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Saturday, December 20, 2014         

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Visitor center has more room and a better view

By William Cole

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The old Arizona Memorial Visitor Center, dedicated in 1980, was built on 11 acres and was confined to a relatively small footprint. The new facility, renamed the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center, sprawls over 17.4 acres, providing room for quiet contemplation and a Pearl Harbor vista like never before. The new campus-like design also features an undulating roof design intended to improve air flow. Back lawn space fronting the waterfront has jumped fourfold.

 

THE ROAD TO WAR

Visitors will begin their journey with artifacts, historic newsreel footage, exhibits and photos depicting the time before the start of hostilities between the United States and Japan. "State of Mind America" and "State of Mind Japan" provide a deeper understanding of the two countries' worldviews prior to their collision on Dec. 7, 1941. Models of the U.S. battleship Arizona and Japanese aircraft carrier Akagi represent the shift in naval firepower from big guns to ship-based aircraft.

 

ATTACK AND AFTERMATH

Entering the gallery, visitors pass beneath a one-third scale Japanese Nakajima Type 97 B5N2 "Kate" torpedo bomber mated with a 25-foot mural of Battleship Row under attack. An 11-minute film titled "Battlefield Oahu" merges historic photos, film and animation to show attack tactics on three 65-inch screens in a surround-sound mini theater. Armament from both countries — including a Japanese torpedo recovered in Pearl Harbor — is featured in the gallery.

 

ON THE GROUNDS

A new favorite spot for photos is on the waterfront next to one of the 19,585-pound anchors from the USS Arizona with the memorial and Battleship Missouri in the background. There is more seating. There are more bathrooms. Centralized ticketing for the four memorials and museums in Pearl Harbor — the Arizona Memorial, USS Bowfin Submarine Museum and Park, Battleship Missouri and Pacific Aviation Museum — has made planning a day a one-stop shop.

350
Approximate number of Japanese aircraft that attacked Oahu.

2,390
Men, women and children killed in the attack. Half of these people died aboard the Arizona when the ship exploded, taking 1,177 lives.

9
Number of Japanese torpedoes that slammed into the battleship Oklahoma, capsizing it and killing 429 men. Many were trapped in an upside down world of water and oil, terror and confusion.

1.5 million
Approximate number of visitors annually to the Arizona Memorial, the state's No.1 attraction.

259
Number of 16.5-inch thick prestressed octagonal concrete piles driven deep into the ground to support the new visitor center. The ground is fill material previously added to expand Halawa basin, and the old visitor center settled more than 30 inches.

500,000
Gallons of bunker fuel oil still believed to be contained deep within the sunken battleship Arizona. One to four liters seep out daily. The drops of oil are sometimes called the "tears of the Arizona."

2.5 million
Expected number of people who will pass through the new visitor center entrance annually headed to one of four museums and memorials in Pearl Harbor.






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