The 10 Best Museums in Hawaii!

Hawaii isn’t just a place to vacation, or a place for surf sessions and wave breaks. This paradise is home to a rich culture that dates back for many centuries. From the fascinating Polynesian heritage woven deeply into the roots of the state, to significant historical events in U.S. history, Hawaii has a museum to cover it all. Here are the 10 best.

1. Bishop Museum, Honolulu, Oahu, HI

The Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum, selected as the Hawaii State Museum of Natural and Cultural History, is a museum of history and science in the history-rich Kalihi district of Honolulu on the Hawaiian island of Oahu.

2. Honolulu Museum of Art, Honolulu, Oahu, HI

The Honolulu Museum of Art is the largest of its kind in the state, and was founded in 1922 by Anna Rice Cooke. This mission of this museum is to “bring together great art and people to create a more harmonious, adaptable, and enjoyable society in Hawaii.”

3. Shangri La Center for Islamic Arts and Cultures, Honolulu, Oahu, HI

Shangri La is an Islamic-style mansion built by heiress Doris Duke just outside of Honolulu, Hawaii. The mansion is now both owned and operated by the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art.

4. Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor, Honolulu, Oahu, HI

The site of the World War II bombings, Pearl Harbor is now home to many facets of history. The USS Arizona was a battleship built for and by the United States Navy in the mid-1910s. The ship and its crew was devastated on Dec. 7, 1941 during the Pearl Harbor attack by the Japanese. Located on the famous Ford Island, sits the USS Missouri, another American battleship, and the third ship of the Navy to be named in honor of the U.S. state of Missouri, and Pacific Aviation Museum, a non-profit founded in 1999 to develop an aviation museum in Hawaii.

5. The Lyman House Memorial Museum, Hilo, Big Island, HI

The Lyman House Memorial Museum, or the Lyman Museum, is a Hilo, Hawaii-based museum of natural history founded in 1931 in the Lyman family mission house, which was originally built in 1838.

6. Pacific Tsunami Museum, Hilo, Big Island, HI

The Pacific Tsunami Museum is a museum in Hilo, Hawaii dedicated to the history of the April 1, 1946 Pacific tsunami and the May 23, 1960 Chilean tsunami which devastated much of the east coast of the Big Island, especially Hilo.

7. Polynesian Cultural Center, Laie, Oahu, HI

The Polynesian Cultural Center is a Polynesian theme park and living museum located in Laie, on the northern shore of Oahu, Hawaii. At this center, Pacific island people “demonstrate their traditional arts and crafts and perform their lively songs and dances.” Get immersed in Polynesian culture at this fascinating living museum.

8. Hulihe'e Palace, Kailua-Kona, HI

The Huliheʻe Palace is located in Kailua-Kona, Hawaiii, on Ali'i Drive. What was once the vacation home of Hawaiian royalty, is now a museum run by the Daughters of Hawaii, displaying beautiful furniture and artifacts.

9. Byodo-In Temple, Kaneohe, Oahu, HI

The Byodo-In Temple is a non-denominational shrine situated on the island of Oahu at the Valley of the Temples. In August 1968, it honored the 100-year anniversary of the earliest Japanese immigrants to Hawaii.

10. Queen Emma Summer Palace, Honolulu, Oahu, HI

Hānaiakamalama, also known as the Queen Emma Summer Palace, was as a retreat for Queen Emma of Hawaii from 1857 to 1885, as well as for her husband King Kamehameha IV, and their son Prince Albert Edward. Today, the palace stands as a historic landmark, museum, and tourist site.

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900 South Beretania Street, Honolulu, HI
Mission Statement: The Honolulu Academy of Arts is dedicated to the collection, preservation, interpretation, and teaching of the visual arts, and... Read More
2161 Kalia Road, Honolulu, HI
Mission and Purpose The Society provides community leadership and financial support for the preservation of military history and the educat... Read More
91-1299A Midway St., Kapolei, HI
About Us: The Hawaii Museum of Flying dba Naval Air Museum Barbers Point was established on January 19, 1999 at the former Naval Air Station Barbe... Read More
3957 Hansen Road, Puunene, HI
Mission : To preserve and present the history and heritage of the sugar industry, and the multiethnic plantation life which it engendered, for res... Read More
364 South King Street, Honolulu, HI
Mission : To preserve, restore, interpret, share, and celebrate the unique cultural, historical, and spiritual qualities of `Iolani Palace and its ... Read More
2913 Pali Highway, Honolulu, HI
Mission : The Daughters of Hawai`i was founded in 1903 by seven women who were daughters of American Protestant missionaries. They were born in Ha... Read More
2500 Dole Street, Honolulu, HI
About Us : Endowed with a starter collection of artworks, The John Young Museum of Art opened in the renovated, historic Krauss Hall on the Unive... Read More
3600 Kokee Road, Kekaha, HI
VisionHui o Laka illuminates, celebrates, and nurtures the essence of Koke'e, engaging all in a spirit of appreciation and service.MissionIn order ... Read More
276 Haili Street, Hilo, HI
The Lyman Museum houses two major exhibit galleries (Earth Heritage for natural history and Island Heritage for cultural history), the Shipman Gall... Read More
36-2377 Mamalahoa Highway, Laupahoehoe, HI
The purpose of the Laupahoehoe Train Museum is to preserve, promote and protect the historic, cultural, educational, social, civic and economic, in... Read More
2375-A Main Street, Wailuku, HI
Mission Statement: The Maui Historical Society shall collect, preserve, study, interpret and share the history and heritage of Maui. About Us: Bu... Read More
130 Kamehameha Avenue, Hilo, HI
Mission Statement We believe that through education and awareness no one should ever again die in Hawaii due to a tsunami. The goal of the Paci... Read More
319 Lexington Boulevard, Honolulu, HI
Our Mission:The mission of the Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor is to develop and maintain an internationally recognized aviation museum on For... Read More
11 Arizona Memorial Drive, Honolulu, HI
Mission Statement: USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park's mission is to restore and preserve the World War II submarine USS Bowfin (SS-287), and... Read More
4428 Rice Street, Lihue, HI
Mission The mission of the Kaua'i Museum is to inspire and promote in the community an appreciation and respect for the indigenous and immigrant pe... Read More
P.O. Box 8064, Honolulu, HI
Helicopters, tanks, guns now silenced, and vacant bunkers welcome you to the U.S. Army Museum of Hawai'i. Once a bastion built to protect Hawai'i f... Read More
15-2931 Pahoa Village Road, Pahoa, HI
About Us:The Pahoa Village Museum serves as a lighthouse to humanity by cultivating the spirit of love and connection that is Aloha.  We beliv... Read More
3957 Hansen Road, Kahului, HI
The Alexander & Baldwin Sugar Museum was established in 1980 with a grant from Alexander & Baldwin, Inc., as a memorial to early sugar pion... Read More
4050 Nawiliwili Road, Lihue, HI
Our kuleana is to preserve Grove Farm and Waioli Mission House museums, and other important properties, buildings, and collections, and to share au... Read More
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