Located just off of Waikiki beach, the US Army Museum of Hawaii is a gem of historical artifacts and information for all who are interested. Many comment at the less than impressive exterior of the building but are enthralled once they enter. In total, 16 exhibits dot the interior and help educate both tourist and locals on the history of the American military in Hawaii. The Museum runs primarily on a donation basis so admission is free, but many feel compelled to donate once they have toured the museum. Everything you could possibly want to know about military weapons, operations, and heroes is included in this decades old museum.
Hawaiian warfare, December 7, 1941 and Defending an Island are three of the most popular exhibits in the museum for tourists. Hawaiian Warfare covers the history of the islands and its inhabitants. The island has been the property of natives for some 1,500 years and continues to possess a rich history for the native islanders. This particular exhibit covers the weapons and tools used in the island’s early history. December 7, 1941 is a day that will live in infamy for many who survived it. It was on this day that the attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese became the precursor to the Korean War and the involvement of the US military. Although the Japanese failed to destroy or sink any American ships they did successfully kill 2,402 American’s in their surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. The Defending an Island exhibit showcases the weapons used in previous battles to protect the island from invaders. Because Hawaii is so strategically located it has always been vital to keep it well armed. The Coast Artillery Units developed some of the most impressive defense weapons available at the time specifically for use in Hawaii.
A light anti-aircraft cannon Photo: Brian Burger/Flickr
The US Army Museum of Hawaii completes the history lesson for all who are interested in learning what role Hawaii has played in the American wars. It is easy to get caught up in Hawaii as a beautiful vacation location but it would be a shame to overlook its rich military history. Families and couples alike can enjoy touring this fascinating museum Tuesday’s through Saturdays for free.