USS Missouri Memorial Museum

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Though she was still being built in a Brooklyn naval yard when the first shots of the U.S. involvement in World War II were fired at Pearl Harbor, the USS Missouri played an equally important role in the war. Not only was it the last true battleship that the United States built, Missouri was the site of the Japanese surrender to U.S. forces on September 2, 1945 and stands as the bookend to a war which shaped a generation and changed the course of world history.

USS Missouri Memorial History

Officially launched from New York on January 29, 1944, the USS Missouri has a long and illustrious history as a battleship for the U.S. Navy. Serving in the Pacific during World War II as well as stints in the Korean and Gulf Wars, Missouri was able to give the U.S. for almost a half century before its decommissioning in 1992. Through that time, she served in the Tokyo bombing raids as well as the battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa. Decommissioned from 1955-1986, Missouri was re-outfitted for battle in the Gulf War then retired indefinitely in 1992.

The ship weighs an impressive 45,000 tons and is over 200 feet tall.  Her length is 887.2 feet including the forecastle from which the 30,000-pound anchors are dropped. Missouri also sports 16 “inch guns” which are 65 feet long and weigh 116 tons apiece. These massive weapons can successfully shoot a 2,700-pound shell a total of 23 miles in a mere 50 seconds.

For a long time, Missouri’s fate was unknown. Several shipyards vied for the right to use her as a memorial museum including those in Bremerton, Washington and San Francisco. However, the state of Hawaii won out, seeing the addition of the Mighty ‘Mo, as she is affectionately called, as a good way to bookend the tragedy of the USS Arizona memorial which shares the waters and is literally located right next door. Though many at first viewed the addition of Missouri to the waters at Pearl Harbor as a distraction from the Arizona when she arrived in 1998, she has since become and equally popular attraction for island tourists who enjoy the detail present in both the exhibits and tours offered on board.

Today, the USS Missouri memorial museum welcomes over one million visitors a year. Offering three different tour options, it is a major draw for tourists to the Pearl Harbor and can easily be combined with the other attractions in the area including the Arizona along with the submarine USS Bowfin and the Pacific Aviation Museum.

USS Missouri Memorial: The Main Attraction

Like visiting the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center and the USS Arizona, the sheer popularity of the USS Missouri means that during the peak tourist season visitors want to come early and prepared. Security measures in the post-9/11 era prohibit anyone from carrying a bag of any kind, including diaper bags and purses. Therefore, make sure that all items brought can fit into pockets.

There are three tours offered daily at the USS Missouri. The first is the longest and most rewarding for history buffs. It is a total of one hour and takes visitors on a military-style shuttle bus to Ford Island complete with 1940s-era radio programs. At the museum, guests are treated to a documentary film and have the choice between a guided tour and free exploration. Alternately, visitors can opt to take the 35-minutes guided “Mighty Mo Tour” or plug in to audio tours either on rented audio equipment or via a preloaded iPod touch.

Why the USS Missouri Memorial Museum is a Must-See

Closely related to the other military-inspired attractions at Pearl Harbor, a visit to the USS Missouri Memorial Museum is an information-rich journey into military and naval history. Those who enjoy the stories of military members, battleships, and the amazing technology and capabilities of each will love the experiences that the Mighty Mo has to offer and see it as a highlight of any Hawaiian trip.

Where to Buy It

There are a number of ways you can enjoy admission to this attraction.

Save up to 20% online at Smart Destinations. If you add more than one attraction to the cart, you will get an automatic savings of up to 20%. It’s called Make Your Own Pass.

Pay Full Price and purchase a ticket from USS Missouri Memorial Museum either online or in person.

Purchase a Tourist pass. The USS Missouri Memorial Museum is available on the Go Oahu Card and Honolulu Power Pass.