Midway Atoll Murals Unveiling

Battle of Midway Week:

Midway Atoll Murals Unveiling
Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor


(The Midway Murals illustrate the broad mission sweep of Naval forces in the Pacific (clockwise from top left) with major surface combatants, JFK's Patrol Torpedo Boat, aircraft carriers, CB construction efforts, Marine amphibious operations and the Silent Service).

Battle of Midway Week kicks off with a bang on historic Ford Island at the Pacific Aviation Museum's superb collection of vintage military aircraft. Please join us for a panel discussion and special reception as th Naval Intelligence Professionals support the dedication of the display of the historic Midway Atoll Murals

When: Friday, June 3, 2016 from 3:30 PM – 5:00 PM
Where: Pacific Aviation Museum Hangar 79, Ford Island

This may be a once in a lifetime opportunity to see some artifacts of the Pacific War. In cooperation with the Fish and Wildlife Service’s Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge, the Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor has preserved six historic murals that were removed from the Midway Atoll Movie Theater. In honor of the Battle of Midway, Pacific Aviation Museum opens a temporary display of these artifacts on June 3, 2016.

The six wall-sized original paintings formerly hung in a World War II-era base theater on Midway Atoll at the former airfield and Naval Station.

The murals will be on loan for at least four years for the purpose of both preserving and making them available for the general public to enjoy for the first time in their history.

The 8×12-foot murals depict scenes symbolic of the massive U.S. involvement in World War II that defeated Imperial Japan, and covered the walls in the theater on the island as the war came to an end, and the flood of troops, sailors and airmen began the Magic Carpet return to CONUS from far-flung stations across the Pacific.

They were painted by Victor Nels Solander, 123rd U.S. Naval Construction Battalion, whose Seabee unit was stationed on Midway from June 1, 1944 to Dec. 16, 1945. Solander was awarded a $100 war-bond and his work received many accolades at the time.

Over the years, and as the base was transferred to the Fish and Wildlife service from the Department of the Navy they slowly deteriorated. Extracting the eight by twelve-foot murals from the walls of the theater was a herculean effort on a remote island with few resources. To carefully preserve the original artwork took a year of research and planning with input from Service historians, engineers and the few staff at hand.

“The history of World War II is written not just in words but in images. And that includes artwork that was painted in the far-flung outposts of the war. These need to be preserved for future generations,” said Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor curator Burl Burlingame.

For the past two years, Museum staff has worked to stabilize the murals, repaired pieces and fabricating frames for hanging. The murals are now hung in historic Hangar 79, on Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii taking advantage of huge internal structure capable of supporting these large artifacts.

We invite you to support the Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor as it dedicates the exhibit of these murals as part of the week-long tribute to the Battle of Midway. Start the evening with an Educational Panel featuring RADM White. Afterwards, enjoy light refreshment and guided tours with Fish and Wildlife representatives on hand to share the history of these murals along with the restoration process and display mission.

ENS Matt Thorp of NIOC Hawaii is the point of contact. He can be reached at 477-7606 or by email at: matthew.thorp@navy.mil


(The restored murals hang at historic Hangar 79 above an F-5E and Vietnam-era MIG-21 . Photo: Pacific Aviation Museum).

Copyright 2016 Vic Socotra