Arts & Culture
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Oahu is home to many art museums and galleries, and Honolulu is the epicenter of Hawaii’s art scene, both past and present. The Hawaii State Art Museum (HISAM) and the Honolulu Museum of Art both house extensive collections exhibiting and interpreting the art and culture of Hawaii. Alongside works from the 19th and 20th centuries, you’ll find collections of traditional Hawaiian handicrafts, including kapa (cloth made from beaten bark), umeke (wooden bowls), feather capes and quilts, as well as paintings from the Volcano School (depicting nighttime scenes of Hawaii’s volcanoes, most from the late 1800s).
The Bishop Museum boasts millions of artifacts, documents and photographs about Hawaii and other Polynesian cultures, as well as an extensive collection of Hawaiian royal family heirlooms.
Today, the Honolulu neighborhood of Kakaako is ground zero for Hawaii’s contemporary art explosion, with colorful murals by global artists that have turned the streets a living gallery. Music, dance, theatre and the arts in general are community treasures on Oahu. Artists and makers from around the world intersect with locals still perpetuating Hawaiian traditions and customs. And while the people of Oahu blend the rich legacy of Hawaiian culture with the world of the 21st century, you’ll find the spirit of aloha remains as timeless as ever in the Heart of Hawaii.
A venue for the Art in Public Places Program of the Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and the Arts, the Hawaii State Art Museum (HiSAM) features works of art primarily by artists with a connection to Hawaii and exhibits on topics of interest to communities in our state. Admission is always free!
Queen Emma Summer Palace or Hānaiakamalama, served as a summer retreat for Queen Emma of Hawai‘i, her husband King Kamehameha IV, and their son, Prince Albert Edward. It is now a historic landmark, museum, and tourist site preserved by the Daughters of Hawai‘i.
Enjoy the beauty and serenity of the Temple Visitors Center of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Often called the Taj Mahal of the Pacific, the Hawaiian Temple was the first built outside of the continental United States by the Church.
DISCOVERY: In three historic buildings guests can see and feel the dramatic changes the New England Missionaries brought to Hawaii starting in 1820.
In the Polynesian Cultural Center is our Gallery and Shop Polynesia Store, displaying the finest traditional arts and crafts from Samoa, New Zealand, Marquesas, Fiji, Tonga, Tahiti, and the Hawaiian Islands. Take with you a piece of Polynesia.
A major cultural institution for the state, Hawaii Opera Theatre produces critically-acclaimed grand opera featuring three programs in winter and one in summer. Productions showcase world-class principal singers, conductors and directors.
Voted the #1 paid attraction in Hawaii, the Polynesian Cultural Center on Oahu's North Shore offers 6 Pacific Island villages and exhibits. Featuring Hawaii's most authentic luau, and our award-winning show, "Hā: Breath of Life.” Visit us for an unforgettable experience great for the whole family.