This interesting educational museum in central Maui displays various exhibits about sugarcane and the early years of Hawaii plantation life including the many different immigrant cultures who came to Hawaii to work on the sugarcane plantations. An exhibit about the production of sugarcane features a scale model of a cane crusher. The museum building itself was formerly the home of a Hawaiian plantation supervisor, known as a luna.
The museum also tells the story of sugar barons Samuel Alexander and Henry Baldwin including huge irrigation ditch projects and political battles involving Hawaii’s sugarcane industry. Alexander & Baldwin was one of Hawaii’s “Big Five” companies that controlled virtually all of the sugarcane industry in the Hawaiian Islands.
Today they are still one of Hawaii’s biggest companies and own Matson Navigation as well as many real estate holdings. Across the street from the Sugar Museum is the Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Company sugar mill which opened in 1902 and at one time was the largest sugar mill in the world. The town of Puunene housed more than 10,000 sugarcane workers by 1930.
The Sugar Museum includes a gift shop, library, many artifacts and exhibits, and picnic areas. The Museum is open Monday through Saturday from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm. From February to April, and in July and August, the Museum is also open on Sundays. Call (808) 871-8058 for more information.
Follow the Mokulele Hwy. (Hwy. 350) south from Kahului Harbor and then turn left on Hansen Road. You will see the Sugar Mill Museum on the right.