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Hawaii's cultural milieu is the result of overlay after overlay of varied cultural groups. The force of the original culture remains evident in the islands, although the Hawaiian race has become diminished and diluted over the years through death and intermarriage.
Vestiges of New England culture remain, as do the cultures of the early Asian immigrants. With the advent of fifth-, sixth-, and seventh-generation descendants of Asian and Caucasian immigrants and the massive influx of Americans from all parts of the country, the cultural overlays have melded to form a uniquely Hawaiian culture.
Interest in the arts is high, and many distinguished artists, photographers, and performers have been native residents. Appreciation of classical, modern, and experimental art forms is manifest in attendance figures at galleries, concerts, legitimate theatre performances, and museums. Many ethnic groups preserve the traditions of their ancestors or combine or modify music and dance forms.
An assortment of cultural and scientific institutions in Hawaii provides a wide variety of opportunity for the appreciation and understanding of the fine arts, history, traditions, and sciences. The Bernice P. Bishop Museum, founded in 1889 in Honolulu, is a research centre and museum dedicated to the study, preservation, and display of the history, sciences, and cultures of the Pacific and its people.
The Honolulu Academy of Arts, often called the most beautiful museum in the world, houses a splendid collection of Western art, including works by the late 19th- and early 20th-century masters Monet, van Gogh, Matisse, Gauguin, and Picasso. Its collection of Asian art is also one of the finest in the Western world.
The active art, music, and drama departments in Hawaiian schools and colleges and at the University of Hawaii contribute to the expanding cultural life of Hawaii, while the state has several theatre organizations, professional and amateur. The Honolulu Symphony Orchestra performs concerts in Honolulu and on the other major islands. Its home is the Neal Blaisdell Center, a municipal theatre-concert-hall-arena complex, where touring opera companies and ballet troupes and musical artists of international renown also perform. Honolulu's Chamber Music Society gives a concert series each year.
Hawaii has two national parks - Hawaii Volcanoes, on the island of Hawaii, and Haleakala, on Maui, as well as the much-visited U.S.S. Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor. There are also many state and county parks, including the Waimea Canyon State Park on Kauai.
Surfing originated in ancient Hawaii and is now practiced at some 1,600 recognized surf spots throughout the islands. There are also some 25 miles of beaches accessible to the public.
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