HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hoping to bring the past to life, the Iolani Palace is in the process of having a facelift and palace visitors are able watch the work happen. In a room located between Queen Emma's bedroom and Queen Liliuokalani's imprisoned room at the Iolani Palace, textile experts can be seen sewing drapes. It is one of many projects that the Palace has in the works to help re-create some of the Palace's original furnishings.
Curators used historical documents such as purchase orders, journal entries, photographs and room inventories, to determine the design of the textiles. Textile expert, Cecile Oliver was flown in from Vermont to reconstruct the Palace's music room draperies and helping her is University of Hawaii-Manoa and Honolulu Academy of Arts teacher, Darius Watamull Homayonpour.
"We were able to machine stitch the central seams on the main panels, most of the other work is all done by hand because that is the technology that they were dealing with in 1883 and we are making them as close as possible to the original draperies," said Oliver.
Fabric that is being used to remake the music room draperies were made overseas. Custom made gold stain mohair fabric was ordered from New York fabric company, Scalamandré. The fabric was made in Switzerland and shipped to New York for finishing. The velvet band fabric that is being used for the drapes trimmings are from Pennsylvania Company, Robert Allen. That fabric is interlined with cotton flannel and lined with cotton satin.
The finished music room is scheduled to be unveiled at the end of October 2010. Included in the completed room will be matching furniture such as a center sofa, six chairs, and an Elizabethan-styled music rack in black ebony.
Oliver hopes that visitors will be able to see some of Hawaii's history come to life.
"With draperies and carpets and the original furnishings that are now being reupholstered as we speak…they are going to feel and step back in 1883. There is going to be a sense of the monarchy's presence and how they lived in that space and how it was used and it's going to just add a very vital element to the palace's experience."