If you spend any time in Waikiki, you will eventually stumble across Fort DeRussy. Located next to the Hilton Hawaiian Village, Fort DeRussy is an Armed Forces Recreation Area. It was originally built in 1915 as part of the Honolulu coastal defense system.
Today, it is a large shaded grassy park that backs up to the beach and is used by hundreds of local residents and visitors daily for cookouts, frisbee throwing, and family gatherings.
Not too far from the park is the Army Museum. After years of walking past the large tanks parked outside the museum, I finally ventured in. Admission is free and donations are welcome. They recently (just last week!) added an audio tour option for $5.00. Since it took me so long to finally go inside the museum, I figured I’d go all out and take the audio tour.
The museum is located inside Battery Randolph, which is a reinforced concrete emplacement built in 1911 that was part of Honolulu’s coastal defense system back then. Today it houses exhibits depicting the military history of Hawaii, from the early Hawaiians to present time.
There are a number of interesting exhibits that range from early Hawaiian warfare to the Pearl Harbor attack to the Korean War and Vietnam. My favorite exhibit was the one that traces General Eric Shinseki’s impressive military career from West Point through Vietnam, Korea, and Bosnia to his appointment as Chief of Staff and now the Secretary of Veterans Affairs. General Shinseki was born on Kauai.
There were over 40 numbered exhibits that were part of the audio tour. By clicking on the number on the audio wand, you could choose to listen to the narrative along with some period music and related audio clips. The audio tour is well-done, but it would take some time to listen to each and every one. I probably listened to about a quarter of them; the ones that were of most interest to me. It definitely enhanced the tour.
You can find more information about the Army Museum at their official website.