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“Informative and educational visit of Hawai'i's culture and history”
Review of Lyman Museum

Lyman Museum
Ranked #20 of 81 things to do in Hilo
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: The Smithsonian-affiliated Lyman Museum tells the story of Hawaii’s islands and people through its exhibits on Hawaii’s volcanic origins, flora and fauna found nowhere else in the world, Hawaiian culture, and other ethnic groups that have shaped the unique society of Hawaii today. Admire worldwide collections of sea shells and minerals. Learn about 19th century missionary life on a tour of the historic Lyman Mission House, the Island’s oldest wood frame building constructed in 1839.
Dallas, Texas
Level 6 Contributor
199 reviews
62 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 77 helpful votes
“Informative and educational visit of Hawai'i's culture and history”
Reviewed September 20, 2012

We got a 2 for 1 coupon from the travel brochure we picked up from airport and decided to visit this museum. It's quite a walk from the farmer's market but it was a doable walk.
They have a small auditorium that plays an educational video of the destructive lava flow on the first floor next to the exhibit of Hawai'i archipelago's formation and diverse ecosystem.
On the second floor they have a permanent exhibit on Hawaiian's cultural timeline. We gained a better appreciation of Hawaiian's culture and demographics after browsing this exhibit. Next door, they had special exhibits on Korean's grandfather's house and Burmese's Buddhist temple.
We managed to join the 1/2 hour tour of Lyman's house next to the museum. It was definitely worth a visit. It's interesting to see how the early Christian missionaries set up their ministry here. The tour guide was very informative and passionate. The house was three-stories height. No elevator in the house. Stair climbing is part of the tour. She explained the significance of almost every part of the house.
The house tour was included in the museum's entrance fee.

Visited September 2012
Thank 12Coffee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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203 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Japanese first
  • Korean first
  • Any
English first
Chicago, Illinois
Level 3 Contributor
22 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Definitely worth a stop”
Reviewed September 16, 2012

This great little museum exceeded my expectations. There is a natural history exhibit on the main floor and some historical/cultural exhibits about Hawaii on the second floor. The current featured exhibit was about Myanmar when we went, but the remainder was very Hawaii-focused.

If you are able, definitely take the Lyman Mission House tour. The guides are friendly and knowledgeable, and it's free! All together, I'd allow 2 hours for the museum and tour.

Visited September 2012
1 Thank SamMP13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco, CA
Level 4 Contributor
27 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“Interesting museum and house tour”
Reviewed August 28, 2012

The museum has two floors, one dedicated to Hawaiian culture and another to special exhibits. A tour of the Lyman house is also included with admission and is a must. Our guide was very knowledgeable and was able to expertly describe how the Lyman's (an early missionary family) typically lived and worked.

Visited August 2012
1 Thank SFgirlSF
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston, Massachusetts
Level 6 Contributor
96 reviews
49 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
“Nice overview of geology and culture”
Reviewed August 25, 2012

A pleasant hour or two of seeing the basics of volcanic island formation and learning a bit about the cultural evolution of the island. Also, a good video available covering the loss of a town to a major lava flow in 1990. We did not tour the attached mission building but looking in its windows was interesting, too.

Visited August 2012
Thank Tim H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kailua-Kona, Hawaii
Level 6 Contributor
409 reviews
101 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 340 helpful votes
“Great little museum”
Reviewed August 25, 2012

Loved the volcano and natural history exhibit--just enough information. Also the history of Hawaii. The house tour was interesting but the guide "sugar coated" the relationship of the missonaries with the natives based on my past readings. Also has a shell and mineral exhibit thrown in--kind of eclectic selection of exhibits.

Visited August 2012
Thank Teramo48
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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