Waikiki Natatorium War Memorial, USA

A living memorial dedicated to the men and women who served during the great war



CyArk scanning the entrance to the Waikiki Natatorium War Memorial by CyArkCyArk

Expedition Overview

In 2015 CyArk partnered with the National Trust for Historic Preservation and teachers from the Mid-Pacific Institute in Oahu to digitally preserve the Waikiki Natatorium War Memorial.  The objective of the project was to not only digitally preserve the historic World War I memorial, but to also train educators from Mid Pacific on new technologies and raise awareness for the threatened site. Over 100 scans were taken around the perimeter of the site as well as all of the interior spaces.

A close up shot of the detail over the entrance of the Waikiki Natatorium War Memorial by CyArkCyArk

Introducing the Waikiki Natatorium

Opened in 1927,The Waikiki Natatorium War Memorial is a public saltwater swimming pool and monument built to commemorate the 10,000 Hawaiians who served in World War I. Hawaii was considered a territory of the United States at the time, but with the wave of World War I memorials that were being built around the world, the Hawaii legislature moved to construct one to honor their own. One of the first “living memorials” built in the United States, it was designed to have a lasting use to the people of Hawaii instead of existing as a static monument.  The memorial was closed in 1979 due to neglect and has since been the subject of debate as propositions have been made to tear down the memorial. The Waikiki Natatorium was listed as an endangered site by the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 1995 and was declared a National Treasure by the National Trust in 2014. Efforts to restore and reopen the Waikiki Natatorium are ongoing to this day.

The pool and bleachers of the Waikiki Natatorium War Memorial by CyArkCyArk

Living Memorial

The swimming pool design of the memorial was chosen because of the way it embodies Hawaii's affinity with water. As the legislature of Hawaii envisioned, it was a monument to celebrate a way of life that had been defended by those who served. Many famous athletes and swimmers made appearances at the pool, including Duke Kahanamoku, Esther Williams, Buster Crabbe, and Johnny Weeissmuller. The pool was also used to teach elementary school children how to swim as part of a mandatory Department of Education's Learn to Swim program. During World War II, the Waikiki Natatorium was taken over by the US Army and used for their own training programs before being refurbished and given back to the City of Honolulu. Before being closed down to the public in 1963, many tourists and local residents had frequented the pool as a popular recreational spot. 

Open Heritage 3D (2019) by CyArkCyArk

Data from this project is now freely available through Open Heritage 3D.

Download the data from this project.

About Open Heritage 3D

The mission of the Open Heritage 3D project is to:

● Provide open access to 3D cultural heritage datasets for education, research and other
non-commercial uses.

● Minimize the technical, financial and legal barriers for publishers of 3D heritage data.

● Promote discovery and re-use of datasets through standardized metadata and data formats.

● Foster community collaboration and knowledge sharing in the 3D cultural heritage community.

● Share best practices and methodologies for the capture, processing and storage of 3D cultural heritage data

Credits: Story

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This project was made possible with the following partners:

City and County of Honolulu

National Trust for Historic Preservation

Mid-Pacific Institute

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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