Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum

The Pacific Aviation Museum at Pearl Harbor is home to a large collection of these incredible aircraft, some dating back to more than 76 years ago and the attack on Pearl Harbor that led the US into World War II. The collection is split between two pre-World War II-era hangars, number 37 and number 79. Hangar 37 houses fewer aircraft, but they all were connected to the Second World War in some way.

 

The museum is more than just a collection of Pearl Harbor-related aircraft. While it does feature a Japanese A6M Zero fighter and an American P-40, similar to planes that flew the morning of the attack, there’s much more to this museum that makes it appealing to history buffs hoping for a more extensive look into the aerial fleets of not just World War II, but of many conflicts since then.

 

The museum is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and if you book a tour in advance, you can be sure you’ll see all parts of Pearl Harbor and still have time to reflect on the tragic events of that day.

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The History of the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum

Most tours of Pearl Harbor include stops at the museums and monuments on Ford Island. Located in the middle of Pearl Harbor, Ford Island is a 441-acre island that’s prominent in both Hawaiian culture and American history. While it’s best known as the location of Battleship Row, the scene of massive destruction during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Ford Island also played a prominent role in military aviation.

 

Known today as Ford Island, the island was known to the Hawaiian people as Moku’ume’ume, meaning “island of attraction.” The history of American involvement on the island dates back to the mid-19th century. The island got its current name from Dr. Seth Porter Ford who came into possession of it through marriage. Not long after Ford’s death, the island became the focus of interest for the United States military. Though Hawaii was at the time an independent kingdom, the United States had been on the lookout for a base that could help provide a defense to its Pacific coast.

Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum
21.3665° N, 157.9368° W

Helpful Tips

For security reasons, no bags are allowed on the shuttle bus to Ford Island. A bag storage facility, located at the Bowfin Submarine Park shuttle bus stop, can store your belongings for a fee.

Photos are allowed at the Aviation Museum, although because we are an active military base, be mindful of any areas that are off limits for photography, this includes the Admiral Clarey Bridge that you ride over on the way to Ford Island.

With over 50 aircrafts at the museum, you won’t want to rush through any exhibit at the Pacific Aviation Museum. Even if you don’t have a full day to dedicate to the museum, you still have great tour opportunities that will help you make the most of your time.

Though some people like to walk through museums on their own time, we highly recommend the self-guided audio tour. These audio tours make visiting the museum more enjoyable, and they let you move through the museum at your own pace. If you have limited time to see only your favorite exhibits, you can easily skip certain parts to ensure you don’t miss a moment of the action.

The air-conditioned and WWII-inspired cafe serves up classic all-American fare, for a sit-down but quick bite. Open from 11 am to 3 pm

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