Lanai Culture & Heritage Center

Lanai Culture & Heritage Center – Offering an Educational Experience to Remember
Local Expert's Rating:
4 / 5
The Bottom Line:

If you’d like to learn all about the history and culture of Lanai, you can get an in-depth look back into the past 1,000 years of island life at the Lanai Culture & Heritage Center. From wall to wall in their climate-controlled building, they have interpretive exhibits galore, plus a gorgeous garden out front. If you have any questions during your visit, just ask the friendly staff and they’ll provide all the info you seek.

- The Local Expert Team

Through their many interpretive exhibits, the Lanai Culture & Heritage Center offers ample opportunities to learn all there is to know about the island. For over 10 years now, they’ve operated out of the climate-controlled building that was once used as the administration building for the old Dole plantation.

Along the front of the building, you can browse their gorgeous tropical garden to get a feel for which plants thrive on the island. Flowering trees and shrubs dominate the garden space, although there are quite a few flowers standing at their feet. Beyond that, they have beautiful pineapple plants growing strong in honor of the island’s plantation heritage.

Upon setting foot in the museum, you’ll find an overwhelming array of exhibits exploring the last 1,000 years of island life. Although a bit cluttered, all the exhibits let you explore over 1,000 years of local history and culture at your leisure. Across their collection, you’ll find a topographically correct model of Lanai, two-hull sailboat replica, paper seashells, and so much more.

Many of the museum exhibits focus on the Dole pineapple plantation’s development in the 1920s as it kick started community growth across the island. Then, the photos, artifacts, and other displays follow its operations until the company moved on in the 1990s. You even get to see the clothing, furniture, artwork, and many other relics used in the plantation workers’ daily lives.

If you’d like to hear directly from many of the elders, you’ll want to settle in to watch the oral history video. The museum curators took the time to complete interesting interviews with many former plantation workers and their family members. They recount their time growing pineapples and enjoying island life to the fullest through the years.

Throughout the exhibits of Lanai Culture & Heritage Center, there are special tips to follow on your Lanai adventures, like avoiding moving stones while exploring the local landscape. Pay close attention to these tips to help protect the land and honor all the people who call the island home.  

As you browse through Lanai Culture & Heritage Center, many questions may flow through your mind. Don’t just let them linger. Ask the staff members if they know the answers to your inquiries. Their knowledge often goes well beyond the museum exhibits, giving you a chance to gain even more info about the history and culture of the island.

At each visit to the museum, always sign in at the guestbook on the table. You’ll get to add your name, date of the visit, and any remarks you may have about the museum. This serves as a historical record of all their visitors and a great source of advice on how to improve the educational experience. So, it’s well worth the time it takes to add your input.

Once you finish exploring the Lanai Culture & Heritage Center, go up front to get a t-shirt as a souvenir. If you’re unsure what the designs are all about, just ask. They all link back to the history of the island, giving you a great story to tell as you wear your t-shirt on all your adventures. With your purchase, you may get a map of the Koloiki Trail, so you can easily plan your next stop on your exploration of Lanai.

Insider Tips:
-Plan to visit the Lanai Culture & Heritage Center for at least an hour, so you can get a good look at all the exhibits plus have time to watch the video and plenty of questions.
-Want to give back to the museum? Just leave a donation at the door during your visit or afterward by going to their website.
-If you’d like a guided tour through the museum, call ahead to see if they have any openings.
-The shuttle to and from the ferry stops right in front of the museum, making it easy to come by for a visit.