Bishop Museum Retakes the Week with Lasers


After six years of six-days-a-week operation, the Bishop Museum is again open on Tuesdays. The return to a daily schedule (with only Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays off) began with the new month, which also brings a limited engagement laser light show and a wearable art exhibit.

“We are delighted to provide residents and visitors with more flexibility in scheduling their visits to the Museum, as well as the opportunity to serve an increased number of school group visits during the year,” the museum said in its monthly member newsletter.

So this Tuesday will be the first Tuesday you will be able to check out the new laser shows at the Bishop Museum planetarium. And while Hawaii’s first-ever indoor dome laser light shows will be used for educational fare — telling the story of autumn constellations Perseus and Andromeda, for example — the equipment will primarily be fired up for straight-up entertainment.

“There are educational programs, although part of it is that it is just pure dang fun,” said Mike Shanahan, who gave us a preview of the laser shows last month on Bytemarks Cafe on Hawaii Public Radio.

For starters, there’s a “Fright Light” Halloween laser show every day of the week. But music lovers in particular will want to check it out. on Thursday nights, there’s a Beatles show, Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd are featured on Fridays, and Pink Floyd returns on Saturdays.

“Laser shows were invented in Los Angeles 42 years ago at the Griffith Observatory, and since that time there’s never been a laser light show in a dome on Oahu,” Shanahan said. “There’s something about just being in that domed environment. being in that immersive environment where laser shows were originally created and were meant to be seen.”

And Shanahan, who has worked in science education for more than three decades, is especially excited to be presenting these programs.

“I began in my museum career as a laser light show usher at Pacific Science Center in the 70s so I hae a disposition toward laser shows,” he said.

You can listen to the full interview with Shanahan here:


Also opening just this past weekend, the “World of WearableArt” exhibit from New Zealand. Bishop Museum is the first museum in the U.S. to host the show, which runs through January.

And just last month, the Bishop Museum Cafe reopened in a new partnership with Highway Inn, offering Hawaiian plates, poke bowls, sandwiches, and snacks.

The overall museum menu is certainly compelling: lasers, an international fashion exhibit, an original local exhibit on Duke Kahanamoku, great Hawaiian food… all in addition to the other permanent offerings of Hawaii’s largest offerings, seven days a week.

The museum had been closed every Tuesday since 2009, when declining visitors, revenues, and grants forced “unprecedented” cuts. It would appear that the 126-year-old institution is doing better now, although it is also about to turn to another common source of supplemental revenue.

“Also effective November 1, 2015, Bishop Museum will implement a paid parking system throughout its campus, and there will be a $5 parking fee per car, per day,” the newsletter explains. “Parking fees will provide vital funds to care for our community’s Hawaiian and Pacific collections and educational programs.”

Current members of Bishop Museum will park for free, at least for now, which is perhaps another incentive to join and support the state’s largest museum. For more information, visit, follow @BishopMuseum on Twitter, or connect with the museum on Facebook.

Discover more from Hawaii Blog

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading