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“Wonderful History Here!”

US Army Museum of Hawaii
Ranked #20 of 331 things to do in Honolulu
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Fee: No
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: The museum and the museum store are open Tuesday - Saturday from 10 AM - 5 PM. The Museum is free to all. The U. S. Army Museum of Hawaii is under the direction of the U.S. Army Center of Military History and receives well over 100,000 visitors a year. tours are available for rent from the Society for a small fee in both English and Japanese. Parking is available directly across from the museum. Validation for a reduced parking fee is available at the welcome desk. Constructed from 1909 to 1911, this Coastal Artillery Battery protected Oahu with its two 14-inch disappearing guns. The battery was built so well that it was unable to be torn down in the early 1970's to make way for the military's Hale Koa Hotel. The battery was turned into a museum in 1976 and begins with early Hawaiian warfare and covers every major military event in the Pacific theater of operations through Vietnam. The Gallery of Heroes honors Hawaii's soldiers who have received our nation's highest awards: the Medal of Honor and the Distinguished Service Cross. Chartered in 1976 as a not-for-profit corporation, the Hawaii Army Museum Society, also known by its acronym, HAMS, was organized by several former military veterans and patriotic members of the Honolulu community. HAMS is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization whose mission is to support the U. S. Army Museum of Hawaii. HAMS is a non-federal entity. It is not part of the Department of Defense or any of its components and has no government status.
Reviewed 8 July 2014

Man at the registration desk was extremely nice, wanted you to enjoy your visit, visited with each person who signed in. Museum is well maintained as are the grounds. Must see.

Thank Carolyn C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 8 July 2014

Good place to visit and get some good information about the US army and how it has evolved over the years and the different wars US fought in

Thank alexanae
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 July 2014

We have visited this museum on several occasions during our many visits to Honolulu but I never knew the history about this museum and included it in this review!

“Battery Randolph” as it was more commonly referred to was equipped with two 14-inch guns and was considered to be the “largest guns in the entire Pacific.” The battery was equipped with disappearing carriages that allowed the guns to remain hidden from approaching naval vessels by a solid concrete wall called “parapets,” which was solid concrete, up to 12-feet thick and is capable of withstanding a direct hit from a 2,000-pound artillery shell. On the ocean side of the battery, the concrete was 30-feet.

This battery required a crew of 14 artillerymen who would load a 3/4-ton shell in the breech, and then load 340 pounds of gun powder behind that. The projectile, which weighed 1,556 pounds, traveled 14 miles out to sea.

The recoil from each firing automatically pushed the gun carriage back down behind its concrete parapet, protecting soldiers and gun from low-angle naval fire while it was being reloaded. A well-trained artillery crew could fire a round downrange every 30-seconds and as the first round hit its mark, another round was already half way in flight to hit the target again.

The guns were capable of hitting a 20-foot target from six miles away, the equivalent of hitting a bus in Kaneohe and this was all accomplished “without the aid of computers, of course they didn’t exist back then!”

The cast iron “practice projectiles” cost around $55 each, whereas the “armor-piercing projectiles” cost about $780. For both systems, the powder charge propelling the projectile was $230.

Believe it or not, these weapons were based on 1890s knowledge and they were very precise! Observation points were used on top of Diamond Head and Tantalus to triangulate the distance, direction and speed of potential adversaries via telephone to the plotting room at Battery Randolph.

On December 7, 1941, a large contingent of Japanese planes devastated the U.S. Navy Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor and along the central and leeward parts of Oahu, without firing a single round at the defenses at Fort DeRussy.

With the end of World War II came the realization that the fort was no longer needed and the guns were cut up and sold for scrap, having never fired a shot in anger or defense. Battery Randolph was eventually abandoned and briefly became a warehouse storage facility.

In 1969, efforts were made to demolish the battery to free up the property for real estate but its concrete walls “repeatedly defied destruction,” and the demolition company contracted to remove the structure eventually “went bankrupt in the process.” “Yes, one for the history books!”

In 1976, the US Army officially designated Battery Randolph home of the U.S. Army Museum of Hawaii.

This museum reflects Hawaii’s diverse tradition and tells that story about the men and machines which shaped that heritage, warriors who built a kingdom, soldiers who defended an island, citizens who served their country and sacrificed to keep it free.

The museum’s exhibits include; small arms weapons, uniforms, WW II armor pieces, AH-1 Cobra helicopter, and documents pertaining to that era. The museum also includes a "Gallery of Heroes" honoring recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor and the Distinguished Service Cross (my favorite).

The museum draws a steady stream of the armed forces as well as tourists from around the world on a daily basis. The museum is located in the heart of Waikiki and admission is free.

Our visit;
We visited this museum on several occasions during our numerous stays at our resort (Hilton Hawaiian Village). We actually never knew or heard about this place until we decided to take a walk to downtown Waikiki and walked to this place. Although there is parking across the street from this museum, for us, this wasn’t an issue because we either “hoofed it” or took “The Bus,” everywhere we went on this island!

The first thing we noticed was the “helicopter (AH-1 Cobra)” that was sitting on top of the building and on display. On our visit, it was hot outside and entering the building to get out from the heat was refreshing. The best part was that the admission was “free.”

We absorbed ourselves with the museum’s collection of military artifacts, medals, and equipment used by soldiers of that era.

I enjoyed reading about Hawaii’s King Kamehameha who as the story goes in the 1700s and early 1800s united the seven Hawaiian Islands under a single rule.

I think my family learned a lot from this visit and the historical value it played during the war in the pacific. In the end, we toured the small gift shop and browsed the many items for sale such as military memorabilia, clothing, and various military unit insignias. We continued our walk towards Waikiki!

1  Thank Holdtheair
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 July 2014

Most of the museum, set within what was "Battery Randolph" is rather pedestrian. It relies heavily on photos, information boards and minor display artefacts. The recreation of the old shell-loading bay is good, there's a few old tanks outside and a Vietnam-era chopper on the roof. It's just all a bit 1980s and needs a major spruce-up. At least it's free, so perhaps one shouldn't complain.

Thank Andy F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 July 2014

Only a small museum but very poignant. Makes you consider how unique a position residents were in regards enlistment.

Thank Vickichacha
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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