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Hilo's Pacific Tsunami Museum to Reopen After Renovations

A team member from NPO Japan Rescue Dog Association and his dog search for victims in Rikuzentakata, Miyagi prefecture in the aftermath of the March 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster.
A team member from NPO Japan Rescue Dog Association and his dog search for victims in Rikuzentakata, Miyagi prefecture in the aftermath of the March 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster.

HILO, Hawaii — The Pacific Tsunami Museum plans to reopen from a coronavirus pandemic-triggered shutdown by the end of the summer after finishing substantial renovations.

The downtown Hilo museum is working on relocating and renovating its Japan exhibit, which focuses on the 2011 tsunami, the Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported. The new displays will also cover Japanese tsunami history.

Its Big Island tsunamis exhibit will be updated with new interviews from survivors and more photos from the most recent tsunami that hit the island in 1975.

“I always felt the local tsunamis exhibit is one of our most important exhibits because it is informative for people living here,” said Marlene Murray, the museum's director.

The museum is adding a new natural hazards exhibit. The new area will step away from tsunamis and highlight hurricanes, flooding, earthquakes and volcanic activity, which can all affect Hawaii Island.

The museum received financial help during the pandemic from federal Paycheck Protection Program loans and stimulus funds. It has also applied for a shuttered venue grant.

“Luckily, we’ve had some wonderful people out there that have been renewing their memberships and sending donations specifically to keep supporting us,” Murray said.

She said she's excited for people to see the changes after the museum reopens.

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