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Bishop Museum increases visitor numbers with special exhibits

bishop dinosaur.jpg
Brandon Miyaji
Bishop Museum
Expedition Dinosaur: Rise of the Mammals educates visitors on Cretaceous era dinosaurs and how they lived until their extinction. The exhibit is available until January 23, 2022.

The Bishop Museum is back to pre-pandemic visitor numbers — a speedy recovery after experiencing two complete shutdowns and losing roughly 100,000 visitors in 2020.

The museum saw approximately 145,000, 46,000, and 155,000 visitors from 2019 through 2021, respectively.

Vice President of Public Programs Brandon Bunag said special exhibits such as POW! WOW! Hawaiʻi’s contemporary art display and "Expedition Dinosaur: Rise of the Mammals" played a large part in the museum’s success.

"I have to go back and credit our community that supports us because we know tourism has been a hit or miss in 2021 with various restrictions on travel locally, nationally, and internationally," Bunag told HPR.

While temporary exhibits largely attract local visitors, tourists gravitate towards the permanent Hawaiian Hall with information on Polynesian history.

To maintain a continuous flow of local visitors, Bishop Museum is putting more effort into temporary exhibits such as an upcoming exhibit on Hawaiian healing arts, or the showcase on Samoan tattoos available until July.

Weather also plays a factor in Bishop Museum's visitor numbers.

The combination of rain and winter break brought in over 1,000 visitors a day during the week of Dec. 26. In an average week, the museum will have about 200 visitors on a weekday and 500 on weekends.

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