As part of Blue Star Museums, which turns 10 this year, the Honolulu Museum of Art is offering active-duty military personnel and their families free admission as well as 10 percent off purchases in the Museum Shop until September 2. In honor of the the program’s milestone anniversary, we are sharing stories from some of the many veterans working at HoMA.

If you have ever attended ARTafterDARK, an exhibition opening or special event at the museum, you most likely saw Shuzo Uemoto and his camera. Uemoto has served as HoMA’s staff photographer, documenting artwork, events and people at the museum since 1996. He also served in the Army from 1968 to 1970.

Shuzo Uemoto in 1968, age 21

Shuzo Uemoto in 1968, age 21

“I was drafted during the Tet Offensive,” says Uemoto, who was assigned to the Army’s European campaign, and spent his downtime exploring galleries and museums abroad. “I had a great time!” he says. After the Army, Uemoto used the GI Bill to complete his studies in photography at the University of Hawai‘i and continue working in the arts at HoMA.

So what has kept Uemoto at the museum for 23 years? “It’s the people. I think about retiring but for me it’s a social thing—I love working with artists and people who are interested in arts. That’s why we work here.”

Keep an eye out for Shuzo at ARTafterDARK: Murder Mystery this week and if you see any of HoMA’s veterans on staff next time you visit, please remember to thank them for their service!

Read our other veteran profile:
Budd Lauer