Queen Emma Summer Palace – Oahu

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If you’ve ever wanted to tour a royal palace, visit the Queen Emma Summer Palace on the island of Oahu. The secluded home in the mountains was constructed in 1847 and served as a retreat for Queen Emma, King Kamehameha IV and their son. Today the home is a museum and listed on the National Historic Registry.

Visitors to Queen Emma’s Summer Palace can get a taste of what it would have been like to live as Hawaiian Royalty in the mid to late 19th century. The home was used as a summer retreat for Queen Emma and her husband and belonged to Emma, not the royal family. The home is full of perfectly preserved treasures that offer unique insight into the native royals of Hawaii.

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Queen Emma Summer Palace History

Built in 1847 in Nu’uanu Valley, and surrounded by mountains of Oahu, Queen Emma’s Palace, also called Hānaiakamalama, was used as a summer retreat for Queen Emma, King Kamehameha IV, and Prince Albert Edward, their son. Queen Emma was a candidate for the throne after her husband passed away in 1863; however, the people elected King Kalakaua instead. The Queen was known for her musical talents as a singer, dancer, and pianist. She was also an accomplished equestrian and helped establish a public hospital for Native Hawaiians suffering from smallpox. That property is now Queen’s Medical Center. She also founded a girls’ school that offered a progressive education that was never offered to females in Hawaii before.

The Daughters of Hawaii were able to acquire the home and 22,750 square feet of grounds in 1915 and turned the property into a beautiful museum that celebrates the heritage of Hawaiian royalty.

Queen Emma’s Palace is listed on the National Historic Registry and proudly showcases Queen Emma’s art, antiques, royal regalia, personal belongings, and furnishings. The historic landmark is managed by the Daughters of Hawai’i and open seven days per week but closed on all major holidays.

The palace is also rented for private events such as weddings and was named the Best of 2016 Wedding Spot Award. The palace accommodates up to 115 guests for a dinner reception in the Emmalani Hale building adjacent to the Palace Museum. The Prince Albert Terrace which is uncovered and overlooks an immaculately landscaped park can seat up to 80 people.

Queen Emma Summer Palace Exhibits and Collections

Queen Emma’s Palace is a museum dedicated to the life of Queen Emma and her family. The home and grounds have been preserved to reflect the late 19th century and early 20th century way of life that the Royal Family enjoyed. The Queen’s personal possessions, original home furnishings, artworks, antiques, and royal regalia are all showcased within the home.

Queen Emma Summer Palace Tours

Guided tours of the Queen Emma’s Palace Museum are included with admission but are subject to docent availability. Tours are typically offered hourly from 10am to 2 pm Monday through Saturday and at 11 am and 1 pm on Sundays.

Group tours that include ten or more participants should be scheduled a week in advance and school field trips can also be arranged.

When visiting the museum, patrons should keep in mind that the palace was built in the 19th century and as it is a historic landmark, has not been updated to meet accessibility standards. Access may not be possible for patrons who have difficulties with stairs; however advance arrangements can be made by contacting the museum.

Queen Emma Summer Palace Special Events

Queen Emma’s Palace is home to many cultural events that take place in Honolulu annually including birthday celebrations for former Royal Family Members such as Prince Albert Edward whose birthday party takes place at the Palace on Hawai’i Keiki Day in March.

Queen Emma Summer Palace Additional Attractions

Queen Emma’s Palace also includes a giftshop on the museum grounds featuring handcrafted gifts made locally and several publications by the Daughters of Hawai’i and local authors. Wedding favors are also sold in the giftshop which is open seven days a week but closed on all major holidays.

Queen Emma’s Summer Palace is located just a few minutes from downtown Honolulu, on the edge of the Nuuanu Valley Park. Located on the other side of the park is the  Daijingu Temple of Hawaii.