National Museum of the Pacific War

By: Martin Donell Kohout

Type: General Entry

Published: September 21, 2001

Updated: January 25, 2017

The National Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg includes the restored Nimitz Hotel, which now houses the Admiral Nimitz Museum, the George Bush Gallery, the Veterans' Memorial Walk, the Plaza of Presidents, the Japanese Garden of Peace, the Pacific War Combat Zone, and the Center for Pacific War Studies. The museum grew out of the Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz Memorial Naval Museum, which opened on February 24, 1967, the anniversary of the birth of Chester Nimitz, and featured artifacts of old Fredericksburg and of Admiral Nimitz's career.

The museum was dedicated at Nimitz's request to the two million men and women who served with him in the Pacific during World War II. It officially became a state agency, with an appointed commission administration, in June 1970. On September 1, 1981, the Texas legislature placed the museum under the jurisdiction of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, although the local Admiral Nimitz Foundation continued fund-raising activities. The name was changed from Admiral Nimitz State Historical Park in 1999. In 2005, the site was transferred to the Texas Historical Commission and is now administered through agreement by the Admiral Nimitz Foundation.

The Japanese Garden of Peace behind the hotel was donated by the Japanese government; it was designed by Taketora Saita of Tokyo and built by Japanese craftsmen who came to the United States on funds raised by popular subscription in Japan. The garden includes a replica of the study of Admiral Heihachiro Togo, a leader whom Nimitz greatly admired; it displays a number of Japanese-style, American-grown plants, such as dwarf maples, apricots, magnolias, Japanese pines, and several crape myrtles that were a gift from the people of Fredericksburg. The garden was dedicated on May 8, 1976, the 130th anniversary of the founding of Fredericksburg.

The Veterans' Memorial Walk, located outside the Japanese Garden of Peace, features plaques honoring individuals, ships, and military units. The 23,000-square-foot George Bush Gallery offers exhibits and walk-through dioramas that include personal effects of combatants and remnants of ships and planes. The Plaza of Presidents contains monoliths detailing the World War II experiences of ten presidents, from Franklin D. Roosevelt through George H. W. Bush. The Pacific War Combat Zone, a three-acre site located one block away from the museum, houses a number of relics of the Pacific Theater of Operations, including dive bombers, tanks, and guns. The archives of the Center for Pacific War Studies contain private papers, official documents and manuscripts, a research library, and more than 10,000 photographs. The museum's location in downtown Fredericksburg makes it a convenient stop for the many tourists who visit the Hill Country every year. The Lyndon B. Johnson State and National Historical parks are eleven miles east of the museum, and the Enchanted Rock State Natural Area is eighteen miles to the north.

Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

  • Museums, Libraries, and Archives
  • Museums
  • General History Museums
  • Peoples
  • Germans
  • Military
  • Japanese
  • World War II
  • Internment Camps
Time Periods:
  • World War II

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Martin Donell Kohout, “National Museum of the Pacific War,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 25, 2022,

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September 21, 2001
January 25, 2017