On the morning of December 7, 1941, the Pearl Harbor naval base on the Pearl Harbor territory of Hawaii was attacked. The surprise military strike by the Imperial Japan Navy Air Service against the United States launched the US into a battle at the naval base, as well as the United States’ entry into World War II.
Though the attacks of Pearl Harbor will forever be a dark, gloomy day that hangs over the United States and Japan, called by president Franklin D. Roosevelt “a date which will live in infamy,” the historical precedence of the attack is significant. Many Americans remember this incident when they recall World War II or think of the Hawaiian islands.
The Pacific Aviation Museum at Pearl Harbor is a historical site that attracts thousands of tourists each year who want to understand the history of the attack, and see first hand the location where it all happened. Visitors who are headed to the Hawaiian islands for the first time and want to include historical visits in their itineraries should look no further than the museum.
About the Museum
Founded in 1999, the Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor is a non-profit museum on Ford Island, an islet in the center of Pearl Harbor on Oahu. It is home to various attractions, and many of them are aimed at sharing the history behind the Pearl Harbor attacks.
The museum officially opened on December 7, 2006, 65 years to the day of the Pearl Harbor attacks. On the opening day the museum unveiled hangar 37, where most of the static exhibits are located. Here guests will see the destruction that occurred due to the attacks so many years ago.
Exhibits and attractions are not the only aim of the museum. It also sets out to include itself in other historical preservations and educational events throughout all of the Hawaiian islands. These efforts have been celebrated, and many awards have been given to the museum for the work they have done to restore historic sites. If you’re looking to visit the museum, you can gain access with tour busses at Hawaii landing through the Pearl Harbor Historic Sites.
A Notable Board
History runs rampant at the Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor. The board members of the museum include former president of the United States George W. Bush, Brigadier General Chuck Yeager, and retired Brigadier General Paul Tibbets, who are both well known veterans of the United States military.
How Large is the Museum?
Over 16 acres are occupied, covered by hangars 37, 54, and 79. The Smithsonian Museum even included the Pearl Harbor Museum in their affiliates program.
And for a bit of a reference regarding visitors, the museum hosted its one millionth guest on April 4 of 2013. Over three years have passed since, so it’s safe to assume that the museum has more than surpassed this mark. Visit the museum and your family can contribute to these high ranking numbers.
What Exhibits Will You See?
The first hangar that was developed at the museum, which was released when the museum was opened, is Hangar 37. This hangar survived the Pearl Harbor attack, and it once was a seaplane hangar.
At Hangar 37 guests will find over 7.25 acres that feature nine exhibits, flight simulators, a restaurant and store, and even a movie theatre.
To view the rest of the museum’s exhibits, guests can visit Hangar 79, where they’ll find flying tigers, MiG alley, helicopters, jets, and aircraft exhibits. Even more incredible, the glass windows of Hangar 79 are still marked with bullet holes from shots that took place on the day of the Pearl Harbor attack.
Guests at the museum will see various aircrafts, both those of the United States and remains of the Japanese. Aircrafts have either been salvaged, or their remains are featured. The list of aircrafts that are on display at the museum is too extensive to include, but guests will be pleased by the amount of history and artifacts that they’ll view. One of the notable aircrafts is a Boeing N2S-3 Stearman that was used by former President George W. Bush. This was the plane he used during flight training, and he even took the aircraft on his first solo mission.
A Must See Museum
The attack on Pearl Harbor is one of the most significant events in US history, because it set the stage for the United State to enter the greatest war in history. It’s hard to schedule a visit to the Hawaiian islands without penciling in a visit to this museum. Even better, it’s located on Oahu, so guests will be near other attractions they’d like to experience on one of Hawaii’s main islands.
TripAdvisor has named this museum as one of the top ten aviation attractions in the entire country in 2010. And the Historic Hawaii foundation awarded the Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor with a preservation award in 2007. The foundation was pleased by how the museum was able to preserve, restore, and rehabilitate the hangar 37 section of the museum. Don’t take our high praise, but that of TripAdvisor and the many thrilled Hawaiians themselves.
What to Know During Your Visit
Though it is a national historic landmark, an active military base is still located at Pearl Harbor. Guests are not allowed to bring any bags when they visit, but if they happen to have a bag with them while they’re on site, a $4 fee can be paid to have the bag stored at the visitor center. Otherwise, parking and admission is free, which gives visitors to the Hawaiian islands even less reasons to not visit.
The museum is open from 7:00 am to 4:00 pm each day. Tickets can be obtained at the visitor center, where you can obtain tickets for various attractions, and even guided tours. Though parking and admission itself is free, many of the attractions available require the purchase of a ticket. This includes many of the exhibits guests will want to see, including the USS Arizona Memorial, USS Bowfin Submarine and Park, Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor, and the USS Battleship Missouri Memorial.
On the museum’s website, they do note that each historic site can be visited within six hours, but they suggest to make an entire day of the trip to the museum so that nothing is missed. This is suggested because there is so much to see at the museum, and there are various places where families can take a rest, grab some food, and recharge for the rest of the exhibits.
“The Gathering Place”
The island of Oahu where Pearl Harbor lies is known as “The Gathering Place.” Pearl Harbor is located halfway between the United States and Japan. The area is called Pu’uloa, which means “long hill” or Wai Moma, which translates to “water of pearl.” The early Hawaiians gave Pearl Harbor this name because of the large number of pearls that could be found in the ocean near it. Pearl Harbor is Hawaii’s largest natural harbor.
The island of Oahu has much to offer, but it’s safe to say that Pearl Harbor stands above the other attractions. The sheer amount of Hawaiian history, United States history, and world history makes Pearl Harbor a can’t miss for any visitor to Hawaii. This historical landmark serves as a place where survivors of the attack can make peace with the event, and visitors can have a firmer understanding of the history and event that took place. Make sure you add Pearl Harbor to any list for a Hawaiian vacation.