In 1925, the Japanese South Seas Government began construction of a modern hospital in Garapan Village. It was built at the site of the former German hospital that had been established in 1911. When the new hospital opened its doors in 1926, it was among the best medical facilities in the Western Pacific. It was staffed by a doctor and a team of Japanese and local nurses and technicians and offered a full range of modern medical services. It continued serving the public until the island was captured by American forces in June 1944. After the war, the hospital, which had escaped major damage during the battle for Saipan, was abandoned and later became a popular tourist attraction. In 1996, work commenced to renovate the hospital to serve as the NMI Museum of History and Culture. The Museum, which opened in 1998, offers its patrons informative exhibits that cover more than 3,000 years of local history. The Museum is a “must see” for anyone interested in the history and cultures of the Northern Mariana Islands.