|Main Double Staircase at Front Entrance of Palace|
|Royal Dining Room - Where the King Hosted Foreign Dignitaries/Guests|
But why is it so empty inside? Glad you asked (just because I don't pay attention to history plaques doesn't mean I don't like to write them). After the overthrow of the monarchy, 'Iolani Palace became the headquarters for the Provisional Government, Territory, and eventually the State of Hawai'i. During WWII, it served as the temporary headquarters for the military governor in charge of martial law in the Hawaiian Islands. And of course, any time the government gets involved everything goes to hell and falls into disrepair. On January 17, 1893, Queen Lili'uokalani was deposed in a coup d'état. She tried to promulgate a new constitution that was intended to increase the monarch's power and limit citizen influence and suffrage. This galvanized opposition forces composed of Hawai`i-born citizens, naturalized citizens and foreign nationals (it was mostly businessmen and sugar plantation owners). Contrary to Wikipedia's uncited claims, this was not an effort by the U.S. Government to control Hawaiian land (that came later). While it's true that the opposition forces were supported by the American Minister to Hawai`i, the U.S. Government didn't really have much to do with the overthrow (though U.S. Marines eventually came ashore at the request of the conspirators). The queen was then imprisoned at the Palace under house arrest for 13 months (she was only allowed to walk on her balcony at night so her supporters couldn't see her). The U.S. annexed Hawaii 5 years later during the Spanish American War in 1898 in order to control Pearl Harbor.
The Hawai'i State Government finally moved to its current Capitol Building in 1969, after which Hawaiian citizens decided to restore the palace. Today, the inside is gorgeous. The floors have all be re-done. Most of the doors and wood paneling are made from Koa Wood (Koa trees are native to Hawaii and are very rare). Almost all the furniture and artifacts that are in the palace are original and were used by the monarchy. The only problem is that the restoration committee is trying to only use original contents (remember? the shit that was sold and auctioned?). As you can imagine, it is difficult to get
100-year-old artifacts that stuff back from around the world. As a result, a lot of the rooms are still completely or very nearly empty. So until they re-furnish the Palace more fully it is FAR too overpriced. Hearing about the process of recovering the artifacts was actually pretty cool, though. All in all, take some pictures of the outside, read this blog post, Google "Iolani Palace," and call it a day.