You'll fall hard for this Texas burg

The Vereins Kirche Museum is a much-loved symbol of German heritage and contains exhibits that introduce visitors to the stories of Fredericksburg's beginnings. Photo by Deborah Stone

Nearby is the Pioneer Museum, a “portal to the past,” that transports visitors to a time when the German settlers struggled to survive and preserve their German way of life. Various original structures including a Sunday House, one-room school, bathhouse, barn, smokehouse, log cabin and volunteer fire department are open to tour. Some of the buildings are outfitted with audio kiosks that provide information and stories about the artifacts and way of life, often told from the point of view of a descendant of the family that owned the property.


Fredericksburg is the hometown of Chester A. Nimitz, the Commander-in-Chief of the Pacific during WWII. It is also the site of the world-class National Museum of the Pacific War. Photo by Deborah Stone

Fredericksburg is also home to the world-class National Museum of the Pacific War, which is the most comprehensive museum dedicated to this significant historical event. It honors the millions of Americans who helped to defeat the greatest threat to freedom and democracy of the 20th Century. The museum is located in Fredericksburg because it is the hometown of Chester A. Nimitz, the Commander-in-Chief of the Pacific during WWII. Spread across more than six acres, the complex has over 50,000 square feet of indoor exhibit space that includes interactive exhibits, state-of-the-art media and an extraordinary array of unique artifacts.

There are seven components of the museum. In the George H.W. Bush Gallery, visitors learn the story of the Pacific War beginning with Japan’s growing power and international ambitions, continuing on to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and the subsequent battles across the islands of the Pacific, and finally ending with Japan’s official surrender. Among the artifacts in this gallery is one of five Japanese two-man subs that took part in the attack on Pearl Harbor, along with a Fat Man casing – the casing of an atomic bomb, identical to the weapon dropped on Nagasaki on August 9, 1945.

At the adjacent Admiral Nimitz Museum in the restored Nimitz Hotel, which Chester Nimitz’s grandfather once operated, the focus is two-fold. The first section of the museum details the early German influence in Fredericksburg and the Nimitz family, while the second area presents the career of Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz. Outside stands a commemorative eight-foot bronze statue of this distinguished man.

The museum’s Pacific Combat Zone offers tours of a Pacific Island battlefield and spectacular artifacts including a restored PT boat used in WWII and a MASH unit facility. The Combat Zone is also home to the museum’s popular Living History Programs, which provide reenactments of the battle for an island in the Pacific during WWII, complete with real weaponry. Ten monuments honoring those U.S. Presidents who served during WWII are featured at the Plaza of the Presidents. In the Memorial Courtyard, more than 2,000 plaques and brick pavers line the walls and walkways to honor military units, ships and service members, as well as individual veterans of WWII and those who served on the Home Front in various civilian efforts. The adjoining Japanese Garden of Peace is a place of serenity and contemplation given to the museum as a gift from the people of Japan. It symbolizes world peace through the good will of the two nations.

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