One of the best things in Hawai‘i is the Bishop Museum. It’s a truly local museum which does a great job at explaining the history and culture of Polynesia and Hawai‘i. It’s also done a great job at both preserving much of the feather-based regalia from the original hawaiians. It’s nice to see that so much has both survived and survived in-place. Too often, things like these either end up destroyed or plundered.
There’s a distinctly insider feel to the core collection at the Bishop in the Polynesian and Hawaiian halls* where you get the sense that you’re seeing things you can’t see elsewhere. The curation is also very much in a “these are our artifacts” manner which I doubt you’d get with the same objects in a different museum.
*The last two times I’ve gone, one of the halls has been under restoration. Thankfully, it’s been a different hall each time.
The rest of the museum feels like a general science museum. Though there are still some nice local touches. The planetarium is worth seeing since it’s both a completely different latitude than typical mainland planetaria and draws from a different source of legends for the constellations. Similarly, Hawai‘i may be one of the best places to learn about volcanos.
But for a tourist, it’s all about the Hawaiian Hall and Polynesian Hall.