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Honolulu Museum of Art in Oahu: Come Be Ispired

Honolulu Museum of Art in Oahu: Come Be Ispired

The Honolulu Museum of Art is Hawaii’s largest fine arts museum. It was founded in 1922 by Anna Rice Cooke and has one of the largest collections of Asian and Pacific art in the United States, as well as art pieces from all over the world including big names like Van Gogh, Monet, Gaugin, Rivera. From oil paintings to ancient clothing to sculptures, you will find a universe of intriguing art. The Museum offers guided tours, walk around tours and outreach programs for students.

Honolulu Museum of Art - works by Matisse and Van Gogh
Honolulu Museum of Art – works by Matisse and Van Gogh

Located near Downtown Honolulu, at 900 South Beretania Street, the Honolulu Museum of Art is easy to reach and it makes a great destination for either a shorter afternoon visit after a morning at the beach or for a full day art immersion. The cafe is famous for its yummy food; it is a good place to enjoy coffee, tea and pastries or a healthy lunch in one of the many nooks and crannies. The gift shop is delightful and has some really unique items and gifts.

Honolulu Museum of Art - one of the courtyards
Honolulu Museum of Art – one of the courtyards

The annual membership ($30 at the time of this writing) gives you a year of free admission to both the Honolulu Art Museum and to the contemporary Museum up the hill. Included in the membership are museum events: yearly Halloween Gala, monthly ARTafterDARK and monthly free admission days (more information on this in Recurring Events on Oahu).

For students, the Honolulu Museum of Art provides an outreach program called “Art to Go”. Trained artists come out to various locations around the island and deliver art instruction to children of all ages. Once a day for twelve weeks the Art to Go team meets up with the students and teaches them various skills. They have helped over 12,000 students in the course of the past twelve years that the program has been live. In middle school, we took a course and I remember it was very fun and easy. After every session each person gets to bring home their craft (I actually still have mine!). There are also special days where they have they activities at the actual museum but to keep update with that you have to call or visit their website.

A gallery in the Honolulu Museum of Art
A gallery in the Honolulu Museum of Art

Speaking of children, in 1927 Anna Rice Cooke – the founder of the Honolulu Museum of Art – said in her dedication statement that their goal is to reach all children no matter their race and let them “wake to the ideals embodied in the arts of their neighbors”. The islands are filled with people from all cultures (we are the melting pot!) and it is important to build a foundation of diversity and understanding of each other. The Museum’s mission is to create an adaptable and enjoyable society within the Aloha State through the expression of art. Keeping the past, accepting the present, inspiring the future, and valuing creativity and innovation is the way of this prestigious museum, in line with its “Come Be Inspired” slogan.

Some general rules of course, no touching the artwork! Oils from our skin can leave art different than before and can make them break down. All of the visitor areas are wheelchair accessible and there are some wheelchairs available onsite. As in most museums, photography is allowed but only without flash. To all the inspired artists, only sketching with pencil is permitted, nothing else. The museum provides as much as possible for the publics’ needs, so if you have any questions you can of course ask them.

Honolulu Museum of Art - a pond in one of the courtyards
Honolulu Museum of Art – a pond in one of the courtyards

The Honolulu Museum of Art with its vibe and décor, impressive collections and variety of art is a perfect place for everyone to visit. Walk around the beautiful courtyards and ponds, look at the art, pause to think about it, rest on multiple seating benches, stop at the cafe and the gift shop, and just enjoy yourself in the Honolulu Museum of Art – it is an amazing experience that will make anyone’s visit to Oahu memorable and complete.

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