The Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum on historic Ford Island occupies two battlefield hangers, and is filled with meticulously restored aircraft, exhibits, and artifacts that tell the story of American military aviation from the early 1940s through present day.
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Aviation Museum Tour
The Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum (previously, Pacific Aviation Museum) is one of the principle historic sites at Pearl Harbor. The museum’s mission is to “steward America’s first aviation battlefield of World War II… and honor those who have defended our freedom so we might educate and inspire future generations.”
Our experience at the Aviation Museum began in Hangar 37, a 42,000 square foot former seaplane hangar that survived the December 7, 1941 attack.
When we arrived, we first watched the award-winning 12-minute documentary, “East Wind Rain," that covered the events leading up to and around the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor.
Once inside, we walked through a long corridor lined with images depicting life in the Islands in 1940s pre-war Hawaii.
The corridor opened up to a large exhibit area. The first thing we saw there was an authentic Japanese Zero in a diorama setting on the deck of the Japanese carrier Hiryu at dawn on December 7th.
Also in the hangar was a light civilian plane that was airborne and shot during the Oahu attack. Other exhibits include an actual B-25B Mitchell similar to one used in the Doolittle Raid on Japan in April, 1942, and an authentic F4F Wildcat, featured in a Guadalcanal diorama that tells the story of the “Cactus Air Force.”
The authentic, carefully restored aircraft found in Hanger 37, from both U.S. and Japanese forces, along with vintage artifacts and interpretive placards, gives visitors new perspective on the “day that will live in infamy,” and marks the beginning of the story that launched the United States into World War II.
The second hanger making up the Pacific Aviation Museum - Hangar 79 - is an expansive 80,000 square foot seaplane hangar. Its blue glass windows are still riddled with bullet holes left by the December 7th attack.
During the WWII, Hanger 79 was a maintenance and engine repair facility, filled with fighters, bombers and patrol aircraft that were based in Pearl Harbor or en route to the front lines. Today, it holds modern jets and historic helicopters.
Hanger 79 continues the story that Hanger 37 started, and tells the story of American military aviation through World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the Gulf Wars.
Aviation Museum Information
Updated: March 2023
How to Get There
The museum is located on Ford Island, which you can visit by hopping on one of the shuttles that leave the Pearl Harbor Visitors Center every 15 minutes. The last shuttle returning visitors to the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center leaves the Museum at 5:00 p.m.
Military Personnel and Military Contractors with valid ID access can directly visit the Ford Island.
Museum Hours & Tickets
The Aviation Museum is open from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. (Closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, & New Year’s Day.)
General Admission gives full access to 50+ aircraft, all exhibits in Hangar 37, Hangar 79, and The Raytheon Pavilion. Free guided audio tours are available.
- Adults: $25.99 (USD)
- Children (Ages 4-12): $14.99 (USD)
- Children 3 years of age and under are free.
Visitors should expect to spend one to two hours or more exploring the Aviation Museum's impressive collection of vintage aircraft.
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.
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