Documentary Series Highlight Pacific History and Archeology

Two documentary series premier next week on PBS Hawai'i and the Educational Channel in Hawai'i: Stories to Tell and Pacific Clues. Both series are targeted for seventh graders across the state who study the Pacific as part of the curriculum standards for that grade. Through television, both these series take students out of the classroom environment and into the field, to see the Pacific in a way an archeologist or anthropologist sees, studies and records evidence to build new knowledge about the Pacific.

Hosted by Lahela Perry, a graduate student working on her Doctorate in Anthropology, Stories to Tell is a nine-part television series telling the story of four whaling ships sunk during the U.S. Civil War in 1865 in Pohnpei, in the Federated States of Micronesia. The whaling ships were sunk by the Confederate raider C.S.S. Shenandoah.

One of the sunken vessels was the Harvest, a whaling ship whose homeport was Honolulu. The whaling ships moved out of New England, to Hawai'i and the Pacific, and then into Pohnpei, where dramatic changes took place as the result of whaling. Many people, especially our students, do not know the U.S. Civil War was internationalized, going beyond the continental boundaries of the U.S. and into the Pacific. This series explores how and why the U.S. Civil War came into the Pacific.

Every show features a visit with maritime archeologist Suzanne Finney from the University of Hawai'i at Manoa, who has been exploring the shipwrecks in Pohnpei and has been documenting evidence about this story. She works on land and underwater, identifying the different parts of the ships and telling their history.

There are also interviews with other archeologists and cultural experts throughout all nine shows. It's a complex and fascinating story. The goal is to have students gain a broader understanding of the Pacific, and how cultures found here were affected by world events. Each show in Stories to Tell is 20 minutes long.

Pacific Clues visits different archeological sites and clues found on varying islands. The series looks at how these clues help us to unlock the mysteries of the early inhabitants and cultures of the islands. The hosts for Pacific Clues are Dr. Windy McElroy, Dr. Michael W. Graves, and Jesse Stephen (a graduate student working on his Doctorate). In this series, mysteries are explored on Rapa Nui (Easter Island), Mokumanaman and Nihoa, Hawi (Hawai'i), Pu'ukohola Heiau, Ka'u (Hawai'i) and Moloka'i. Each show of Pacific Clues runs 10 minutes.

Both series run for nine consecutive weeks. After each episode airs, it will be on the teleschool website. So if you miss an episode you'll find it online at

PBS Hawai'i Air Dates and Times:

Stories to Tell-Tuesdays, 12:30PM
Pacific Clues-Tuesdays, 12:50PM

Hawai'i State D.O.E. Air Dates and Times:

Thursdays, Educational Channel 56
Stories to Tell-9:30AM, 9:30PM
Pacific Clues-9:50AM, 9:50PM

Saturdays, Educational Channel 56
Stories to Tell-8:30AM, 8:30PM
Pacific Clues-8:50AM, 8:50PM