Honolulu’s Contemporary Museum is the only museum in Hawaii solely devoted to the art of the 20th and 21st Centuries. Its collection contains numerous works in a variety of media from 1940 to the present, with many important contemporary artists represented. The permanent collection contains over 3000 works, one third of them by Hawaiian artists, with particular strengths in ceramics, vessels of various materials, photography, and prints of varied media. The five-acre museum grounds also include gardens of contemporary sculpture, called ‘Nu’umealani’ (Heavenly Terraces,) designed in a meditative Japanese style by the Reverend K.H. Inagaki.
The Cooke-Spalding House was owned and inhabited by Anne Rice Cooke from 1925, as her former dwelling was demolished for the construction of the (then new) Honolulu Academy of the Arts. It was used by the HAA as an annex during the 1970s, and changed hands a few times before being offered in 1986 as the site for the Contemporary Museum. The Museum has expanded since opening in 1988, but cannot contain all of the works in its permanent collection. To allow more of the collection (particularly the work of local artists) into public view, a second location was opened in 1996 at the First Hawaiian Center in downtown Honolulu (999 Bishop Street).
The Contemporary Museum Information
- Public Transportation: Fair (city bus #15 to Makiki Heights Drive)
- Handicapped Accessiblity: Good
- Tuesday-Saturday, 10 am-4 pm; Sunday, noon-4 pm; Closed Monday and major holidays (New Year’s Day, Easter Sunday, Independence Day, thanksgiving Day & Christmas Day)
- At First Hawaiian Center: Monday-Thursday, 8:30 am-4 pm; Friday, 8:30 am-6 pm; closed weekends and banking holidays.
- Admission: One-day membership pass allows admission for one day and may be applied to the cost of a full annual membership. Adults, $8; Seniors/Students, $6; Members/Military/Children under 12, free. Free admission at First Hawaiian Center location.
- Free Day: Third Thursday of each month.
- Tours: Docent guided tours offered at 1:30 pm each day.
- Membership: Individual membership is $45 ($20 students, $25 non-Hawaii residents, $75 dual membership). Benefits include unlimited free admission for member and accompanying guest, free or discounted access to Museum events, subscriptions to Museum publications, discounts at Museum Shop and Café, and validated parking.