Small Grants program grantees popularize the Russian Hawaiian Heritage

Alexander Molodin, the Small Grants 2016-2017 program grantee, implemented his project –"Virtual Journey to the Russian-Hawaiian History". Alum of the Fulbright Visiting Scholar program 2015-2016, Molodin is Chair of the Urban Planning and Urban Management department at the Novosibirsk State University of Architecture & Civil Engineering, well versed in the history of architecture of the Russian settlements in North America. His grant-sponsored website focuses on supporting projects for the study, popularization and preservation of Fort Elizabeth – the largest Russian fortress in Hawaii with a 200-year history, built on the island of Kauai in 1816, under the leadership of Georg Schäffer, a German physician in the employ of the Russian-American Company.

The site presents a 3D-guide of the fort with audio, descriptions of current projects, such as "Historical Markers", "Visitor Center" and the "Russian Hawaii" graphic novel, as well as a report about the Fort Elizabeth Forum 2017, which aimed at transforming the fortress remains into a historical and cultural center of the Russian-American heritage, with creation of the necessary infrastructure. The website also contains a detailed history and a digital exhibition of the Hawaiian Islands’ Russian period, featuring images from Russian and international archives, museums and heritage collections.

In addition, Molodin became the first Russian to receive the Preservation Honor Award from the Historic Hawaii Foundation for "Fort Elisabeth Architectural Reconstruction” study. The awards have been presented annually for over 40 years to scholars and scientists from all over the world who have contributed to the preservation of the Hawaiian historical heritage.

Another graduate of the Fulbright Visiting Scholar program 2015-2016, Dmitry Semakin is popularizing the Russian Hawaiian heritage. He wrote and published a book "Russians on the Sandwich Islands (1815-1817), or the Adventures of Dr. Schaeffer. Historical Documentary and Adventurous Tragicomedy in Four Acts" that describes the events of the Russian-Hawaiian saga of 1815-1817, with occasional use of theatrics and fiction.

Photos: courtesy of the Fort Elizabeth website.

The Fulbright Program in Russia. Institute of International Education.
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