The Bowfin had record attendance in 2017 with 420,000 paid admissions, up from the 390,000 visitors recorded in 2016, Merkel said. It had just over 400,000 visitors last year, “so slightly down but still our second-best year,” he said. (Photo Credit: Pearl Harbor Historic Sites)
Officials broke ground on a $20 million revitalization and expansion project for the Pearl Harbor campus of the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum and Park.
The project, which is expected to be complete in April 2020, will add new exhibits and about 3,000 sq. ft. of space, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported.
The facility will be named the Pacific Fleet Submarine Museum. The updated museum will include three exhibits covering submarine warfare in World War II and the Cold War, as well as its use in present day and into the future.
Portions of the campus will be closed during construction, but its centerpiece World War II submarine will remain open.
The USS Bowfin launched on Dec. 7, 1942, receiving the nickname the "Pearl Harbor Avenger." The submarine went on nine war patrols, claiming 44 vessels sunk between 1943 and 1945.
The groundbreaking "is a significant milestone as we take a major step toward achieving our vision of revitalizing our campus to better honor the past and inspire the future," said Chuck Merkel, the museum's executive director.
The Bowfin had record attendance in 2017 with 420,000 paid admissions, up from the 390,000 visitors recorded in 2016, Merkel said. It had just over 400,000 visitors last year, "so slightly down but still our second-best year," he said.
The campus is next to the USS Arizona Memorial visitors' center operated by the National Park Service.
The submarine museum and other nonprofit organizations that operate historic sites at Pearl Harbor are providing financial support to keep the center open during the U.S. government shutdown.