History & Culture
Kalaupapa serves as a reminder of a nation in crisis when Hawaiian people were exposed to diseases for which they had no immunities. Options for preventing the spread of contagious diseases were few. Isolation for leprosy seemed like the best solution but came at a high personal price.
Kalaupapa, once a community in isolation, now serves as a place for education and contemplation. It is a place where many families in Hawai'i can reconnect with a grandparent or relative once considered "lost". It is a place where past suffering has given way to personal pride about accomplishments made in the face of great adversity. It is a place where we can reconsider our responses to people with disfiguring disabilities or illnesses. It is a place where the land has the power to heal - because of its human history, natural history and stunning physical beauty.
On the History and Culture page you can learn about the people, places, and stories of Kalaupapa. Here you can learn about the cultural resources of the park, including its living community, architecture, cemeteries, landscapes, museum collection, and archeological artifacts. These resources are meant to expand your knowledge about the thousands of people who were sent here and foster public understanding of Hansen's disease.