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Pacific Tsunami Museum Features New Science Room Tsunami Simulator

April 18, 2016, 11:34 AM HST (Updated April 18, 2016, 11:51 AM)
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County and state officials gathered alongside the Hawai’i Emergency Management Agency at the Pacific Tsunami Museum on Saturday in celebration of the museum’s new Science Room exhibit.

The exhibit features an interactive Tsunami Warning Center Simulation that provides a simulated response to world-wide tsunamis.

Kahu Leolani Hao led the Saturday morning blessing of the new room, which included a traditional maile lei untying.

The morning was followed by proclamations from both the county and state level.

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Hawai’i County Civil Defense Administrator Darryl Oliveira presented a proclamation on behalf of Mayor Billy Kenoi, while HI-EMA Administrator Vern Miyagi read a message and proclamation on behalf of Governor David Ige.

Marlena Dixon, Senator Brian Schatz’s local representative, also read an excerpt congratulating the museum and emphasizing tsunami safety. The message will be entered into the Congressional Record.

Millie Uchima, a docent at the museum for 22 years, participated in the maile lei untying. Uchima is a survivor of the tsunami that struck Hawai’i on April 1, 1946.

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She was a high school student when the magnitude 8.1 earthquake in the Aleutian Islands generated a series of deadly tsunami waves that caused more than $26 million in damage across the state and took 159 lives.

“We want to thank Marlene and her team at the Pacific Tsunami Museum for their commitment and efforts to remind us of Hawaii’s tragic history with tsunamis and to remember the lives taken in their wake,” said Miyagi. “The museum has come such a long way since it opened in 1994 and serves as a constant reminder to us that there is nothing more valuable than human life. Take the steps now to prepare yourself and your families and have a plan to get to safety because it’s not a matter of if, but when the next tsunami will hit our state.”

The simulator provides museum visitors with the ability to use a global map and generate an earthquake. From there, the “player” is faced with several questions that give them a taste of the various factors considered by the real PTWC before making critical decisions.

More than a year and a half of effort went into the Science Room, which provides an experience that aims to make aware the importance of tsunami awareness.

“My staff, board of directors, and I are so humbled by all of the gracious support we’ve received from our partners in government and within the community,” said Marlene Murray, Executive Director of the Pacific Tsunami Museum. “This whole project was truly a team effort and we are proud to offer our visitors an interactive experience that drives home the importance of tsunami safety and preparedness.”

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    Millie Uchima (left) and Marlene Murray (right), Executive Director for the Pacific Tsunami Museum untie a maile lei during a traditional blessing ceremony to unveil the brand new Science Room. Courtesy photo.

    Millie Uchima (left) and Marlene Murray (right), Executive Director for the Pacific Tsunami Museum untie a maile lei during a traditional blessing ceremony to unveil the brand new Science Room. Courtesy photo.

    Proclamation and special message presentation (from left to right) - Chief Darryl Oliveira, Administrator of the Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency; Marlene Murray, Executive Director for the Pacific Tsunami Museum; Marlena Dixon, a local representative of U.S. Senator Brian Schatz; and Vern Miyagi, Administrator of Emergency Management. Courtesy photo.

    Proclamation and special message presentation (from left to right) – Chief Darryl Oliveira, Administrator of the Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency; Marlene Murray, Executive Director for the Pacific Tsunami Museum; Marlena Dixon, a local representative of U.S. Senator Brian Schatz; and Vern Miyagi, Administrator of Emergency Management. Courtesy photo.

    Visitors today to the Pacific Tsunami Museum could experience the newly renovated Science Room, which includes a new Tsunami Warning Center Simulation. Courtesy photo.

    Visitors today to the Pacific Tsunami Museum could experience the newly renovated Science Room, which includes a new Tsunami Warning Center Simulation. Courtesy photo.

    An open house, free and open to the public, featured scientists and emergency management professionals from across the state, who made themselves available for special presentations and to answer questions from the public. Courtesy photo.

    An open house, free and open to the public, featured scientists and emergency management professionals from across the state, who made themselves available for special presentations and to answer questions from the public. Courtesy photo.

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