Bishop Museum hosts special exhibit in honor of Pearl Harbor anniversary

Volunteers administer first aid to a mock victim during a practice air raid and poison gas drill in Honolulu. (Private collection photo on display at Bishop Museum)

Visitors to Bishop Museum will get to experience a different perspective of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

Homefront Hawaii is a special gallery exhibit in honor of the 75th Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. It explores the events of the attacks on Oahu and Pearl Harbor from the perspective of the citizens and civilians of Hawaii, and how the aftermath of the attacks transformed an entire way of life for the island.

“A lot of civilians were killed that day, and then after the attack, there was a dramatic change in everybody’s life here,” said museum historian DeSoto Brown. “Everybody was put under marshal law. Everyone had to live with a curfew every night. There were a number of restrictions on daily activities. You had to have an ID card on you at all times. Every civilian was issued a gas mask. In general, it was a tremendous change of everybody’s lives.”

The exhibit features archival images and items from Bishop Museum and expert collectors, such as rarely seen photos of explosion-damaged Honolulu streets, a fortified Waikiki Beach armed with barbed wire, and a bomb shelter at Iolani Palace. Period artifacts will also be on display, such as remnants of a shot-down Japanese plane.

“I’m hoping people will come away with a sense of those changes, all those dramatic changes, that World War II brought to the Hawaiian islands,” Brown said.

The exhibit opens Thursday and runs through March 1, 2017.

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