Ukulele exhibit opens at Polynesian Cultural Center

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A new Polynesian Cultural Center exhibit discusses the ukulele's colorful history.
A new Polynesian Cultural Center exhibit discusses the ukulele's colorful history.
The Polynesian Cultural Center, a highly popular visitor attraction on Oahu’s North Shore, opened a new Ukulele Experience late last month.


The renovated, 2,400-square-foot space, which is now shaped like a ukulele and located in the Hukilau Marketplace, is intended to showcase the instrument’s rich heritage in Hawaii.

Featuring tours that educate visitors about how ukulele are made, the exhibition also houses a wide variety of historical photos, mementos, and a display collection of diverse ukulele examples.

“We have designed the Ukulele Experience to appeal to all ages, residents and visitors alike,” Alfred Grace, the president and CEO of the Polynesian Cultural Center, said in a statement. “All you need is an appreciation for music and a love for Hawaii.”

Special attention is paid to ukulele craftsmanship in the new exhibition, where visitors can take advantage of guided or digital interactive tours to learn more about how artisans turn a piece of native koa wood into a musical instrument, offering specifics about milling, finishing and assembly.

The new Ukulele Experience also features a Keiki Studio, intended specifically for young children to learn about the instrument, that offers complimentary lessons from staff members about basic technique.

The Keiki Studio teaches children basic ukulele skills.
The Keiki Studio teaches children basic ukulele skills.

“Our hope is that the Keiki Studio will inspire more young people to embrace music and adopt the ukulele as their instrument of choice,” Grace said.

Visitors looking to purchase a ukulele for their trip home are also in luck as instruments are available from well-known Hawaii brands such as Kanilea Ukulele, Kamaka Hawaii Inc., Islander by Kanilea Ukulele and Kala Brand Music Co.

The new Ukulele Experience is open from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays.

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