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Museums and the Web

An annual conference exploring the social, cultural, design, technological, economic, and organizational issues of culture, science and heritage on-line.

Never Lost: Polynesian Navigation








You’ve been sailing for weeks, and there’s no land in sight. Do you know where you are? Do you know which way to go?

Never Lost Home Page: Splash Screen of Never Lost: Polynesian Navigation website Never Lost Home Page: Splash Screen of Never Lost: Polynesian Navigation website

Thousands of years ago, Polynesians voyaged across the open ocean, settling far-flung islands in the Pacific. They navigated without instruments, relying on direct observation and a deep understanding of sky and ocean. Never Lost: Polynesian Navigation is a new multimedia, bilingual

 (English/Hawaiian) website that immerses the user in the techniques and traditions of Polynesian navigation. Visitors to the site learn to use natural signs to find their way, meet Hawaiian master navigators as they “talk story,” and use an online planetarium for a navigator’s tour of the night sky. The revival of traditional navigation in Hawaiʻi is a story with deep resonance in the Hawaiian community that is rooted in rich and thriving cultural values. Never Lost is the first and only website on Polynesian Navigation that is fully bilingual English and Hawaiian. As such, this rich multi-media experience can help Hawaiian youth from language immersion schools learn about their ancestors’ navigation traditions in their own language.

 Never Lost/Explore the Island









Never Lost/Interactive Canoe TourNever Lost/Interactive Canoe Tour








Never Lost/Adze Ceremony Never Lost/Adze Ceremony









Never Lost/Basics of Wayfinding








The Never Lost: Polynesian Navigation website was developed by the Exploratorium in collaboration with ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawai‘i, University of Hawai‘i, Institute for Astronomy, ‘Aha Pūnana Leo: Language Nest and Hōkūalaka‘i Navigation Program, and the Polynesian Voyaging Society. The Never Lost website was made possible through the generosity of NASA Science Mission Directorate, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, The Jim Clark Endowment for Internet Education, and the McBean Family Foundation.