While museums probably aren’t the first thing that you think about when you think of Hawaii, there are many museums to explore here. You will see exhibits nothing like you will see back home because of Hawaii’s unique art, culture, and history.
This week, I decided to go to Bishop Museum because I wanted to learn more about the natural history of Hawaii. I had no idea that Bishop Museum also had a Planetarium and Science Adventure Center. There was so much to do and see here that I spent a lot longer than I initially planned!
After spending the day exploring Bishop’s Museum’s exhibits, I recommend it to anyone wanting to learn more about the culture and history of Hawaii. Some of the exhibits will provide endless entertainment for children. And, if you find yourself with a few free hours during a rainy day on Oahu, this would be one of the top things on my list of recommendations.
About Bishop Museum
In 1889, Charles Reed Bishop founded Bishop Museum to honor his late wife, Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop. She was the last descendant of the royal Kamehameha family. The museum was established as a place to showcase her collection of Hawaiian objects and royal family heirlooms. Over the years, the museum has expanded and now includes millions of objects, documents and photographs about Hawaii and other Pacific island cultures.
Today, the mission of Bishop Museum is to inspire the community and visitors through the exploration and celebration of the extraordinary history, culture, and environment of Hawaii and the Pacific. One of the top priorities of the museum is to represent the interests of Native Hawaiians.
What I didn’t know until today is that Bishop Museum is the largest museum in Hawaii. Bishop Museum is internationally recognized for its cultural collections, research projects, consulting services, and public educational programs. It also has one of the largest natural history specimen collections in the world.
Getting there, parking, and admission
The Museum is located at 1525 Bernice Street, Honolulu, and is just six miles from Waikiki. Plenty of parking is available in their lot.
Admission is $22.95 for adults, $19.95 for seniors, 65 & over, $14.95 for juniors from age 4-17. Children 3 and under are free.
Military discounts are available as long as you bring your ID. Military rates are $14.95 for adults, $12,95 for seniors, and $10.95 for juniors.
The first hall that I went to was Hawaiian Hall. It turned out to be my favorite part of Bishop Museum. You could easily spend an entire day just in this one hall looking at all of the artifacts and learning about Hawaiian history.
There are three different floors in this hall. The first floor showcases Hawaiian gods, legends, and beliefs. The second floor focusses on the importance of the land and nature in daily life. On the third floor, you will learn about Hawaiian royalty and Hawaiian history. I loved seeing their clothing, fishing nets, and other items that Hawaiians used in daily life.
Pacific Hall is a two-story gallery dedicated to Moananuiākea, the expanse of Oceania.
The first floor has cultural treasures such as model canoes, woven mats, and contemporary artwork. It’s like a mini art museum.
The second floor showcases the origins and migrations of Pacific peoples.
Abigail Kinoiki Kekaulike Kāhili Room
I loved learning about Hawaii’s treasured monarchs in this room. It was so interesting to see what all of the monarchs looked like and to hear more about their lives, what was important to them, and what impact they had on their people.
Richard T. Mamiya Science Adventure Center
This is a great exhibit to take children to. Hawaii has gained international recognition for its research in volcanology, oceanography, and biodiversity. In the Science Adventure Center, you will find interactive exhibits that will teach you about these topics.
The best part of the Science Adventure Center is the daily lava show! If you come to Bishop Museum, this is a must-see. This 25-minute presentation is great for children and adults of all ages. You will learn how lava rock forms, and you will get to see real live lava flow out of a brass furnace. After the lava flows, you will even get to see how quickly the lava cools and hardens. It was the highlight of my trip.
Nā Ulu Kaiwi‘ula Native Hawaiian Garden
Take a quick stroll through this garden, and you will find plants endemic to Hawaii. Many of these were brought to Hawaii by Polynesians and are found nowhere else on earth, so don’t miss this.
Hawaii Sports Hall of Fame
The Hawaii Sports Hall of Fame is dedicated to Hawaii’s sports history. The primary goal of this exhibit is to encourage and inspire Hawaii’s youth to be like these heroes of character, strength, and dedication. Sports fans will love this exhibit.
Watumull Planetarium – Hawaii’s Gateway to the Stars
For an additional fee, Bishop Museum’s Planetarium shows are a must-see. There are two different shows available throughout the day.
In My Backyard is a cartoon show about the night sky and is geared towards children ages 8 and under and their parents.
Wayfinders takes place using the full-dome of the planetarium. You will learn about traditional Polynesian navigation and find your way to Tahiti from Hawaii.
The Sky Tonight is a live show in which you will learn about the current evening sky. You will leave with a star map that will help you find constellations once the sky gets dark.
Tips for visiting Bishop Museum
The museum isn’t big, but you will do a lot of walking. Wear comfortable shoes for walking around the exhibits and up and down the stairs.
Bishop Museum has special exhibits that change. Check their website for updated information about special exhibits.
There is a cafe that serves Hawaiian plates, poke bowls, sandwiches, and snacks from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
A gift shop sells many different Hawaiian souvenirs, books, and jewelry.
Daily programs change daily. When you enter the Museum, as for a list of the day’s programs that you might want to take advantage of.
Hawaii Culture Tour
Bishop Museum is a great way to learn about Hawaii’s culture. If you’re interested in learning more about the culture of Hawaii — and in seeing many important, sacred, and historical sights up close and personal — book a Hawaii Culture Tour through Hawaii Aloha Travel. Offered on Oahu, this tour will immerse you in Hawaiian culture and history. Especially important is that you will have a local tour guide who cannot wait to share their knowledge with you. What better way to learn about Hawaiian culture?
First, you will visit a fish pond to learn about how ancient Hawaiians used the fishponds to trap and catch fish. Then, you will head to a rock formation known as Pele’s Chair, as well as Koko Head. Here, you’ll learn about the history, cultural significance, and local lore surrounding the “chair” that overlooks the ocean below. After that, you will also visit an ancient Hawaiian temple, Iolani Palace, and other important cultural sites in Hawaii.
If you want to have the best cultural experience possible in Hawaii, book with Hawaii Aloha Travel. Our local travel agents live in Hawaii and provide a personal, fully customizable vacation in paradise. So give us a call today to reserve your spot!