U.S. Army Museum of Hawaii

Private non-profit military museum in Waikiki that includes exhibitions on the army's history in Hawai'i as the well as the role people from Hawai'i have played in army history. Many aspects of the Japanese American World War II story are included in the exhibitions.

The museum is housed in the former Battery Randolph, which was constructed from 1909–11 as part of Fort DeRussy as a series of artillery battalions that guarded the coast. After World War II, its guns were removed, and the structure was used as a warehouse. After a failed attempt to tear down the building in 1969, it was turned into a museum. The U.S. Army Museum of Hawaii opened to the public on December 7, 1976. Located just off the beach in Waikiki, it has become a popular destination with tourists and hosts some 100,000 visitors a year.

The bulk of the 13,500 square foot museum is dedicated to permanent exhibitions on the military history of Hawai'i, beginning with a section on "Hawaiian Warfare" and continuing on to cover the arrival of the U.S. Army and World War I. Most of the exhibition area focuses on World War II—the run up to war, the attack on Pearl Harbor, the impact of the war on Hawai'i, and the end of the war. A key part of the World War II story is a section titled "Go For Broke" that focuses on the Japanese American units: the 100th Infantry Battalion , the 442nd Regimental Combat Team , the Military Intelligence Service , and the 1399th Engineer Construction Battalion . Photos and text panels are augmented by uniforms, medals, letters and postcards, and objects collected by the Japanese American soldiers while on duty. The sections on the impact of the war in Hawai'i also briefly note the role of the Hawaii Territorial Guard , the precursor to the 100th.

Other exhibitions focus on the Korean War and Vietnam Wars, the latter featuring a gallery that tells the story of General Eric Shinseki, a Kaua'i native who was wounded in Vietnam and later became army chief of staff. The second floor includes a "Gallery of Heroes," that includes profiles of the Hawai'i recipients of the Medal of Honor and the Distinguished Service Cross. There is also a first floor gallery for changing exhibitions as well as displays of tanks, a helicopter and cannons outside and on the roof.

The museum is operated by the U.S. Army Garrison, Hawaii. It is supported by the Hawaii Army Museum Society, a 501(c)(3) corporation that funds improvements and new exhibition and also operates the museum store.

Recent temporary exhibitions at the army museum have included America's Secret Weapon: Japanese Americans in the Military Intelligence Service in World War II .

Authored by Brian Niiya , Densho

For More Information

Official website: http://hiarmymuseumsoc.org/ .

Moulin, Pierre. A History of For DeRussy: U.S. Army Museum of Hawai'i . Honolulu: Mutual Publishing, 2007.

Last updated Dec. 19, 2023, 3:48 a.m..