Before you take off to look at the I’olani Palace or the Pali lookout, or even Wai’kiki beach, your next visit to the Hawaiian Islands should begin at Oahu’s Bishop Museum. Learn about the Royal lineage, the flora, fauna and ocean life, the everyday life of chief or commoner, the mele and chants, foods, medicines, culture, navigation by the stars and a working volcano display. The new Pacific Hall is a collections of all of the various nations and islanders that share the Pacific Ocean.
Long a favorite place to start an exploration of Hawaii for akamai (smart) visitors and a place to teach island keiki (children) about where they live, Bishop Museum appeals to locals and travelers alike.
With many exhibits of Hawaiian history, artifacts, paintings and kahili of Hawaiian monarchs, flora and fauna, and an extensive Polynesian collection, the study of the geology of Hawaii with its still-active volcanoes on the Big Island of Hawaii is a perennial favorite subject.
A volcano actually comes to life in the Richard T. Mamiya Science Adventure Center in the form of a large working volcano that museum guests can examine to see the inner workings of a volcano. There is a not-to-miss molten lava demonstration in the Hot Spot Theater. Lava rock is actually heated 2700-degrees where Fahrenheit, poured out for all to see, then cooled. The 20-minute show seats 50 people starts daily at 12 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. and is shown in English and Japanese.
Blair Collis, president and CEO of Bishop Museum invites you to begin your visit to Hawaii by starting at Bishop Museum: “Bishop Museum is a must see for all visitors who want to experience what makes Hawai’i unique.”
Insider tip: if you are on Oahu in late May there is an Annual Native Hawaiian Arts Market culminating the Maoli (Native Hawaiian ) Arts Month by the PA’I Foundation. This is a not to miss event. Stop by and talk story with artists who make feather leis and string Ni’ihau shell leis, carvings, Hawaiian games and war implements, hula implements, fashion, woven lauhala, and other things. Some arts are rarely seen by the visitor elsewhere, it is fascinating to learn their stories. Hula halau dance and there are food trucks with an array of ono food.
There is a great café on premises, free parking and a fantastic museum store. Expect to spend the day to include the galleries; go on a docent guided tour to really understand the treasure that Hawaii is. Visit website for times, admission fees and tours.