Guide to the amazing museums of Maui, Hawaii.
General: Good For Rainy Days
General: Kid Friendly
|Guide Series: Hawaii Museums Guide
A trip to Maui shouldn't be all beaches and shave ice. Why not take a little time to learn about the Hawaiian culture, learn about Maui's whaling past, and see how sugar once ruled this land. Here's our top Maui, Hawaii museum picks.
Located inside Whalers Village shopping center is The Whale Center Of Hawaii (replacing The Whale Museum) which features exhibits on Maui's whaling era from 1825 to 1860. It's interesting to walk around and imagine what life would have been like as a whaler so many years ago. More at: The Whale Center Of Hawaii
Tour the oldest standing home on the entire island of Maui here at the Baldwin Home Museum, sometimes called the Baldwin House Museum. Originally built in 1834 as a single story home with a second floor addition added in 1849, this is a fun and educational look at missionary life from long ago. More at: Baldwin Home Museum
A mission home that was originally built in 1833 on the royal compound of Kahekili, Maui's last ruling chief. It's easy to find at the mouth of 'Iao Valley State Park and a good place to stop in before or after a trip to that park. The museum boasts the largest collection of Hawaiian Artifacts on exhibit in Maui County including 19th century missionary artifacts, Koa wood furniture, paintings by Edward Bailey, archeological and natural history materials, a 100 year old canoe Honaunau, and a surfboard that belonged to Duke Kahanamoku - The Original Beach Boy. More at: Hale Ho'ike'ike At The Bailey House
Located next to Hawaii's largest working sugar factory (which has recently closed down for good), the Alexander & Baldwin Sugar Museum is a repository of information and exhibits about Maui's culture and sweet (get it!) history. It's dedicated to preserving and presenting the history of Maui's sugar industry. More at: Alexander & Baldwin Sugar Museum
The Lahaina Heritage Museum is located in the Old Lahaina Courthouse right behind Maui's famous Banyan Tree Park. Visitors will enjoy an interactive look at the rich and varied history of Lahaina, including missionary and whaling days, the plantation era, and up through early tourism. Admission is free! More at: Lahaina Heritage Museum
The Hana Cultural Center and Museum, also known as Hale Wai Wai (House of Treasures), is located in the small town of Hana, right across the street from Hana Bay / Hana Beach Park. Incorporated in 1971, the center's goal is to collect, organize, describe, preserve, research, make available, interpret, and disseminate the history and culture of east Maui. More at: Hana Cultural Center And Museum
The Wo Hing Museum and Cookhouse is easy to find on Lahaina's Front Street and gives visitors a look into a social meeting hall and cook house that was used by Chinese immigrants who formed the Wo Hing Society. The society's goal was to nurture their expat community and support each other which eventually required a meeting hall. Built in 1912 using private donations, the Wo Hing Society built this two story building and used it for meetings, religious gatherings, and other social events. More at: Wo Hing Museum and Cookhouse
Built in 1853 as a place to put criminals of the whaling era. The property housed two jail cell buildings, one for men and another for women. Each building contained several cells, complete with shackles to tie up the more rowdy criminals. Today you can enter and check out the buildings and jail cells for free. Also note that in addition to a prison this property is also a small botanical garden. The most popular crime that would have landed you in the Lahaina Prison back in the mid-1800s? Drunkenness! No surprise there. Next up on the naughty list were adultery / fornication, assault and battery, and (my favorite of all) furious riding. Yes, furious riding! That must have been the illegal street racing (Fast & Furious style) of the 1800s. More at: Hale Pa'ahao / Lahaina Prison
Back in 1823 when missionaries first arrived in Lahaina, they convinced the Hawaiian ali'i that education and literacy was a key to their people prospering. In 1832 the Lahainaluna Seminary was created which was the first school west of the Rocky Mountains. Today, you can tour the building that published "Ka Lama Hawaii" which was the first newspaper published west of the Rockies on February 14, 1834. Admission is free. More at: Hale Pa'i / Printing Museum
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