A Kakaako museum dedicated to honoring World War II veterans may be forced to close its doors.
The reason is two-fold: high costs and lack of funding.
The museum says it just can’t compete with other tour agencies.
The Home of the Brave Museum has been has been around since 1991. It’s been called Honolulu’s best kept secret, but the museum founder says that’s no longer a good thing.
If they can’t raise enough money, the museum could shut down for good by the end of the year.
Upon stepping inside the Home of the Brave Museum, visitors are immediately taken back to the 1940s.
It’s the largest private collection of WWII memorabilia and artifacts in the Pacific – all treasured memories that were donated by families of WWII veterans.
“Everything has a story and we say sometimes better, sometimes worse than any Hollywood movie,” museum founder and president Glen Tomlinson said.
The most recent piece that came in is a flag with bullet holes that flew during the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Thousands of World War II veterans have come through here, polaroids line the walls from their visits.
Tomlinson says there isn’t enough money to keep it open.
The museum used to generate revenue through military base tours, but those were stopped due to homeland security concerns.
That, along with the high price of rent and operational costs, have put the museum’s future in jeopardy.
“It was the competition within the tour market. We can’t compete with the big boys, We’re a small mom and pop operation,” Tomlinson said.
Tomlinson says its target age group of veterans and their families has also dwindled over the years.
He’s worried a huge piece of history will soon be forgotten.
“This is the part of American history that should not be lost. This isn’t about us, it’s about our greatest generation that gave everything, everything to have the freedoms and liberties we enjoy today,” Tomlinson said.
“World War II distinguished the United States of America as a global superpower. That changed our history. For something like this to fall by the wayside and lose those personal memories and stories is a travesty,” Brian Bonifant, state chair for the Sons and Daughters of Pearl Harbor Survivors, said.
The museum is working to get funding through state and federal grants but even so, those funds wont kick in until the end of 2018.
Although the future is unclear, Tomlinson remains hopeful his mission to honor veterans will continue.
Home of the Brave just held a fundraiser on Friday but it’s still trying to raise money through a Go Fund Me page.
The museum is also part of the non-profit Remember Honor Salute Foundation. If you’re interested in making a tax-deductible donation, you can contact Glen Tomlinson at email@example.com.
The Home of the Brave Museum is located at 909 Waimanu St. and is open Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
The Brewseum, a nearby brew pup that also features WWII memorabilia, is located at 901 Waimanu St. and is open Tuesday through Thursday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.