Although often a somber experience, the museum is an important part of understanding the history and significance of one of the events that altered the course of American history. Guests will leave with a better sense of the people, events, and timelines involved with this major historical event. The museum, located in Fredericksburg, Texas, is the only in the United States that is dedicated to telling these specific stories.
The first building that now makes up only a portion of the museum complex was opened in 1967. That campus is now six acres with more than 900 different artifacts and works in close partnership with the Texas Historical Commission (otherwise known as THC) which helps with its preservation goals and mission (which is to teach the history of the war and to honor all that served).
Admiral Nimitz Museum - This building is the original location of the museum before the facility expanded and outgrew it. Built in the late 1800s, it was previously the SteamBoat Hotel and was owned as well as operated by the Admiral’s grandfather. It has been restored to its original glory and is now the home of an exhibit that focuses on the life and career of Admiral Nimitz as well as the Cailloux Educational Center, the grand ballroom, and the mezzanine.
George Bush Gallery - Although named after George Bush, this gallery focuses on a variety of exhibitions on the attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese on December 7th, 1941. There are many artifacts that are meant to make an impact, like the HA-19 (a two man sub that was used by the Japanese as part of the attack). The gallery also makes use of media - through presentations, testimonials, and other artifacts. Follow the Army as well as the Marines from island to island while they fight for America’s freedom. Sail along with the Navy’s Pacific Fleet as they fight in the Pacific Ocean.
Peace Garden - The Japanese Peace Garden was a gift to the United States from the people of Japan in honor of Admiral Nimitz. This garden is meant to be a peaceful oasis, and visitors will enter through a replica of the Japanese Navy’s Admiral Togo’s meditation study. Built in Japan and reassembled in Texas, it opened to the public in 1976 and was restored and reopened in 2015 and 2016. Guests should make sure to keep a special eye out for a few key objects : The Bamboo Spring, the Togo Study, The Pool/Stream and The Stone Garden.
Memorial Courtyard - Visitors should make sure to see the Memorial Courtyard, where the people (and ships) who fought in the Pacific Theater are honored with plaques that are dedicated to their contributions.
Plaza of Presidents - Outside of the Bush Gallery is the Plaza of Presidents, a series of monuments made out of stone that honors the Presidents who served during World War II.
Education and Research Center - Located inside the center are thousands of different manuscripts, documents, photographs, and interviews with veterans of the Pacific War. These artifacts are open to public viewing by appointment only during the weekdays from 9am to 5pm.
First and foremost, the museum offers a constant rotation of special exhibits that focus on different aspects of the war from many perspectives. A few of the exhibitions that have been or will be featured are the Pacific Combat Program (this event is held on a monthly basis), Leadership, Art of the Aloha Shirt, etc. Check the website for additional information, as it is frequently updated.
The museum also hosts an annual golf tournament, generally held in June, that is thrown for charity and draws golfers from all over the country. Held at the Boot Ranch, the charity that will receive the proceeds changes on a yearly basis and the tournament regularly raises around $200,000.
Another big event at the museum is Pearl Harbor Day observance. Usually featuring one or a few keynote speakers, the memorial is held in the courtyard and is offered free of charge to the general public.
All products purchased at the gift shop go into supporting the museum. With a large selection of books about World War II, the Pacific War, and Pearl Harbor as well as collectibles like coins and ornaments. They also offer a selection of apparel (shirts, jackets, etc) and homegoods (mugs, tumblers, etc) for every price point and taste level.
The National Museum of the Pacific War, 340 East Main Street, Fredericksburg, TX, 78624, Phone: 830-997-8600