Your next stop is another locally unique attraction, the Hilo-exclusive Pacific Tsunami Museum. This museum is dedicated to the history of the April 1st, 1946, and the May 23rd, 1960, tsunamis which devastated much of the east coast of the Big Island, especially here in Hilo. The museum had its beginnings from 1988 to 1997, when Dr. Dudley, a tsunami info book author and expert, and local storm victim Mrs. Johnston came together to form this museum with the goal that "through education and awareness… no one should die due to tsunami." With this goal in mind most of the galleries inside explore the detailed impact of the two aforementioned historic regional tsunamis, with ample interactive education opportunities throughout.
Inside this museum (as well as on their website) locals and tourists alike can study their own tsunami evacuation zone map and instructions, put together carefully by both the NOAA and State of Hawaii Civil Defense Department. Groups of over 15 people total may participate in group tours, one hour long events beginning with a 30-45 minute presentation on the science of tsunamis, Hilo city history, and personal survivor accounts. Otherwise your group may explore the museum on their own, seeing such exhibits as Model of Hilo pre 1946, 1946 Tsunami, Laupahoehoe Quilt and Mural, Tsunamis in the 1950s and 1960s, Energy of Moving Water, Science of Tsunamis, and so much more. Before you go make sure you stop by the Tsunami Store, full of books, DVDs, toys, and apparel all about tsunamis, as well as local jewelry, wind chimes, mugs, and paperweights.