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Five Reasons to Visit Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum in the New Year

What better way to kick off the new year than to plan your vacations! Treat yourself to a year full of adventure and travel, and choose Hawaii as your top destination. 

Picture of the USS Arizona memorial with a view of the Ford Island Control Tower behind it.

Hawaii is so much more than white sand beaches and beautiful hikes – we are a part of American history. Take a day to walk the hallowed grounds of America’s World War II aviation battlefield here at Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum. Whether you are a history buff, aviation enthusiast, or someone who loves a good museum, we offer visitors a chance to experience history firsthand and gain a deeper understanding of the events that happened here at Pearl Harbor that shaped the world we live in today. Discover five reasons to include the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum in your 2023 travels.

1. Get Up Close to a Piece of the USS Arizona

An extremely poignant and powerful exhibit at the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum is the section of the USS Arizona, the battleship that was heavily damaged and permanently entombed 1,177 Navy servicemen during the attack on Pearl Harbor. This relic serves as an important reminder of the sacrifice made by the servicemen who lost their lives on that fateful day. Our section of the battleship comes from the ship’s main deck framing removed from the galley porthole compartments and framing portion of the galley’s vegetable locker on the port side of the ship.

Photograph of a piece of the USS Arizona at PHAM.
Photo from the top of the Ford Island Control Tower.

2. top of the tower tour

For the first time in decades, the Ford Island Control Tower is now open to the public! The newly opened Top of the Tower Tour allows guests to ascend 168-feet up in a vintage elevator and are greeted with a 360 view from the observation deck. The guided tour paints the picture of the Pearl Harbor attack; highlighting the flight path of the Japanese aircraft, sharing the stories of our heroes, and allowing for a moment of reflection and appreciation to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

From the top, guest can see stunning views of the surrounding area, including the USS Arizona Memorial, the USS Missouri, and the rest of Pearl Harbor. The unique view provides a greater perspective of what had happened on December 7, 1941.

3. Bullet Holes in the Historic Hangar

Located on Historic Ford Island, where some of the nation’s largest ships were moored offshore in December 1941, the Museum’s immersive campus includes two historic WWII hangars that survived that fateful day. The hangars themselves help to tell the story of America’s WWII aviation battlefield – one of the most striking artifacts at the Museum are the bullet holes in the windows of our hangar, caused by the strafing of the Japanese planes during the day of the attack. The bullet holes are an emotional reminder of the devastation wrought by the surprise attack, and visitors can see them up close and personal. When viewing the bullet holes, visitors will notice that some of the window panes on the hangar are blue and others are clear. The blue panes are the original 1941 glass dating back to when the hangar was built. The clear panes were added in the preservation process of the hangar to protect this historic site.

Photograph of bullet holes in the window of hangers.
Photograph of one of the Hanger Talks hosted in the museum theater.

4. Hangar Talk Series

As an added benefit to the Museum, guests can enjoy a special Hangar Talk series, open to all ages, and helps provide a deeper understanding of the history of aviation and the Pacific Theater of World War II. The series runs on a quarterly basis and is located in the Museum theater.

During these events our moderator, Lt Gen Dan “Fig” Leaf, USAF (Ret), hosts discussions with special guests with ties to aviation or the Museum. Hangar Talks are excellent opportunities to meet with aviation experts and ask questions that you may have. Past Hangar Talks welcomed author, Marc Wortman; Medal of Honor Recipients, Major General Patrick Henry Brady; Joe Kentz, 475th documentarian, Board of Directors 475th FG Historical Foundation; Brad Ball, Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum Board of Directors, President 475th FG Historical Foundation.

All of our Hangar Talks are also live streamed on the Museum’s Facebook for those not able to attend in person.

5. New Exhibit

In 2023, Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum will be opening a newly created exhibition to the Museum.

This March our newest exhibition located inside Hangar 37 will open. In this upcoming exhibit we dive deep into the role, significance, and contribution that the island, Maui, played during World War II for America’s military. This Hawaiian island served as a major training, staging, and supply base for the entire region during the war. Tens of thousands of servicemen stopped in Maui for extensive training before going to fight in the Pacific Theater, due to the similarity in environment. This exhibition houses amazing artifacts and stories that help share these interesting ties to the Hawaiian island, Maui.

We look forward to inviting you in to see this upcoming exhibit, so keep your eye out for future updates!

Maui - Land • Sea • Air: Maui in Wartime

Before you hit the beach on your Hawaii vacation this year, stop by Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum to pay homage to the fallen heroes and learn about America’s WWII history.

Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum

Open Daily
9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

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