Ka‘u actor Dick Hershberger to perform as Dr. Thomas A. Jaggar in Kona

  • Ka‘u actor, playwright and director Dick Hershberger will perform “Dr. Thomas A. Jaggar Lives On: A Historical Performance and Lecture” at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 26 at the West Hawaii Civic Center in Kailua-Kona. (National Park Service/Special to West Hawaii Today)

  • Ka‘u actor, playwright and director Dick Hershberger will be the featured speaker for the Feb. 26 installment of the Hanohano O Kona Lecture Series. (National Park Service/Special to West Hawaii Today)

Ka‘u actor, playwright and director Dick Hershberger will be the featured speaker for the February installment of the Hanohano O Kona Lecture Series.

“Dr. Thomas A. Jaggar Lives On: A Historical Performance and Lecture” begins at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 26 at the West Hawaii Civic Center, Council Chambers, in Kailua-Kona.

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Hershberger has been performing the critically acclaimed program of “A Walk In The Past” at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park for more than seven years. He has acted in theatrical and film productions throughout Hawaii. His latest play is slated for production in the fall of 2020 in Vienna, Austria.

The time period for this performance will be December 1940, when Jaggar is preparing to leave his home in Kealakekua and move to his new residence in the Manoa Valley of Oahu, where he will be on staff at The University of Hawaii.

An overview of Jaggar’s 28-year tenure as founder and director of Hawaii Volcanoes Observatory will be presented, including several events that occurred from Kilauea and Mauna Loa eruptions, as well as his thoughts about the federal bureaucracy and its mandated retirement age of 65.

“After witnessing firsthand the destruction caused by Mount Pelee on the Caribbean Island of Martinique in 1902, with the tragic loss of 29,000 lives, Dr. Jaggar determined that studying volcanic eruptions in an effort to prevent such a horrific loss of life would indeed be a worthwhile occupation for the balance of his working life. The new experimental site occupying the summit of Kilauea became one of the foremost observatories in the world and the work he initiated here continues on now, well over a century after its founding in 1912,” Hershberger said. “In the brief time allotted, I hope that the audience will be aware of the importance of scientific research on our island home and how the work of researchers affects the lives of everyone who reside here.”

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For nearly a decade, Kona Historical Society has offered this community lecture series, spotlighting local and state speakers on a wide variety of cultural and historical subjects. The lectures are free of charge and open to all, residents and visitors alike. The Feb. 26 lecture is sponsored by Kona Historical Society members Meg Greenwell and Janet Zeiger.

Kona Historical Society is a community-based, nonprofit organization and Smithsonian Museum affiliate that has spent the past four decades collecting, preserving and sharing the history of the Kona districts and their rich cultural heritage within Hawaii.

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