Caption: Mike Weidenbach, the Missouri’s curator and head of the collections department, does the ceremonial untying of the maile.
Caption: Mike Weidenbach, the Missouri’s curator and head of the collections department, does the ceremonial untying of the maile.

Pearl Harbor  — On the 66th anniversary of the end of World War II, the Battleship Missouri Memorial held a traditional Hawaiian blessing and opening for its new Research Center, a resource now available to visitors of all ages who wish to delve deeper into the ship’s history while aboard the “Mighty Mo.”

Presided over by Kahu (Hawaiian priest) Hotch Kekoa, the brief maile lei ceremony formally opened the figurative hatches to the center, which is located on the Missouri’s main deck immediately aft of the Ward room lounge in what was the “Administrative Office” or “Captain’s Office” (depending on the period in the ship’s five-decade active-service career).

The Research Center is open from noon to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, or by appointment. It is offered as resource to all visitors of the ship, as well as teachers, students, military personnel, researchers and the memorial’s own staff. Equipped with six visitor workstations, it provides access to archival documents, photo collections, video resources, oral history recordings and transcripts, crew rosters and a variety of other information. To schedule an appointment, call (808) 455-1600 ext. 256.

“The Battleship Missouri Memorial Research Center offers unprecedented access into our collections department library of more than 600 books and archival material, along with personal, hands-on support from staff and volunteers,” said Mike Weidenbach, the Missouri’s curator and head of the collections department. “The research center is a valuable resource, in a remarkable setting aboard the Missouri, to assist our guests in the exploration of the ship’s history and legacy, even beyond our already content-rich visitor tours.”

For the WWII surrender 66th anniversary, the research center showcased materials specific to Imperial Japan’s formal surrender on Sept. 2, 1945, about the USS Missouri, including surrender ceremony photographs, oral history transcripts and filmed documentation.

The Battleship Missouri Memorial is open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Shuttle buses provide roundtrip transportation from the new Pearl Harbor Visitor Center during operating hours. Standard admission, which includes choice of a guided tour, is $20 per adult and $10 per child 4-12. For more information or to reserve a tour, call 973-2494 on Oahu, toll-free at 1-877-MIGHTYMO (1-877-644-4896) or visit www.ussmissouri.org.

The Battleship Missouri Memorial, located a mere ship’s length from the USS Arizona Memorial, completes a historical visitor experience that begins with the “day of infamy” that saw the sinking of USS Arizona in Pearl Harbor and ends with Imperial Japan’s unconditional surrender aboard USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay. Following an astounding career that spans five decades and three wars, from World War II to the Korean conflict to the Liberation of Kuwait, the “Mighty Mo” was decommissioned and donated to the USS Missouri Memorial Association, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, which operates the battleship as a historic attraction and memorial. The association oversees her care and preservation with the support of visitors, memberships, grants and the generosity of donors.

Submitted by Keith DeMello

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