA, where her position is centred around collections care and activation. A large part of her work concerns the long-term upkeep of the museum’s collection spaces, conducting inventories, managing a team of Collections Technicians, and working with the curatorial team to coordinate repatriation and ethical return projects.

Kayla’s current projects are geared towards collection care. She has been working on designing a collection training programme in Honolulu that connects local institutions and fulfils training needs across multiple departments. She is also doing work with community members around the museum’s collections. This work takes many forms, such as access to collections for practitioners and researchers, inviting community members to help inventory the collections, and facilitating visits from descendants of donors to the museum.

Kayla’s academic interests are in Art History and Pacific Island studies. She is interested in learning more about Oceanic and Indigenous history by way of material culture. Other professional interests include museum management and leadership, collections care and conservation techniques, collection management, fundraising, and community engagement.

Kayla’s dream for museums of the future, is for pay equity issues to be resolved and all museum staff can work at museum full-time with benefits, afford their rent, and have a savings account.

At the British Museum
During Kayla’s time on the International Training Programme she was be based in the Department of Africa, Oceania and the Americas and spent her UK partner placement at National Museums Northern Ireland.

As an ongoing project throughout the six-week programme, fellows were asked to use their existing skills and experience, and the knowledge gained throughout the annual programme, to create, develop, and propose a new interpretation for an object currently on display in the British Museum. Working in her departmental group, Kayla used their object, a hunting coat made from deer skin, to emphasise the importance of working with the community of origin when displaying objects significant to that culture.

Kayla’s participation on the International Training Programme was generously supported by the Aall Foundation.