Why we don’t touch artwork

Our mission at the Honolulu Museum of Art is to create relevant and transformative experiences through the study, preservation, presentation and creation of art. But by that, we mean look—but do not touch.

While it is tempting to reach out to the artworks in our galleries and courtyards, touching them can lessen their life expectancy. Our hands contain oils that react to their surfaces and leave marks that are irreversible. If we all touched the art that we love, there would be little left for future generations to connect with and enjoy.

Please be responsible and thoughtful: don’t touch the art, and don’t climb up on pedestals or platforms. These exist to protect the objects.

I own a work of art. Can the museum help me find out more about it?

Unfortunately, the museum’s curatorial departments do not have the resources to dedicate time to individual research requests.

The Honolulu Museum of Art cannot provide valuation on art objects for the public or its members. If you wish to know the value of your artwork, you should consult a trained professional art appraiser to help you with your questions.

I have an artwork that is damaged, how do I get it repaired?

Caring for art requires much special care and attention, and we are therefore hesitant to offer advice. We suggest that you contact the American Institute for Conservation of Historic & Artistic Works. Their website has pamphlets on selecting a conservator and a general introduction to the care of various materials. They also have a free referral service of conservators throughout the United States. They also offer various publications containing general information related to conservation and choosing a conservator. You may write to them at 1717 K Street NW, Suite 301, Washington, D.C. 20006, or call them at (202) 452-9545.

Many object-care needs may not rise to the level of requiring professional conservation. Two excellent books highly regarded by the conservation community are Caring for Your Collections (Harry N. Abrams, 1992) and Caring for Your Family Treasures (Heritage Preservation, 2001).

How can I sell or donate a piece of art to the museum?

The museum is always interested in adding new objects to its collection. The first step is to mail or email color photographs of the art objects accompanied by detailed descriptions of the objects and how they were obtained. It is also helpful to include a brief statement regarding why you would like the Honolulu Museum of Art to consider them for acquisition to the museum. Please mail or email the information about the items to the appropriate department:

European & American Art:
900 S. Beretania St.
Honolulu, HI 96814

Asian Art:
900 S. Beretania St.

Honolulu, HI 96814

900 S. Beretania St.
Honolulu, HI 96814

Contemporary Art:
900 S. Beretania St.
Honolulu, HI 96814

Arts of Hawai'i:
900 S. Beretania St.
Honolulu, HI 96814

After receiving your information, a representative of the curatorial department will determine if the items are appropriate for addition to the museum's collection. If it is determined to be something the museum should pursue, a representative from the curatorial department will contact you about our accession policy.

Submitting artist proposals to the museum

Artists of Hawai‘i biennial exhibition:
• Open to artists currently living in Hawai’i
• The exhibition is held on odd-numbered years; prospectus and submission information is available in the year prior to the exhibition.
• See information on the upcoming Artists of Hawai‘i.

Honolulu Museum of Art School galleries
• Request for proposals and application information available here
• Exhibitions Manager: Marlene Siu,

John Dominis and Patches Damon Holt Gallery Contemporary Hawai‘i Artists Exhibition Program
• By invitation only
• Curator, Arts of Hawai'i: Healoha Johnston,

Honolulu Museum of Art at First Hawaiian Center
• By invitation only.
• Assistant Curator, Contemporary Art: Katherine Love,

Artists outside of Hawai’i
• You may send exhibition announcements or information to: Katherine Love, Assistant Curator, Contemporary Art, Honolulu Museum of Art, 900 S. Beretania Street, Honolulu, HI 96814; or email

PLEASE NOTE: The curators are unable to respond to all inquiries. Documentation including CDs, slides, catalogues, and/or portfolios mailed to the museum will not be returned. Do not send original artwork. If there is curatorial interest in the submitted work, you will be contacted for more information.