Museums on Oʻahu

Being a cosmopolitan city with a rich history, Honolulu hosts several fascinating, world-class museums. Whether it’s history, science, or art you’re after, spend a day visiting one of these museums in O’ahu and come away inspired.

Bishop Museum in O’ahu

The largest O’ahu museum in Hawaiʻi, Bishop Museum is the premier natural and cultural history institution of the Pacific. Its collections, research, and public educational events are recognized worldwide. Treat your family to a day of fun and learning as you explore hands-on science exhibits, a Live Lava demonstration show, a planetarium show, and the largest collection of Hawaiian cultural artifacts to be found anywhere. Check the website for current exhibits and planetarium shows. Also available is the Monarchs Tour, a 6.5-hour tour combining a guided tour of ʻIolani Palace, a tour of Bishop Museum, and lunch at the Museum Café. Transportation is provided from Waikīkī.

Honolulu Museum of Art

Art lovers, get ready to be amazed! The Honolulu Museum of Art is not just one museum, but is actually five different institutions in one, under the mission, “To bring together great art and people to create a more harmonious, adaptable, and enjoyable society in Hawai’i.” A wide variety of artistic styles can be found at the O’ahu museum; there’s truly something for everyone to enjoy.

The main Honolulu Museum of Art contains a variety of ever-changing exhibits, as well as a lovely museum shop, café, the Doris Duke theatre hosting international films and special events, and an Art Research Library. Nearby, you’ll find the Honolulu Museum of Art School, the largest private art school for children and adults in Hawaiʻi. Consider signing up for a special workshop!

Honolulu Museum of Art at First Hawaiian Center is a business-district location which focuses on showcasing Hawaiʻi-based artists. Spalding House (formerly the Contemporary Museum), a private estate-turned-art museum, is a stunning location overlooking downtown Honolulu. It features changing exhibits, a permanent installation of David Hockney’s L’Enfant et les sortileges, a café, and outstanding sculpture-filled gardens. Admission to the main museum also gets you in here.

The fifth, and perhaps most spectacular, property of the O’ahu museum is the former Doris Duke Estate, Shangri La. Situated at the base of Diamond Head, the Shangri La Institute of Islamic Art, Culture, and Design is an incredible example of one collector’s private passion over many years. Open to the public as a museum since 2002, small guided tours must be arranged through the Honolulu Museum on O’ahu.

Indulge your passions during your vacation, whether they include art, science, natural history, or culture. Spend a great day at one of Honolulu’s, O’ahu museums!

Photo By Slambo – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4372859