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National Museum of the Pacific War

340 East Main Street Fredericksburg, Texas 78624 830-997-4379

Set in Texas hill country, Fredericksburg isn’t the obvious spot for this museum. But Adm. Chester Nimitz was born here, and in 1969, the Nimitz Museum opened in the hotel where he spent his childhood, a ship-evoking edifice once called the Steamboat. In 1999, the George Bush Gallery opened across the street. With the Center for Pacific War Studies, these elements are now consolidated.

Among its war-tried hard ware: a TBM torpedo bomber; a Japanese floatplane; a Val dive bomber; a B-25; the midget Japanese sub captured at Pearl Harbor; an M3 Stuart tank; a PT boat; and the yellow casing for the third atomic bomb. Chronological exhibits with walk-through dioramas, augmented by photos, artworks, and docents’ commentary, put you in scene after scene.

Three acres of Pacific Combat Zone replicate an Iwo Jima–like landscape with pillbox. A Quonset hut field hospital, the Memorial Courtyard, and the Japanese Garden of Peace (a gift from the Japanese military) remind us that war brings pain and death but also sometimes reconciliation.


Originally published in the October 2007 issue of World War II Magazine. To subscribe, click here.