Bishop Museum

The Bishop Museum was founded in 1889 by Charles Reed Bishop in honor of his late wife, Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop. Pauahi was the last descendant of the royal Kamehameha family. The museum displays a large collection of Hawaiian artifacts, documents and photographs about Hawai'i and other Pacific island cultures. The Bishop museum is actually a group of buildings each housing its own unique exhibits. The Hawaiian Hall contains Hawaiian and Pacific Island exhibits. The Castle Memorial Building contains traveling exhibits which change every few months. The Science Adventure Center focuses on the geology/geography of Hawaii - volcanoes, plants, and animals. The Planetarium is well, a planetarium!

The Bishop Museum is the largest museum in the state. It is open daily (except Tuesday) from 9AM - 5PM. It's closed on Christmas Day (and on TUESDAYs!).

  • Bishop Museum

    Bishop Museum Main Entrance

  • Castle Memorial Building

    Castle Memorial Building houses traveling exhibits

  • Megalodon exhibit at the Castle Memorial Building

    Megalodon exhibit at the Castle Memorial Building

  • Bishop Museum Science Adventure Center

    Science Adventure Center

  • Bishop Museum Science Adventure Center

    Inside the Bishop Museum's Science Center

  • Hawaiian Origins tunnel

    Hawaiian Origins tunnel

  • Make your own wax volcano

    Make your own wax volcano

  • Control the deep-sea submersible

    Control the deep-sea submersible

  • Walk inside an erupting volcano

    Walk inside an erupting volcano

  • View from the second floor of Bishop Museum Science Adventure Center

    View from the second floor

  • Volcano eruption


  • Bishop Museum Hawaiian Hall

    Historic Hawaiian Hall complex

  • Kahili room inside the Hawaiian Hall building

    Kahili room inside the Hawaiian Hall building

  • People of the Pacific exhibit

    People of the Pacific exhibit

  • Hawaiian Hall renovation

    Sneak peek during renovation

  • Hawaiian Hall after renovation

    Hawaiian Hall

  • Grab a bite to eat at the cafe

    Grab a bite to eat at the cafe

Official Website:

* Get there early and plan to spend at least half a day there. Check the Daily Activity Schedule when you arrive so you can catch some free tours, a planetarium show, and the lava melting demo.

* Be sure to check out the traveling exhibit at the Castle Memorial Building. Quite often there are exhibits there that are geared toward children. No kids in tow? Go anyways, you may be surprised. Read my Blog about the Dinosaurs Unearthed exhibit.

* The Hawaiian Hall was under renovation from 2006 to mid 2009. Improvements in lighting, air conditioning, and interactive exhibits made the multi-year effort worth the wait.

* Be sure to see the Kahili room, which houses the elegant feather standards, which were the traditional symbols of the Hawaiian ali'i (rulers). Upstairs, you will find the "Peoples of the Pacific" exhibit displaying costumes, masks, carvings, weapons, tools, and miscellaneous artifacts from the Marquesas Islands, New Caledonia, Tahiti, Vanuatu, Cook Islands, Easter Island, Fiji, New Zealand, Samoa, and Tonga. Don't miss the Historic Picture Gallery on the second floor which displays art from the Bishop Museum's extensive collection.

* The Planetarium has an interesting exhibit on global warming and has shows scheduled throughout the day.

* The Science Center has many exhibits that are interesting to both children and adults:

  • The centerpiece of the museum is a walk-in volcano housing exhibits about the geology of volcanoes. You can see and touch the different types of lava rocks. There is a tunnel and a small slide for children. Upstairs, you can look inside the mouth of the volcano and see the "molten lava". Children can push buttons to show the effect of magma and gas on the volcano. Every 15 minutes or so the volcano will erupt!

  • Walk through the colorful black-light glowing Hawaiian Origins tunnel featuring the artwork of Hawaii's school children.

  • A "kid-favorite" at the Science Center is the "Make your own wax volcano" exhibit. By turning a knob in one direction, you can make hot wax erupt and slowly build a volcano. By turning the knob in the other direction, the wax recedes and a crater is formed. This exhibit is a kid-magnet. What's great about it is that children naturally cooperatively take turns at turning the knob (mostly because their little hands get tired) and it is just as much fun to watch as to do!

  • Another kid-favorite is the large tank of water with a deep-sea submersible that you can control. The attached video camera allows you to "see what it sees" on the screen in front of you. There is also a dress-up area, some live small-animal exhibits, a lava film, and miscellaneous other fun things to do.


Getting there:
The Museum is located at 1525 Bernice Street in Honolulu. To drive there from Waikiki, head southeast on Kalakaua Ave (toward Diamond Head). Turn left at Kapahulu Ave 1.5 miles. Follow signs for H-1 West and take the ramp onto H-1 West (4.9 mi). Take exit 20A to merge onto HI-63 N/Likelike Hwy. Turn right at Bernice St.

To take The Bus: Get on the #2 or City Express B 'School St./Middle St.' bus. Get off the bus at the intersection of School and Kapalama Streets. Cross School Street at the intersection and walk down Kapalama Street heading toward the ocean. At the intersection of Kapalama and Bernice Streets, turn right. The museum will be on the left hand side of Bernice Street. Or, Ride the Waikiki trolley.

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Video of the Bishop Museum