Pearl Harbor museum control tower renovation elevates visitor experience

The Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum celebrated Memorial Day with the grand reopening of the Ford Island Control Tower building, after a decade-long, $7-million renovation project. Photo courtesy Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum

The Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum celebrated Memorial Day with the grand reopening of the Ford Island Control Tower building, after a decade-long, $7-million renovation project.

Beginning in 2012, the control tower received a number of renovations and facelifts, including restoring historic windows and walls; replacing 48 t (53 ton) of steel to stabilize the structure; and updating ceiling, flooring, electrical conduits, lighting, restrooms, and office space.

The latest stage, the refurbishment of the elevator, was completed and updated as needed to both preserve the historic elements of the 1940s era equipment and ensure safe operations, while providing access from the ground floor to the upper control cab. The elevator will allow visitors to ascend 15 stories to the upper cab exhibit and observation deck.

A new guided tour, the Top of the Tower Tour, will include access to the historic Operations Building, the Firehouse Exhibit, and an elevator ride to the upper cab of the control tower—with 360-degree views of the Pearl Harbor aviation battlefield from 51 m (168 ft) high. Historic videos and pictures in the upper cab show the impact and aftermath of the attack, to give a new understanding of the “day which will live in infamy.”

A final step in the project, restoration of the remaining exterior windows, is set for later this year.

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