Pearl Harbor Unveils New Visitor Center
On December 7th, 2010, the U.S. National Park Service opened the new $56 million visitor center at Pearl Harbor. This new exhibit is the result of the recently created Valor in the Pacific National Monument, one of former President George W. Bush’s final executive orders before leaving office, which finally gave control of the Pearl Harbor visitor center to the National Park Service. Gone are the antiquated buildings that were breaking apart and sinking into the ground. They have now been replaced with structures comprised mostly of recycled materials, creating Hawaii’s first green museum. Most impressively, this incredible piece of history has been altered into a more interactive experience. Drawing upon personal accounts from local witnesses, the exhibit has shifted its focus from strict military engagement to a more inclusive view of society and pop culture. While the museum is not yet completely finished, the center is still a huge improvement from its predecessor. The meticulous displays feature giant pictures from the attack, a bloodied Naval uniform and other historical artifacts documenting the devastation. Of particular interest is the recovered Japanese torpedo and a scorched piece of metal from the USS Arizona. Perhaps the most impressive feature of the new design is the landscape renovation, incorporating uninterrupted views of the harbor. The visitor center now distributes the flow of visitors in a seamless manner, completely transforming the formerly crowded experience into an enjoyable day exploring our national heritage.