Honolulu is home to a wide variety of museums, from world-renowned art institutions to smaller, more specialized museums. Whether you're interested in arts and culture, history, or science, you're sure to find something to your liking in Honolulu.

Here are a few of the best museums in Honolulu:

The Honolulu Museum of Art

The Honolulu Museum of Art was established in 1922 and has since become a cornerstone of the city's cultural landscape. The museum's mission is to promote and preserve the visual arts of Hawaii and the broader Pacific region while providing an educational and inspiring experience for visitors.

The museum boasts an extensive collection that spans diverse art forms, periods, and cultures including:

Asian Art

The Honolulu Museum of Art is renowned for its exceptional collection of Asian art. From ancient Buddhist sculptures to delicate Japanese woodblock prints and stunning Chinese ceramics, visitors can explore the rich artistic traditions of these regions.

European Art

The museum's European art collection showcases works from various periods, including Renaissance, Baroque, and Impressionism. Visitors can admire masterpieces by renowned artists such as Van Gogh, Monet, and Gauguin, providing a unique opportunity to witness the evolution of Western art.

Hawaiian Art

As a hub for Hawaiian culture, the museum proudly displays an impressive collection of Hawaiian art, ranging from ancient artifacts to contemporary works. Visitors can gain insights into the history, traditions, and artistic expressions of the indigenous people of Hawaii.

two Hawaiian wooden sculptures on the waters edge

Contemporary Art

The museum actively promotes contemporary art by featuring temporary exhibitions and installations. These showcases highlight the work of local and international artists, providing a platform for creativity and innovation.

The Bishop Museum

Established in 1889, the Bishop Museum is Hawaii's largest museum and the premier natural and cultural institution in the Pacific. Named in honor of Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, a descendant of Hawaiian royalty, the museum was founded to preserve and perpetuate the unique history, language, and culture of Hawaii and the Pacific region.

The Bishop Museum boasts a remarkable collection that encompasses millions of artifacts, specimens, documents, and artworks. Here are some highlights of what you can expect to find:

  • Hawaiian Hall - Showcasing the rich heritage of Hawaii through engaging exhibits, visitors can explore immersive displays featuring ancient Hawaiian artifacts, traditional crafts, royal regalia, and historical artifacts that provide a window into the islands' past.
  • Pacific Hall - The Pacific Hall exhibits artifacts and cultural treasures from various Pacific Island nations. From Polynesian navigational tools to Micronesian shell art and Melanesian ceremonial masks, this section highlights the interconnectedness and richness of the Pacific cultures.
  • Natural Science Collections - The Bishop Museum houses extensive natural science collections, including zoological specimens, geological samples, and botanical specimens.

a leaf on a glass plate under a microscope

The Pearl Harbor Visitor Center

The Pearl Harbor Visitor Center is situated on the island of Oahu and serves as the gateway to the Pearl Harbor National Memorial. It was established to commemorate the attack which occurred on December 7, 1941. The center's primary mission is to honor the memory of those who lost their lives and educate visitors about the events surrounding the attack.

Some memorials and exhibits include:

  • USS Arizona Memorial - One of the center's most poignant features is the USS Arizona Memorial. Built directly above the sunken battleship USS Arizona, which serves as the final resting place for over 1,000 crew members, the memorial allows visitors to pay their respects and witness the solemnity of the site.
  • Road to War and Attack Galleries - The visitor center houses interactive exhibits and galleries that provide a comprehensive overview of the events leading up to the attack on Pearl Harbor and the attack itself.
  • Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park - Adjacent to the visitor center is the Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park, which offers an opportunity to explore a restored World War II-era submarine.

The Iolani Palace

Built in 1882, the Iolani Palace served as the official residence of the Hawaiian monarchs, including King Kalakaua and Queen Liliuokalani. After being restored in the 1970s, the palace was opened to the public, offering a glimpse into the Hawaiian monarchy and its cultural heritage.

the exterior of Iolani Palace in Hawaii

The palace's design combines European and Hawaiian architectural elements, featuring intricate woodwork, ornate furnishings, and beautiful stained glass windows. Visitors can explore the palace's various rooms, including the Throne Room, State Dining Room, and private quarters of the royal family, all meticulously restored to their former glory.

The palace grounds provide a serene environment that complements the regal atmosphere with their beautiful gardens and sculptures.

To fully appreciate the historical significance and beauty of the Iolani Palace, guided tours are available. The tours provide a deeper understanding of the palace's role in Hawaiian history and the struggles faced by the Hawaiian monarchy.

Royal Collections and Exhibits

The Iolani Palace houses a remarkable collection of artifacts and artworks that reflect the grandeur of Hawaiian royalty. Visitors can admire exquisite royal jewelry, including the Queen's crown and coronation robe, as well as intricate feathered capes, weaponry, and historic photographs.

Cultural Events and Programs

The Iolani Palace is not just a static museum; it also hosts a variety of cultural events and educational programs. Visitors can witness traditional Hawaiian music and dance performances, participate in craft workshops, or attend lectures and presentations that delve into Hawaiian history and culture.

Bottom Line

Honolulu is home to a diverse array of museums that cater to various interests and passions. Whether you're a history enthusiast, an art lover, or someone seeking a deeper understanding of Hawaiian culture, the city has something to offer everyone.

As you explore the cultural and historical gems of Honolulu, don't miss the chance to visit these exceptional museums and delve into the vibrant tapestry of Hawaii's past and present.

If, while in Hawaii, you would like help obtaining a medical marijuana card, contact Malie Cannabis Clinic today!