5 Museums and Cultural Centers to Visit on Hawaii Island

By Hawaii.com Team

Mokupapapa Discovery Center. Photo: Andy Collins.


Many of Hawaii’s treasures are a part of the landscape, in ancient villages and temples. Other pieces of history are displayed in museum collections and exhibits.

1. Hulihee Palace, Kona

Photo: Ken Lund.

Huliheʻe Palace was built in 1838 by Gov. John Adams Kuakini for his daughter-in-law Princess Ruth. The Kuakini Room contains many delicate and precious heirlooms from pre-contact and post-contact Hawaii.

2. Imiloa Astronomy Center, Hilo

Photo: Imiloa Astronomy Center.

The ʻImiloa Astronomy Center, an extraordinary facility where the volcano and its telescopes meet indigenous Hawaiian culture and language to — at last — articulate the intriguing link between the secrets of the stars and the ancient path of Hawaii’s native culture.

3. Lyman Museum and Mission House, Hilo

Built in 1839, the Lyman Mission was destined for demolition in the early part of the 20th century to make room for a road. Descendants of the founding missionaries saved the house by having it moved to its present location. The house was converted to a museum in 1931 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978. Photo: Les Williams.

The Lyman Museum and Mission House brings Hawaii’s past to life and the family home is now the oldest wooden frame building on the Big Island. More than 26,000 volumes, documents, and historic photos of Hawaii are on display in the museum, which exists solely to tell the story of Hawaii, its islands and its people.

4. Laupahoehoe Train Museum, Laupahoehoe

Laupahoehoe Train Museum. Photo: Danny Howard.

Laupahoehoe Train Museum and Visitors Center features a handsomely restored railroad employee home, beautifully decorated in early 1900s furnishings.

5. Mokupapapa Discovery Center

Mokupapapa Discovery Center. Photo: Andy Collins.

Mokupapapa Discovery Center is rich with informaitn about one of the last wild places on earth — the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument which includes the Northwest Hawaiian Islands. It’s a great place to take the family, as there are lots of hands on exhibits.

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