We visited the Honolulu Museum of Art for two hours one day during our stay last month in Hawaii and saw about half of what the museum had to offer. You will need at least three hours and perhaps four to cover the entire museum, especially if you wish to browse the museum shop and / or cafe.
Our hour-long docent-led tour began and ended at the statue of Penelope in the central courtyard. In between we visited the five galleries that surround the Chinese Courtyard. Two of the galleries covered Japanese art, two Chinese and one followed Buddhism across several Asian countries.
About half of the space in the museum is devoted to Asian art. We only saw about half of these, skipping all of the galleries that surround the Palm and Kinau courtyards (India, Southeast Asia, Indonesia, Islamic world, textiles).
The larger of the two Japanese galleries contains mostly art of the 20th century. The smaller gallery contains rotating exhibits of the museum’s extensive collection of woodblock prints. I will have a separate posting devoted to this gallery.
Our docent left us back with Penelope after an hour and we decided to visit the second-floor galleries that covered the Philippines, American art, the Pacific, Africa, ancient Latin America and North America.
During our last 40 minutes at the museum we walked through the seven galleries that surround the Mediterranean Courtyard. These galleries covered the 17th and 18th centuries as well as modern art. There were also a large gallery of portraits and one devoted to impressionism, post-impressionism and neo-impressionism. My impressions of the impressionists will be covered in a separate posting.
We only had enough coins to last for two hours of parking and so had to leave before we had a chance to visit the large Luce Pavilion Complex that was completed in 2001. So we missed the Doris Duke theater, the museum shop, the pavilion cafe, the Clare Booth Luce gallery of modern art, and the two-story Henry R. Luce wing that features a pictorial history of Hawaii on the second floor.
We’re looking forward to coming back to Hawaii some day to see the rest of the museum! Next time we will either take the bus or park at either the Museum school or the Blaisdell Center.