Featured image © Wmpearl, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Honolulu Museum of Art is one of Hawaii’s most iconic cultural gems. Located in downtown Honolulu, the museum houses an impressive collection of artwork from different cultures around the world. From pieces from Pacific and Asian cultures to European and American works from various periods, there is something for everyone here. Whether you are a long-time fan or just starting to explore art museums, there is something special waiting for you at the Honolulu Museum of Art. Learn more about its history, collections, events, and programs that will bring art and culture into your life!


  • Explore the permanent collection of over 50,000 works of art from around the world
  • Tour the museum’s historic buildings, including its original home built in 1927
  • Enjoy a variety of special exhibitions throughout the year
  • Take part in workshops and classes to learn about different forms of art
  • Attend lectures and talks on topics related to art history and culture


Kapa, bark cloth from Hawaii, Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

The Honolulu Museum of Art is an impressive collection of over 50,000 pieces from around the world spanning 5,000 years of history. Founded in 1922 by Anna Rice Cooke, it was the first museum established in Hawaii and remains the largest and most comprehensive fine art museum in the state. It officially opened its doors on April 8, 1927, and is housed in a sprawling 87,000-square-foot estate on 3.2 acres of land.

The museum is a registered National and State Historical Site and accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. In 1990, the Honolulu Museum of Art School opened its doors to offer studio art classes and workshops. One of the newest additions to the complex is the Henry R. Luce Pavilion Complex, which features the Honolulu Museum of Art Café, a Museum Shop, and an impressive 8,000 square feet of gallery space. The museum’s largest galleries showcase works from different regions of Asia, Europe, and Africa, including an extensive collection of Japanese, Chinese, Philippine, Korean, Indian, and Indonesian art. Visitors can marvel at works from the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, as well as Renaissance and Medieval periods in the European collection. Not to be missed are the island-inspired pieces by Paul Gauguin. Formerly known as The Contemporary Museum, it gifted its assets and collection to the Honolulu Academy of Arts in 2011, which then changed its name to the Honolulu Museum of Art in 2012.

Things to Do

The Honolulu Museum of Art, located in the capital of Hawaii, is a must-visit for art lovers and travel enthusiasts alike. With its collection ranging from ancient artifacts to contemporary works, this museum has something for everyone. It is one of the largest art museums in the Pacific Rim region and plays an important role in the preservation and promotion of Hawaiian, American, Asian, and European art forms.

Tour the Museum

Located in the heart of Honolulu, the Honolulu Museum of Art is a stunning cultural attraction that offers a wealth of artistic experiences. There are interactive works suited for families and children, outdoor sculptures situated around the grounds, and an expansive courtyard perfect for relaxing picnics or engaging activities like yoga classes.

The museum’s Sculpture Garden and Koi Pond are also must-see outdoor attractions that will leave you enchanted. The Sculpture Garden is an open-air gallery featuring unique sculptures from local and international artists set amidst tall palms, lush plants, and a tranquil koi pond. Take your time wandering through the garden paths discovering new sculptures each step of the way. The mesmerizing Koi Pond can be appreciated from two viewing pavilions where visitors can get up close to observe the colorful fish swimming about in their natural habitat. Both the garden and pond offer a peaceful oasis perfect for reconnecting with nature.

Take Part in Art Exhibitions

The museum also offers a variety of special exhibitions throughout the year, allowing visitors to explore and appreciate art from all over the globe. One of the most popular exhibits is the Japanese Woodblock Prints exhibition, which showcases historical prints from some of Japan’s most renowned artists such as Utamaro, Hokusai, Hiroshige, and more. The exhibit includes works from different periods and examples of contemporary prints that highlight how woodblock printing has evolved.

For those interested in modern art, there’s always something exciting going on at the Honolulu Museum of Art. Recent exhibitions have included “Modernism: Mid-Century Masters and Contemporary Voices,” which showcased work by 20th-century masters like Picasso, Matisse, and Warhol alongside bold works by contemporary artists like Robert Rauschenberg, Jim Dine, and Ellsworth Kelly. Whether it’s viewing Japanese prints or discovering modern masterpieces from around the globe – the museum offers something for everyone to enjoy.

Enjoy a Performance at Doris Duke Theater

The Doris Duke Theatre, part of the Honolulu Museum of Art, is one of Hawaii’s premier venues for a variety of performing arts. For those in search of a truly unique experience, there is also a series of films and performances that explore the diverse cultures and history of Hawaii. The theatre also serves as an educational center where students can learn about different cultures and explore the arts through interactive classes and workshops. No matter what type of performance you’re looking for, the Doris Duke Theatre has something to offer for everyone!

Click here to know more about Doris Duke.

Take a Free Guided Tour or Family Activity Class

If you’re looking to delve deeper into the art and history of this beautiful Hawaiian city, taking a free guided tour or participating in a family activity class is an ideal choice. The tours are led by experienced docents who provide an in-depth look at the museum’s rich collection, while family activities focus on introducing children to art through fun interactive experiences. Tour participants learn about various works of art from different genres, learning about their historical and cultural context as they go.

Meanwhile, during a family activity class, kids can explore art using their hands and imaginations with engaging activities like painting and sculpting. Guided tours are available 7 days a week by trained docents who will provide rich insight into particular areas within the museum’s collections focusing on some interactive experiences like hands-on activities during their tours. These tours are offered free with regular admission tickets or memberships.

Explore the Contemporary Gallery

Visiting the Honolulu Museum of Art’s Contemporary Gallery is an immersive experience, featuring works by local and international artists. The gallery features interactive installations, sculptures, prints, paintings, video art, and other media. Through its diverse range of exhibitions, the museum invites visitors to explore different perspectives on modern art and culture.

A display of paintings representing daily life in Hawaii during Captain Cook’s exploration of the islands can be seen with a colorful collection of historic royal Hawaiian capes, ornate quilts, and other artifacts. The South Pacific gallery, which boasts an excellent collection of works from the Solomon Islands, Easter Island, New Zealand, and Papua New Guinea, is equally outstanding. For those looking to truly immerse themselves in contemporary art, the Honolulu Museum of Art offers workshops and lectures throughout the year that offer insight into contemporary trends in art and culture.

Browse Through Art Books in the Library and Shop for Souvenirs

The Honolulu Museum of Art library is home to a wide selection of books about art and culture from around the world. Whether you’re looking for information about Hawaiian art or want to explore works from other cultures, the books here provide valuable insight into our shared history. With sections dedicated to both current and historic works, you can find almost anything related to art within the museum’s library walls.

After exploring the exhibits at the Honolulu Museum of Art, don’t forget to drop into the Museum Shop. Here, you can find souvenirs that reflect the unique culture found in Hawaii including t-shirts, postcards, jewelry, ceramics, and more. Not only are these items perfect for bringing home as a reminder of your time in Hawaii, but they also make great gifts for friends and family back home. Whether you’re an art enthusiast or just curious about what the museum has to offer, it’s sure to be an unforgettable experience!

Participate in Educational Activities

The museum offers a variety of educational opportunities like lectures, workshops, and films. Lectures are held by renowned specialists in art and culture from around the world. Workshops are also available which allow you to learn more about art techniques and history. Film screenings round out the selection with informative documentaries taking viewers through various cultures and periods. With all these options, visitors to the museum have the opportunity to gain a comprehensive understanding of art and culture.

Tips for First-Time Visitors

  • Buy tickets in advance to secure your entry and avoid long lines at the door.
  • Wear comfortable shoes for exploring the museum’s galleries and exhibitions.
  • Bring a camera with you to capture any special memories or moments of artwork you find particularly striking.
  • Check out the upcoming events calendar to see if there are any lectures, concerts, or workshops taking place during your visit that will enhance your experience further.
  • Try visiting during off-peak times to ensure fewer crowds and more time for enjoying each piece on display without interruption from other visitors trying to get a peek too!
  • Stop by one of the museum’s restaurants or cafés when you need a break from viewing all that beauty around you.
  • Bring friends along so you can discuss different pieces together while also having someone who understands art just as much.
  • Research which sections/exhibitions interest you most beforehand, so you can plan your itinerary accordingly.

Frequently Asked Questions

The Honolulu Museum of Art is located in Honolulu, Hawaii on the island of Oahu. It is conveniently located close to downtown Honolulu and Waikiki Beach.

The Honolulu Museum of Art was established in 1927 by Anna Rice Cooke as the Honolulu Academy of Arts. It has been a major cultural center for generations of residents and visitors alike.

The museum features a vast collection including works from Europe, Asia, and America with a focus on Asian works. It also houses an extensive contemporary art collection, Hawaiian art, photography, modern art, and more.

Yes, there is an admission fee to visit the museum. General admission for adults is $20 while seniors (65+), students with valid student ID (13-17 years old) &, residents, and military are $10. Children 18 and under are free.

Yes! Visitors can take advantage of discounted admission fees with special programs such as Family Sundays and Hawaii Residents’ Free Sunday program where general admission is free for all Hawaii residents with valid ID on certain days throughout the year. Additionally, groups can receive discounted tickets if they purchase 10 or more tickets in advance online or at least two weeks before their desired visit date.

Yes! There is a cafe called “HoMa Café” that serves up modern fare, drinks, and hospitality in the spirit of an island. The Café serves lunch and brunch every Wednesday through Sunday from 11 am to 2 pm without requiring a museum admission fee.

How to Get to the Honolulu Museum of Art

The Honolulu Museum of Art is located in downtown Honolulu, Hawaii, and is easy to get to by car or public transportation. The museum is situated at 900 S. Beretania Street and can be accessed from the H1 freeway via the Ward Avenue exit. It’s just a short walk from Waikiki Beach and there are plenty of parking options nearby. You can also take TheBus (the local public bus system) to get there. Lines 19, 20, 31, 42, and 55 all stop near the museum’s front entrance. For those wanting to take a taxi to the museum, it should cost around $20 from most hotels in Waikiki.