Hawaii Travelogue: A Japan away from Japan [Ch.15: Bishop Museum]

By | July 7, 2017

This article is a part of series of articles about my 2017 trip to Hawaii. Please see the table of contents that contains links to other chapters.

Bishop Museum

We stopped by the Bishop Museum in Honolulu, more formally called The Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum after hearing a recommendation from a Taxi driver about it. We had also read some advertisements that said there was things for children there to enjoy as well as adults.

The tickets for three (including a 30 minute planetarium show) were a little costly at $66.

There was several floors of exhibits in the main building containing things like ancient Hawaiian weapons, pottery, clothes, and documents. Much of the descriptive text was in parallel English/Hawaiian languages, and although I admit I am not the biggest history person it was fun and educational to look through what they had on display. There was a few exhibits where kids could play, for example playing a traditional drum and arranging shapes to make certain culturally significant patterns.

At 11am we saw  “In My Backguard” in the planetarium, a show for 2-8 year olds that introduces some basic constellations and is supposed to foster imagination in the young ones. While I appreciate the intention, judging from the cheesy production the show was very low budget, made a decade ago ago, or both. The good news is it is only $2 per person, so you don’t have much to lose except 30 minutes of your time.

In a separate building there was another set of exhibits on biomechanics which didn’t seem to relate to Hawaiian culture, though there was some interestings topics like how different animals bite and the mechanics behind that. There was also a small exhibit about Pearl Harbor(真珠湾) which happens to be on the western side of Oahu in case you are into war history.

Overall, though I enjoyed the museum I feel it was a bit overpriced for the time spent (I think we were done with most of the exhibits in an two or three hours), and very little of it was targeted at younger children. So I’d recommend this Bishop Museum only for people without children (or those whose children are teenagers or older) who can afford to take their time exploring the exhibits and learning the culture of Hawaii.

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