Wednesday, July 4, 2012

National Museum of the Pacific War (Kara's Vacation Part I)

Happy 4th of July, all!

On July 22nd, the majority of the females on my Mom's side of the family congregated in Fredericksburg, TX for a wine tour.  It was a really awesome way to spend my 30th birthday.  I'll post more later on the great wines and wonderful tours we went on, but I had another reason for really looking forward to the trip. 

For over two years now, I have been a volunteer transcriptionist for the National Museum of the Pacific War/Nimitz Education and Research Center.  I got started with the Museum because Grandpa Misenhimer does the oral interviews.  As of July 2012, he has done over 700 interviews.  He needed a transcriptionist, I like to type, so we worked it out.  I enjoy listening to the tales from our vets, but I have never been to the Museum.

So, you can guess what I did that Sunday, right?  I had a picture in my head of a small-town museum and that's what I was expecting.  I've never been so glad to be wrong in my life.  The Nimitz part of the museum is what I expected, but the George H. W. Bush Gallery is hugeHUGE.  I wish I could have spent longer - they aren't kidding when they say it takes 4 hours. 

They offer an hour-long tour at the Pacific Combat Zone.  It is a little over 2 blocks from the main museum, but you can drive and park there (our car was at the hotel so I jogged - not fun in June).  I am so glad I didn't skip that part of the museum like so many people do.  Our tour guide was wonderful.  There is a TBM Avenger, a PT boat, and outside there are several other WWII relics.  They do a reenactment several times a year that Davis and I are going to attend. 

Since I was short on time, I did not go through the Plaza of Presidents, Memorial Courtyard or the Japanese Peace Garden.  They are on my to-do list for next time. 

The George H.W. Bush Gallery is large.  Very large.  And filled with information from the end of WWI and Japan's rise to the end of the war.  My favorite parts were the visual aids - where you hear bombs going off and radar and the shouts from Pearl Harbor to getting to walk inside a sub to see how little space crewmembers had. 

I'm sure you don't want to hear me go on and on about a museum, but I couldn't not tell you about this wonderful place that not many people know about.  There is a wealth of information for everyone - whether you are a military history buff or not.

For more information please visit

Fredericksburg itself is a great place for a quick weekend vacation - there are wonderful shops up and down Main Street, wineries all along 290, Bier gardens, open container laws for those walking up and down Main Street.  I truly enjoyed my vacation and cannot wait until we go back.

- Pictures taken from the museum website.

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