Nestled in the quiet plantation town of Puunene, Maui, the Alexander & Baldwin Sugar Museum is one of the most popular attractions on the island. It’s located next to Hawaii’s largest working sugar factory and features a variety of exhibits and displays. Visitors will find photographs, documents, and other fascinating artifacts that preserve the heritage and history of Maui’s sugar industry. Read on to find out what makes the Sugar Museum on Maui so special.
There are a number of tropical gardens on Maui for guests to explore. Find out what other island treasures await when you download our free Vacation Guide! It’s full of recommendations for things to do and see during your stay at The Old Wailuku Inn at Ulupono.
How to Spend a Day at the Sugar Museum on Maui
Learn the History
Polynesian settlers introduced sugar cane to Hawaii more than a thousand years ago. The first successful sugar plantation was established in 1835, and over 30 were built on Maui soon after. Sugar’s heyday in Hawaii lasted until the 1960’s when tourism became the state’s number one industry. It was also Hawaii’s leading agricultural crop until its value fell below that of pineapples. This marked the end of a major era.
If you’re lucky enough to have a window seat on your flight into Kahului Airport, you’ll have a spectacular bird’s eye view of Maui’s remaining sugar cane. This giant green plant stretches over 36,000 acres and gives the island its lush, vibrant look. Make sure you have your camera ready!
Enjoy the Exhibits
Once you arrive at the Alexander & Baldwin Sugar Museum, you’ll find six exhibit rooms that are just waiting to be explored. Feel free to wander through the Mill Room where you’ll see several interactive displays including a 1915 locomotive bell, a sugar mill, and an impressive working model of cane-crushing machinery. Or, make your way to the Plantation Room and discover the rich culture of plantation communities and plantation life. For a full list of exhibits, head to the museum’s website.
The Maui Sugar Museum also offers outdoor displays. Visitors can enjoy a close-up look at some of the equipment used by sugar plantation workers like a Cleveland Model J36 trench digger, an outdoor Portuguese oven built in the 1920s, and vintage Caterpillar tractors.
Admire the Claus Spreckels
Many visitors are surprised to learn that the Sugar Museum’s most prized artifact isn’t located on the museum grounds. The Claus Spreckels is a historic steam locomotive that served the Kahului Railroad from 1882 to 1929. This train hauled sugar, cargo, and passengers for 47 years. Today, guests can view the restored locomotive and historic coach car at the Maui Tropical Plantation, about a 10-minute drive from the museum.
Come Home to The Old Wailuku Inn at Ulupono
If you’re searching for lodging near the Sugar Museum on Maui, look no further than The Old Wailuku Inn at Ulupono. Our bed and breakfast is an easy drive from the museum and offers comfortable guest rooms, gorgeous grounds, and a delicious, complimentary breakfast each morning. We’re also close to a number of popular attractions including the Maui Ocean Center and the Bailey House Museum. With so much to do and see, we promise your vacation will be one for the books! We can’t wait to hear about what you discover on Maui.
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