Hawai‘i is home to a variety of world-class and local interest museums. Listed below are some of the best museums in Honolulu, as well as on the outer islands. These popular museums offer a wide range of ways you can explore Hawaiian art, culture, and history.
To guide your choices, we include general admission and the kama‘āina discount price, as well as any free days. Discount admission tickets may also be available to seniors, children, and members of the military.
List of must-see Hawaiian museums
Our list of Hawai’i museums begins with those in the Honolulu area on Oahu, followed by the outer islands in alphabetical order. Scroll down or use the links below to jump to information for any museum.
- O’ahu: Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum
- O’ahu: Damien and Marianne of Molokaʻi Education Center
- O’ahu: Honolulu Museum of Art (HoMA)
- O’ahu: Iolani Palace
- O’ahu: U.S. Army Museum of Hawaiʻi at Fort DeRussy
- O’ahu: Pearl Harbor Visitor Center & Historic Sites
- Hawai’i Island: Hilo Lyman Museum
- Hawai’i Island: Kona Hawaiian Quilt Museum and Gallery
- Hawai’i Island: Kona Hulihe‘e Palace
- Kaua’i Museum
- Lānaʻi Culture & Heritage Center – temporarily closed
- Maui: Alexander & Baldwin Sugar Museum
- Molokaʻi Museum & Cultural Center
O’ahu: Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum
The Bishop Museum is the largest museum in Hawai’i and the premier natural and cultural history institution in the Pacific. It is recognized throughout the world for its cultural collections, as well as research projects, consulting services, and public educational programs.
The architecture of the museum alone is worth the visit. The Museum’s Polynesian Hall and Hawaiian Hall were built in 1889 by Charles Reed Bishop in honor of his late wife, Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, the last descendant of the royal Kamehameha family.
The magnificent Hawaiian Hall is built in the imposing Richardsonian Romanesque style. The Hall was extensively renovated from 2006-2013. Both halls are listed on the National Register of Historic Place.
The Bishop Museum’s collections include millions of objects, documents, and photographs about Hawai‘i and Pacific island cultures. The Bishop also has one of the largest natural history specimen collections in the world.
Royal family jewelry, crowns, and other heirlooms showcase the extraordinary history, culture, and environment of Hawaiʻi. Native Hawaiian Items on display include, weapons, feather cloaks, and outrigger canoes, to name just a few.
The museum café offers a variety of Hawaiian specialties including plates, poke bowls, sandwiches, sweet treats, and snacks.
Visiting Bishop Museum
- Location: Bishop Museum, 1525 Bernice Street, Honolulu, HI 96817.
- Hours: open daily 9AM – 5PM. Closed Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.
- General admission: $24.95. Kama‘āina: $95.
- Ticket discount: Purchase online and save $2. Use code ONLINE.
- Parking: paid lot on site.
- Café: In 2020, open daily from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. for counter service and takeout only. Online or phone-in ordering is encouraged while the dine-in area is temporarily closed.
- Website: https://www.bishopmuseum.org/
- Online learning resources: https://www.bishopmuseum.org/online-learning-center/
- How to get free admission or discount tickets to Bishop Museum – Hawaiʻi on the Cheap (hawaiionthecheap.com)
O’ahu: Damien and Marianne of Molokaʻi Education Center
The Education Center in the heart of Waikiki is a ministry of St. Augustine Catholic Church.
You can learn about the history of Kalaupapa, the colony on Molokai where those afflicted with Hansen’s disease (also known as leprosy) lived in quarantine. The collection includes historic photographs, artifacts, displays, video presentations, and interactive exhibits.
There is also a small chapel for reflection, a meditation garden with transplants from Molokaʻi, and a gift shop.
Visiting Damien Education Center
- Location: Damien and Marianne of Molokaʻi Education Center, 2512 Kalakaua Avenue, Honolulu, HI 96815
- Hours: re-opening TBA
- General admission: by donation
- Website: https://damienandmarianne.org/
O’ahu: Honolulu Museum of Art (HoMA)
Located in downtown Honolulu near Blaisdell Center, HoMA is comprised of gallery spaces, a gift shop, open-air café & coffee bar, library, theater, and art school. The museum has more than 50,000 works of art, spanning 5,000 years of history and representing all of Hawaii’s cultures.
HoMA holds one of the largest single collections of Asian and Pan-Pacific art in the United States, along with works from America, Europe, Africa, and Oceania. The collections include paintings, decorative and traditional arts, woodblocks, and textiles.
- Location: Honolulu Museum of Art, 900 South Beretania Street. Honolulu, HI 96814.
- Hours: Thursday-Sunday 10AM-6PM, with extended hours until 9PM on Friday and Saturday.
- General admission: $20. Kama‘āina: $10.
- Free admission days: Hawai‘i residents are free every Friday from 4-9pm and every third Sunday from 10am-6pm.
- Parking: paid lot behind HoMA School of art (enter on Beretania or Young St) and weekday evenings only or weekends in the Kina’u Street Lot at 1035 Kina’u St.
- Café: There is no museum admission charge to lunch at the café.
- Website: https://honolulumuseum.org/
O’ahu: ‘Iolani Palace
‘Iolani Palace is the former residence of Hawaii’s monarchy and the only official royal residence in the United States.
In 1845 the site of today’s ‘Iolani Palace was the location of the home of King Kamehameha III, as well as his successors: Kamehameha IV (Alexander Liholiho), Kamehameha V (Lot Kamehameha), William Lunalilo, and David Kalakaua.
In 1882, King Kalakaua replaced Kamehameha III’s original home with the larger and more modern palace. It served as home to Kalakaua and his successor and sister, Queen Liliuokalani until the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy in January 1893. It remained the seat of Hawai’i State government until 1969. Iolani Palace was registered as a National Historic Landmark in 1962.
The Palace has been meticulously restored and is open to the public for docent-guided and self-guided tours. Allow at least 60-90 minutes to tour the palace.
Visiting ‘Iolani Palace
- Location: ‘Iolani Palace, 364 South King Street, Honolulu, HI 96813.
- Hours: open Wednesday-Saturday. 9AM – 2:30PM. Closed Christmas and New Year’s Eve.
- General admission: (self-guided tour) $20. Kama‘āina: $11.95 (complimentary one Sunday each month).
- Guided tour: $27. Kama‘āina: $19.95. Additional specialty tours: $49.95-$79.95.
- Parking: limited paid street parking or parking garage at Alii Place, 1099 Alakea Street.
- Two gift shops: Palace Shop located in Hale Koa (the Barracks building) and the smaller Gallery Shop inside the Palace. Or, Iolani Palace Gift Shop online.
- Website: https://www.iolanipalace.org/
- Virtual experiences and resources: https://www.iolanipalace.org/virtualexperiences-resources/
O’ahu: Pearl Harbor Visitor Center & Historic Sites
Pearl Harbor is a National Historic Landmark that is also an active military base and Headquarters for the U.S. Pacific Fleet.
The Pearl Harbor Visitor Center is operated by the U.S. National Park Service.
- Location: Pearl Harbor Visitor Center, 1 Arizona Memorial Place, Honolulu, HI, 96818
- Hours: Open daily from 7 am to 5 pm. Closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day.
- Admission is free. Parking is free.
- Website: https://www.nps.gov/valr/index.htm
Pearl Harbor is also home to four historic sites that tell the story of World War II in the Pacific: USS Arizona Memorial, USS Bowfin Submarine, Battleship Missouri, and Aviation Museum. Each of these attractions is described in more detail below.
- Over 1,300 free USS Arizona memorial walk-in tickets are available daily on a first-come first-served basis at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center.
- Admission Passport to all four Pearl Harbor attractions: $72 per person. Includes: USS Arizona Memorial Audio Tour, Battleship Missouri Memorial Pass, USS Bowfin Submarine Museum and Park admission, and Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum Admission. Plan at least 6 hours to complete all four tours.
- The complete Pearl Harbor tour with transportation to and from Waikiki: $149.50. Several other tours are available: https://www.pearlharborhistoricsites.org/tickets-and-tours
- Website: https://www.pearlharborhistoricsites.org/
- Map of Pearl Harbor: https://www.pearlharborhistoricsites.org/map
USS Arizona Memorial
The USS Arizona Memorial is built over the remains of the sunken World War II battleship USS Arizona.
The memorial is the final resting place for many of the 1,177 crewmen killed on December 7, 1941, when their ship was bombed by Japanese Naval Forces.
The National Park Service (NPS) offers daily tours that include a movie about the December 7th attack, followed by a boat ride to the Arizona Memorial.
The entire program is about 75 minutes.
- Location: Access the memorial by boat ride from the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center, 1 Arizona Memorial Place, Honolulu, HI, 96818.
- Hours: daily 7:30 am – 3:00 pm.
- Admission is free. Tickets are available at the Visitor Center on a first come, first served basis.
- Reserved tickets are available one week in advance at gov (search for “arizona memorial”). It is suggested to arrive at the Visitor Center at least one hour before your scheduled time to ensure you can find parking, properly stow any bags at the baggage storage, pick up your tickets, and make your way to the Memorial Theater for the start of the program.
- Website: https://www.pearlharborhistoricsites.org/pearl-harbor/arizona-memorial
USS Bowfin Submarine at Pearl Harbor
Climb aboard for a close look at life aboard a WWII-era submarine. The USS Bowfin is not a replica of a WWII submarine – it is the real thing, painstakingly restored.
Tours are self-guided and include free audio guides in multiple languages and a child-friendly version. Stroll through several indoor and outdoor exhibits in the Pacific Submarine Museum.
Allow about an hour to get the most out of your visit.
- Location: conveniently located within the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center, 11 Arizona Memorial Place, Honolulu, HI, 96818.
- Hours: open daily 8am-4pm. More info: https://www.nps.gov/valr/planyourvisit/conditions.htm
- General admission: $15. Kama‘āina: $8. Currently undergoing major expansion and renovation project, which involves closure some exhibits and parts of the park.
- Website: https://www.pearlharborhistoricsites.org/pearl-harbor/uss-bowfin-submarine
Battleship Missouri Memorial at Pearl Harbor
USS Missouri was constructed at Brooklyn’s New York Navy Yard and commissioned on June 11, 1944 to begin her career in World War II.
WWII finally came to an end on the Missouri, where Japan signed the Instrument of Surrender on 2 September 1945.
USS Missouri went on to a 51-year long career, serving in the Korean and Gulf Wars. In 1992, the battleship was decommissioned. In 1998, she opened as a historic museum.
The 35-minute guided tour is included in your General Admission ticket. You may also use a map to explore the ship on your own. Finally, you may upgrade your tour to “The Heart of the Missouri” that takes you deep inside the inner workings of the ship including the engine rooms and gun turrets.
Depending on tours you take and self-exploration, plan on spending 1-2 hours or more aboard the USS Missouri.
- Location: on Ford Island, accessed via shuttle from the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center, 1 Arizona Memorial Place, Honolulu, HI, 96818.
- Hours: Wednesday-Saturday. More info: https://www.nps.gov/valr/planyourvisit/conditions.htm
- General Admission: $30. Heart of Missouri upgrade (90-minute guided tour): $25.
- Website: https://www.pearlharborhistoricsites.org/pearl-harbor/battleship-missouri
Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum
Expect to spend two hours or more to view the battle-damaged airfield and control tower of historic Ford Island before setting foot inside the two WWII-era hangars that house the museum’s impressive collection of vintage aircraft.
- Location: on Ford Island, accessed via shuttle from the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center, 1 Arizona Memorial Place, Honolulu, HI, 96818.
- Hours: Wednesday-Sunday. More info: https://www.nps.gov/valr/planyourvisit/conditions.htm
- General admission: $25. Legends tour: $35. Flight Simulator: $10.50. Family Kama‘āina Pass $79.99.
- Museum Store: timeless designs from the 1940s with a few modern spins. Collectibles, apparel, reprinted broadsheets with notable headlines, challenge coins, flight jackets, and more.
- Laniākea Café: air-conditioned World War II themed café features gourmet burgers and sandwiches, fresh island salads, and beer and wine.
- Website: https://www.pearlharboraviationmuseum.org/
Oahu: U.S. Army Museum of Hawaiʻi at Fort DeRussy
The U.S. Army Museum at Fort DeRussy on Waikiki Beach is housed inside a former coastal artillery battery.
The collection charts military history from early Hawai’i to Vietnam and includes weapons, uniforms, photos, and equipment. Don’t miss the gift shop.
Visiting U.S. Army Museum at Fort DeRussy
- Location: Hawai’i Army Museum, 2131 Kalia Rd, Honolulu, HI 96815.
- Hours: Tuesdays through Saturdays 10AM-5PM. Re-opens Oct 2020.
- Admission is free; donations graciously accepted. Audio tour: $5.
- Website: https://hiarmymuseumsoc.org/
Hawai’i Island: Hilo Lyman Museum
The Lyman Mission House was originally built in 1839 for New England missionaries David and Sarah Lyman. In 1931, the Museum was established by their descendants.
Today the Lyman Museum is listed on the State and National Registers of Historic Places and is a Smithsonian Affiliate.
The museum’s immersive exhibits give a well-rounded view of the natural history and culture of Hawai`i. Throughout the year, the museum also offers lectures and hands-on workshop in Hawaiian skills and crafts.
Visiting Hilo Lyman Museum
- Location: Lyman Museum & Mission House, 276 Haili Street, Hilo, Hawai’i 96720
- Hours: Open Mon-Fri, 10AM-4:30PM.
- General admission: $7. Kama`āina: $5.
- Mission House Tours: $3 (Kama`āina and Out-of-State)
- Website: https://lymanmuseum.org/
Hawai’i Island: Kona Hawaiian Quilt Museum and Gallery
The Kona Hawaiian Quilt Museum collects and displays vintage and contemporary Hawaiian-style quilts in permanent and traveling exhibits. Throughout the year, they host quilt shows.
At the Kona Quilt Museum you can trace a Hawaiian quilt pattern to take with you and browse Hawaiian quilts for sale in the gallery.
About Hawaiian Quilts
Native Hawaiian bed covers were traditionally made of layers of kapa or bark cloth. When missionaries arrived in the early 1800s, they taught piece-quilting techniques to Hawaiians.
The Hawaiian quilt as it is known today did not develop until the late 1800s. Traditional quilts were composed of only two colors: a large applique in a solid color stitched to a white or pale background.
The applique patterns reflected Hawaiian flowers and plants. Animals and people were considered kapu or forbidden in early designs.
Visiting Kona Hawaiian Quilt Museum
- Location: Kona Hawaiian Quilt Museum and Gallery, 75-5706 Kuakini Hwy, Kailua Kona, HI 96740
- Hours: Monday – Friday: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm, Saturday: 10:00 am – 4:00 pm. Or, check with the quilt shop next door.
- General admission: $5.00.
- Website: https://konahqm.org/
Hawai’i Island: Kona Hulihe‘e Palace
Originally built out of lava rock as a residence of Kamehameha the Great, the Palace served as a home to several other members of Hawaiian royalty. By 1924, the Palace was in ruins and the grounds were overgrown.
In 1927, the property was restored by the Daughters of Hawaiʻi and turned into a museum. It consists of six large and graciously appointed rooms, two expansive oceanfront lanai, and lovely grounds.
In 1973, Hulihe‘e was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The museum showcases artifacts from the era of King Kalākaua and Queen Kapi‘olani, featuring beautiful koa wood furniture, portraits, kapa, feather work, Hawaiian quilts, and artifacts from Hawai‘i’s royal past.
Visiting Hulihe‘e Palace
- Location: Hulihe‘e Palace, 75-5718 Ali‘i Drive, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740
- Hours: currently open by private tour, Tuesday and Saturday.
- General admission: $10. Kama‘āina: $8.
- Website: https://daughtersofhawaii.org/hulihee-palace/
The Kaua’i Museum originally opened in 1960 as the William Hyde Rice Building and seeks to tell the story of Kaua’i and Ni’ihau. The Museum preserves these islands’ cultural heritage and sponsors local artist’ exhibits each year.
The collection and exhibits include the natural history, ethnological and historical background, Plantation Days, and Missionary and Asian influences.
Visiting Kaua’i Museum
- Location: 4428 Rice Street, Lihu`e, HI 96766.
- Hours: Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
- General admission: $15. Kama‘āina $12. Kauai Ohana: free admission every Saturday.
- Website: https://www.kauaimuseum.org/
Lānaʻi Culture & Heritage Center
This non-profit heritage organization seeks to inspire people to be informed, thoughtful, and active stewards of Lāna‘i’s heritage.
The museum’s exhibits and artifacts celebrate the island’s natural history, Hawaiian traditions, diverse cultures, ranching history, and plantation history.
Visiting Lānaʻi Heritage Center
- Lānaʻi Culture & Heritage Center, Old Dole Administration Building, 730 Lāna‘i Avenue, Lanai City, HI 96763
- Admission: donations gratefully accepted
- Hours: currently open by appointment only
- Website: https://lanaichc.org/
Maui: Alexander & Baldwin Sugar Museum
The Hawaiian sugar industry began on the island of Kauai in 1835 and Maui in 1848. . Alexander & Baldwin purchased the thriving Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Company (HC&S) in 1898. Sugarcane brought people from many different backgrounds to the.
The museum tells the story of the multi-cultural traditions contributed by the immigrants who came to provide the labor, and the development of Hawaii’s plantation heritage.
The information is presented through a wide variety of indoor and outdoor exhibits featuring historical artifacts, photos, and documents.
Visiting Maui Sugar Museum
- Location: Alexander & Baldwin Sugar Museum, 3957 Hansen Road, Puunene, HI 96784
- Hours: open Monday-Thursday from 10-2.
- General admission: $7. Kama`āina free. Reservations are required.
- Website: https://sugarmuseum.com/
Molokaʻi Museum & Cultural Center
Learn about Molokai ‘s history over the last 150 years through newspapers, photos, short videos, and personal accounts from island locals. The museum features eclectic exhibits from petroglyphs to plantation-era furnishings.
Features of the museum include a restored Sugar Mill, featuring a mule-driven cane crusher and a steam engine.
You can also hear stories of patients with Hansen’s disease (also known as leprosy) who were sent to live out their days in the community on the isolated peninsula of Kalaupapa.
Don’t miss the gift shop for goods and crafts made by locals and an island map.
Visiting Molokaʻi Museum
- Location: 1795 Kalae Hwy, Ho’olehua, HI 96729
- Admission is $5. Cash only.
- Website: https://www.gohawaii.com/islands/molokai/things-to-do/land-activities/molokai-museum