comscore Guided tour to the new Pearl Harbor Visitor Center
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Guided tour to the new Pearl Harbor Visitor Center

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The Pearl Harbor Visitor Center features many new displays telling the story of the Dec. 7, 1941, attack.


A bell from the USS Arizona, inscribed with the ship’s commissioning date of 1916, hangs in the courtyard. The bell was recovered from the ship after the attack, and it bears a red patina from the fireball that engulfed the ship. A second bell recovered from the ship resides at the University of Arizona in Tucson.



To attack warships shielded by vessels moored alongside, the Japanese developed a special bomb converted from a 16-inch armor-piercing naval artillery projectile. In tests the 1,764-pound bomb, center, penetrated eight inches of armor plate. Such a bomb struck the USS Arizona. The Japanese also used a 551-pound aerial bomb, left and right.



A 9-foot model of the carrier Akagi represents the ship on the morning of Dec. 7, 1941, with 36 aircraft ready for takeoff as part of the first wave of attack. The 855-foot Akagi was one of Japan’s two largest aircraft carriers and the pride of the Japanese navy. The Akagi carried 72 aircraft. Its downward-curving smokestack funneled heat and smoke away from the flight deck.



Pharmacist Mate 1st Class Robert J. Peth wore this uniform on Dec. 7, 1941. Peth was working in the Navy dispensary on Ford Island when a bomb exploded in the courtyard. Blood covers the white uniform, including hand prints where Peth wiped his hands on the back of his pants.



The Great Depression left 1 in 4 Americans unemployed. Japan came to embrace a vision of expelling Western imperial powers from East Asia. A 12-foot-tall semitransparent depiction of U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt is backed by an equally imposing image of Emperor Hirohito on a white horse. Exhibits in the gallery provide a glimpse into the life and times of both nations on a collision course to war.



Chaplain Thomas Kirkpatrick’s desk clock stopped at about the time the USS Arizona exploded. Kirkpatrick died aboard the ship. The clock was recovered in 1942 from his stateroom.



The Arizona, Japanese aircraft carrier Akagi, an anti-aircraft gun and other museum items have been cast in scale-model bronze so the visually impaired can get a tactile understanding of the history of the Dec. 7, 1941, attack.



A 1.1-inch anti-aircraft gun salvaged from the USS Utah, weighing about 750 pounds, has been mated to a photo of gunnery practice. Mid-range guns such as these were part of the arsenal that fired back as soon as the attack began. The gun could fire 150 rounds per minute. The Utah, then a gunnery and training target ship, went down so quickly that no one could have used this gun.



A one-third scale model of a Japanese Nakajima Type 97 B5N2 "Kate" torpedo bomber — 18 feet from wingtip to wingtip — hangs from the ceiling and bears down on Battleship Row, depicted in a 25-foot-long mural by naval artist Tom Freeman.



The tactical story of the attack on Oahu is shown in an 11-minute film titled "Battlefield Oahu" on three 65-inch screens donated by Sony that are linked and sometimes show a single image and other times have separate images. The film uses animation and historic photos and film to detail the attack.



Many Americans viewed Japanese as inferior. Hatred and racial overtones were common, as shown in this pin and others on display. The Japanese resented Western prejudice, but displayed its own toward Chinese and other Asians.



In the 1940s the neon "Crossroads of the Pacific" sign at the Kau Kau Korner drive-in restaurant pointed the way to cities around the globe and was a favorite photo stop for GIs. The old sign at the corner of Kalakaua Avenue and Kapiolani Boulevard has been replicated with some Hawaii military installations added in.



Contractors dredging Pearl Harbor just east of Battleship Row pulled up a surprise in 1991: a live Japanese torpedo. The 18-foot-long torpedo, which came up in the bucket of a dredging crane, had been dropped by Akagi Airman 1st Class Tomoe Yasue. Navy explosives experts transported it to sea and blew it up. Nearly half of the torpedo (about nine feet) survived and was recovered. To keep torpedoes from plunging too deep in 45-foot-deep Pearl Harbor, breakaway wooden fin extensions were added.



A 9-foot section of the Arizona’s superstructure, revealing waterline oil congregation and heat tempering from the flames, was recovered from Waipio Peninsula, where remnants of the battleship removed to accommodate the memorial were placed. The quarter-inch steel, backed by I-beams, was taken from the superstructure somewhere near the galley.



Five Japanese Type A midget submarines were planned to be used in the Pearl Harbor raid. A nonfunctioning gyrocompass prevented Ha-19 from entering Pearl Harbor. The sub eventually went aground in Waimanalo. The submarine and her pilot, Ensign Kazuo Sakamaki, were captured on Dec. 8. Sakamaki was the first Japanese prisoner of war taken by the United States during the Pacific war.


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