Fredericksburg, TX 78624
National Museum of the Pacific War
The National Museum of the Pacific War honors the millions of Americans who met and defeated the greatest threat to freedom and democracy of the 20th Century. It is the most comprehensive and engaging Museum dedicated to the Pacific War ever created. Spread across more than 6 acres, the complex has more than 50,000 square feet of indoor exhibit space including modern, interactive exhibits, state-of-the-art media, and an extraordinary array of unique artifacts in addition to the outdoor exhibits that also line the campus.
The Museum is located in Fredericksburg, TX, because it is the hometown of Chester Nimitz. Nimitz left the Texas Hill Country for the US Naval Academy in 1901, and later rose to become the Commander-in-Chief of the Pacific during World War II. The complex is comprised of seven main components explained below.
I. George H.W. Bush Gallery
Among the artifacts in the Bush Gallery, which is 33,000 sq ft.:
• HA-19, one of five Japanese two-man submarines that took part in the December
7, 1941 attack at Pearl Harbor (along with six aircraft carriers and more than 350 attack aircraft).
• A B-25 plane from the Doolittle Raid
• Fat Man casing: the casing of an atomic bomb, identical to the weapon dropped on
Nagasaki on August 9, 1945. Had Japan not accepted the Allies’ terms a few days later, this casing would have been used.
II. Admiral Nimitz Museum
The restored Nimitz Hotel on Main Street (dating back to the 1850s) houses the Admiral Nimitz Museum. Chester Nimitz spent the first six years of his life in this hotel operated by his grandfather. Today the first gallery focuses on the early German influence in Fredericksburg and the Nimitz family while the second focuses on the life and career of Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz. The restored Grand Ballroom inside has once again become a center for social gatherings in recent years. It is now available to rent and is a popular venue for weddings, receptions, banquets, and other gatherings in the Texas Hill Country.
III. Pacific Combat Zone
The Pacific Combat Zone offers docent-guided tours of a Pacific Island battlefield and spectacular artifacts – including a restored PT boat which was used in World
War II, a TBM Avenger which was is the same kind of plane President George H.W. Bush piloted in WWII, and a MASH unit facility.
The Combat Zone is also home to the Museum’s popular Living History Programs. These programs bring history to life as staff and volunteers go back in time to present re-enactments of the battle for an island in the Pacific during World War II. The mock battle is complete with real weaponry including, guns, tanks, and a flamethrower. Dates this year include weekends in March, May, June, July, September, October, November, and December. Please visit pacificwarmuseum.org for exact dates and times of shows. Tickets for these shows may also be purchased online.
IV. Plaza of the Presidents
The Plaza of the Presidents features ten monuments honoring those Presidents who served during World War II. Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman served as Commander-in-Chief while the next eight (Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard M. Nixon, Gerald R. Ford, James E. Carter, Jr., Ronald Reagan, and George H. W. Bush) served in uniform.
V. The Memorial Courtyard features more than 2,000 plaques lining the 100-year-old limestone walls and honors military units, ships, and service members. Nearly 4,000 brick pavers line the walkways and honor individual veterans of World War II and those who served on the Home Front in domestic, industrial, or civilian efforts.
VI. Japanese Garden of Peace
The Japanese Garden of Peace is not to be missed. The garden was given to the Museum as a gift from the people of Japan. It symbolizes world peace through the good will of the two nations. It includes the classic elements of a Japanese garden: fishpond, raked stones, and large rocks. An exact replica of Admiral Togo’s study was sent from Japan and reconstructed (without any nails) in the Garden.
The Museum is open seven days a week, 9 AM to 5 PM. It is closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day. Individual admission prices and rates for group tours may be found on the Museum’s website.
Fredericksburg, TX 78624