Museums in Hawaii, HI |

in Hawaii, HI

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Did you know that there are approximately 850 million visits to museums every year in America? They contribute $50 billion to the U.S. economy each year. If you think about how marvelous museums are, these numbers make sense. Museums can transport you to old worlds, future worlds, worlds you never thought you could be a part of.

If you’re looking to add some of those unknown worlds to your day, check out our list of museums in the area. They are all within driving distance and offer a variety of topics that will enchant every member of the family.
ARTS at Marks Garage
ARTS at Marks Garage

(808) 521-2903

1159 Nu`uanu Ave
Honolulu, HI 96817   Directions Website

The ARTS at Marks Garage showcases the art and life of the artist at its best: In a collaborative environment, with inspiration and input from fellow artists. The complex is located in Chinatown and the Honolulu Arts & Cultural District. The effort brings together gallery, performance and office space for business and non-profit organizations.

Many times, the ARTS at Marks Garage will put out an open call for artists to submit work for an upcoming show. The results have been phenomenal.

For example, "image" was an opportunity for Hawaiian artists to explore the interactions of community, communication and print. The artists reacted to the expansion of electronic media and the demise of newspaper and printed media by Honolulu Printmakers, the oldest printmaking organization in the U.S.

Visiting exhibits are also a regular affair at the ARTS at Marks Garage. "Hui Panala'au," for example, explored the occupation of the Pacific Islands during the years before World War II. The exhibit received a national award of commendation from the American Association for State and Local History in 2003.

Alexander & Baldwin Sugar Museum
Alexander & Baldwin Sugar Museum

(808) 871-8058

3957 Hansen Rd
Kahului, HI 96732   Directions Website

The Alexander & Baldwin Sugar Museum will open your eyes to one of the largest exports of the state of Hawaii, a crop that harkens back to Hawaii's early plantation culture.

The Sugar Museum is housed in a renovated historic building that dates back to 1902. Documents, artifacts and photos chronicle the rise and fall of sugar as an economic stimulus for the island of Maui. Details include facts about the sugar industry, plantation life and the fate of immigrants who came to Hawaii from around the world for jobs. The unique lifestyle created by the melting pot of immigrants still endures today in the enviable local lifestyle of the Hawaiian culture. The museum includes six exhibit rooms: The Geography Room; The Water Room; The Human Resources Room; The Plantation Room; The Field Work Room and The Mill Room, plus outdoor displays of plantation equipment. 

Bishop Museum
Bishop Museum

(808) 847-3511

1525 Bernice St
Honolulu, HI 96817   Directions Website

The Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum celebrates and chronicles the Polynesian culture, with the world's largest collection of cultural and scientific artifacts on the original residents of the South Pacific islands.

The museum of history and science was founded in 1889. It also has an extensive entomological collection of over 13.5 million specimens, the third largest collection in the United States. The museum was founded by a Hawaiian philanthropist who intended for the museum to hold family heirlooms.

By the late 1980s, the Bishop Museum had become the largest natural and cultural history institution in the Pacific Rim. The Bishop Museum also houses the Jhamandas Watumull Planetarium, an educational and research facility devoted to astronomy.

Hawaii State Art Museum
Hawaii State Art Museum

(808) 586-0300

250 S Hotel St 2nd Fl
Honolulu, HI 96813   Directions Website

The Hawaii State Art Museum opened in the fall of 2002, when it brought immensely popular touring exhibits to the state of Hawaii. The museum houses three galleries, featuring pieces from the Art in Public Places Collection.

Many of the exhibits focus on art from native Hawaiians, along with art that speaks to the culture of the Islands.

One of the most popular exhibits at the Hawaii State Art Museum has been "Where We Live: Places of Hawaii." The exhibit showcases art from the Art in Public Places Collection, where the natural landscape of the islands is interpreted in realistic and abstract images.

Another exhibit intertwined samples of textile and fiber works from the Art in Public Places Collection.

As another example of a recent exhibit, "Inner Scapes" featured abstract paintings and sculptures by artists that were influenced by the greats of the 20th century, most notably artists native to Hawaii.

Lyman Museum and Mission House
Lyman Museum and Mission House

(808) 935-5021

276 Haili St
Hilo, HI 96720   Directions Website

The Lyman Museum presents the rich heritage of Hawaiian natural history and culture, exploring the Hawaii of the past, present and future. The galleries at the Lyman Museum focus mainly on the natural history of Hawaii and the ethnic diversity of the area.

The Earth Heritage Gallery, for example, chronicles the Hawaiian experience prior to human contact. The bones of two flightless birds unique to Hawaii can only be found here, providing a unique opportunity for the public to learn firsthand about the Hawaiian Rail and the flightless goose. A world-renowned sea shell and mineral collection includes Orlymanite, a rare mineral discovered and identified only in 1987.

The Island Heritage Gallery presents the diversity of the Hawaiian people and their cultures. Learn about the tools and implements on display that native Hawaiians used for fishing and hunting. Fish nets and hooks, baskets, wooden bowls and poi pounders are all part of the extensive tool collection. You'll also see clothing and adornments made from bone, feathers and other natural materials.

The museum began as the Lyman Mission House, which was originally built for New England missionaries. Nearly 100 years later, the home was fully restored and then placed on the National Registers of Historic Places.

The Mission House, adjacent to the Lyman Museum, gives visitors a glimpse of life as it was in the late 1800s.

Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum
Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum

(808) 441-1000

319 Lexington Blvd
Honolulu, HI 96818   Directions Website

The Pacific Aviation Museum stands on hallowed ground, in the area that signifies the thousands of lives lost at Pearl Harbor and the resulting demonstration of American strength and might that finally ended World War II. In fact, the museum on historic Ford Island occupies hangars from Wold War II and is ranked as the No. 8 aviation attraction in the nation.

The island that houses the Pacific Aviation Museum is a 441-acre island located in the middle of Pearl Harbor.

Visitors begin their tour in Hangar 37, which survived the attack on Pearl Harbor. A 200-seat theater presents a 12-minute movie recounting the surprise attack.

After the viewing, guests can view dioramas of life on the Islands before 1941, along with displays of planes and fighter jets that took part in the attack and defense of Pearl Harbor.

The Honolulu Museum of Art
The Honolulu Museum of Art

(808) 532-8700

900 S Beretania St
Honolulu, HI 96814   Directions Website

The Honolulu Academy of Arts was founded in 1922 and opened to the public on April 8, 1927. It was the vision of Anna Rice Cooke, a woman born into a prominent missionary family on O‘ahu in 1853. Growing up in a home that appreciated the arts, she went on to marry Charles Montague Cooke, also of a prominent missionary family, and the two settled in Honolulu. In 1882, they built a home on Beretania Street, on the site that would become home to the museum.

In 1961, Thurston Twigg-Smith opened an art gallery—the Contemporary Art Center—within the Honolulu Advertiser building, which he owned. The gallery featured work from Twigg-Smith's collection and work by local artists. In 1988, the Twigg-Smith family donated Spalding House, which was built by Honolulu Academy of Arts founder Anna Rice Cooke, to create The Contemporary Museum, a private, nonprofit museum for contemporary art in Honolulu.

In 2011, The Contemporary Museum gifted its assets and collection to the Honolulu Academy of Arts and in 2012, the combined museum changed its name to the Honolulu Museum of Art.

U.S. Army Museum of Hawaii
U.S. Army Museum of Hawaii

(808) 955-9552

2131 Kalia Rd
Honolulu, HI 96815   Directions Website

The U.S. Army Museum of Hawaii was once a bastion built to protect Hawaii from foreign invaders. Today, it tells the military story of Hawaii from its Polynesian beginning to the Vietnam conflict. The story that unfolds at the Army Museum details the men and the machines that protected a nation.

You'll learn about the weaponry that was called into action, from fighter jets to submarines that were at the time extremely new technology. Exhibits include a section on Hawaiian warfare, Hawaii on the defense and Hawaii on the offense after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, along with presentations on the Korean and Vietnam wars.

USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park
USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park

(808) 423-1341

11 Arizona Memorial Dr
Honolulu, HI 96818   Directions Website

The USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park offers visitors a fascinating look at the history of submarines, from the first attempt in 1776 to current technological feats of today's nuclear submarines. The USS Bowfin Museum allows visitors to go below deck aboard the National Historic Landmark, which was launched after the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1942. The World War II submarine went on to sink 44 enemy ships during her nine war patrols.

The waterfront memorial stands in tribute to the 52 American submarines and the more than 3,500 submariners lost in World War II.

Visitors can take a self-guided tour that narrates what life was like aboard for the 80-man crew.

The 10,000-square-foot Museum includes submarine-related artifacts such as submarine weapon systems, photographs, paintings, battle flags, original recruiting posters, and detailed submarine models, all illustrating the history of the U.S. Submarine Service.

Exhibits include a Poseidon C-3 missile, which allows visitors to examine its inner workings.

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