Press Releases

The Battleship Missouri Memorial Unveils Its Newest Exhibit "Life After Infamy: The Resilience of the Aloha Spirit in Wartime Hawaii"

Pearl Harbor, HI – (June 26, 2024) The Battleship Missouri Memorial held an unveiling and blessing for the opening of a new exhibit – “Life After Infamy: The Resilience of the Aloha Spirit in Wartime Hawai‘i.” The exhibit shares Dorinda Nicholson’s story, what it was like growing up in wartime Hawai‘i and witnessing the attack on Pearl Harbor during World War II from her Pearl City Peninsula home at 6-years-old. Nicholson is also the inspiration behind the American Girl® doll Nanea™. 

The displays feature personal artifacts loaned by Nicholson, including the child’s gas mask that she carried during the war, WWII-era Red Cross items loaned by the American Red Cross – Hawaii Chapter, and the Nanea™ doll that was inspired by Nicholson’s story. 

“Our relationship with Aunty Dorinda goes back many years ago, which makes this exhibit opening so much more special. We are honored to showcase her story and the significance of the aloha spirit then and now,” said Mike Carr, President and CEO of the Battleship Missouri Memorial. 

On December 7, 1941, more than 2,000 people were killed during the surprise attack by Imperial Japan on Pearl Harbor Naval Base. 

Following the attack, General Walter Short placed the Territory of Hawai‘i under Martial Law, which remained in effect until almost the end of the war. Under Martial Law, the U.S. military controlled daily life in Hawai‘i, including the strict regulation of working hours and wages, rationing of food and goods, and setting strict curfews and nighttime blackouts, which took away the basic rights of the people of Hawai‘i. 

Despite the adversity, the kama‘āina of Hawai‘i strived to not only support each other, but also the war effort. Organizations like the American Red Cross provided humanitarian programs to care for the displaced and wounded, gathered vital medical resources, and provided readiness training. Through resourcefulness, and with a strong sense of patriotism, the islands supported thousands of U.S. military personnel passing to and from the Pacific Theater battlefronts. For Nicholson and her family, hula became an important activity to not only entertain the troops but also distract themselves from the stresses surrounding them. 

“We will all have our personal wars, but hula is forever and not just at war time. It is always there at our command,” said Dorinda Nicholson, Pearl Harbor Child Witness. “Hula is healing, and it allows you to go into yourself and to bring spirit and to connect with your higher being.” 

The blessing opened with a hula performance by Puamohala Kaholokula, remarks by Nicholson, and a blessing by Kahu Kordell Kekoa. Following the official exhibit opening, guests enjoyed story time with Aunty Dorinda, keiki coloring activities, lei making, and more. 

“It is an honor to provide the USS Missouri with Red Cross items that add to the greater story of local life after the attack on Pearl Harbor,” says Julie Greenly, Service to the Armed Forces Director, American Red Cross, Pacific Islands Region. “We’re grateful to Frank, Molly, and the USS Missouri staff for welcoming the Red Cross to participate and to Dorinda for her advocacy of the Red Cross to amplify her incredible story.” 

To commemorate this special event, kama‘āina and military keiki received free admission with purchase of an adult admission. The exhibit will be on display in the ship’s Second Deck now through June 2025.

Battleship Missouri MemorialSince opening in January 1999, the Battleship Missouri Memorial has attracted more than 10-million visitors from around the world with a fascinating tour experience showcasing the USS Missouri’s unique place in history. Located a mere ship’s length from the USS Arizona Memorial, the Mighty Mo completes a historical visitor experience that begins with the “day of infamy” and sinking of the USS Arizona in Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, and ends with Japan’s formal surrender aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay on September 2, 1945.

The USS Missouri had an astounding career over five decades and three wars – World War II, the Korean War, and Desert Storm – after which it was decommissioned and donated to the USS Missouri Memorial Association, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. The Association operates the Battleship Missouri Memorial as a historic attraction and oversees her care and preservation with the support of visitors, memberships, grants, and donations.

The Battleship Missouri Memorial is open daily from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Military, kama‘āina (local resident) and school group pricing is available. For information or reservations, call (808) 455-1600 or visit credit images to the Battleship Missouri MemorialLink to Images:

Caption: The Battleship Missouri Memorial's newest exhibit “Life After Infamy: The Resilience of the Aloha Spirit in Wartime Hawai‘i.

Caption: Kahu Kordell Kekoa conducted the blessing with Dorinda Nicholson along with the Battleship Missouri Memorial team.

Caption: Puamohala Kaholokula opened the blessing ceremony with a beautiful hula.

Caption: Dorinda Nicholson, Pearl Harbor Child Witness, shares personal stories and firsthand experiences the day Pearl Harbor was attacked.

Caption: Keiki attending the exhibit grand opening brought their American Girl® doll Nanea™ to take a picture with Dorinda Nicholson.

Caption: Keiki activities provided by the Battleship Missouri Memorial Education team. ###Media Contact:Shere’e Quitevis (808) 741-1668
Jaclyn Hawse(808) 455-1600