“Chester William Nimitz was born on 24 February 1885, near a quaint hotel in Fredericksburg, Texas built by his grandfather, Charles Nimitz, a retired sea captain.” (Courtesy of the Naval Historical Center).
In honor of his birthday, the Nimitz Museum in Fredericksburg reopens after a three-year renovation, on Sunday, February 25, 2007. The museum is formally known as the National Museum of the Pacific War.
The ceremony begins at 1:30, Sunday February 25 at the museum. Keynote speaker is retired General Michael Hagee, 33rd commandant of the Marine Corps. Others responsible for seeing the renovations to fruition will also be in attendance. You’re invited, too.
Nimitz was Commander in Chief, Pacific Fleet and Pacific Ocean Areas, during World War II. When he accepted the surrender of Japan aboard the U.S.S. Missouri in Tokyo Bay in 1945, he was the first to hold the newly-created rank of Fleet Admiral.
Nimitz’s command of the fleet is considered a key factor in the U.S.’s surprising resilience and recovery in the Pacific after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
Fredericksburg is west of Austin; a tour of the LBJ Ranch National Historical Park, Johnson City and the not-too-far Nimitz Museum would be a good weekend jaunt for a family with kids taking Texas or U.S. history, or a worthy detour from the Kerrville Folk Festival (May 24 to June 10, 2007). In summer months, a family could stop off at a public swimming pool just west of the LBJ Ranch, one built with Heritage Conservation Funds, and one we’ve found busy but rarely too crowded. (Details on the LBJ Ranch here.)
The Museum was formerly managed by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Perhaps good in a time when the parks and wildlife budget is under constant pressure, management of the Nimitz Museum passed to the Admiral Nimitz Foundation and the Texas Historical Commission.
World War II often appears in a high school curriculum about this time of year, or perhaps a little later. Museum visits help pique interest in the topics, and if parents can be encouraged to make such a tour with students, the educational value can be substantially improved. Here in North Texas, history teachers often require students to visit one or more museums, for credit. I wonder whether any programs in Austin, Kerrville, Johnson City or other close-by areas require visits to the Nimitz Museum — anyone know?
Most of the data I have seen indicates Texas students need to beef up their knowledge of World War II in the Pacific, especially the Battle of Midway, other naval battles, and the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the Enola Gay. Adm. Nimitz is one of the Texas heroes students should know upon completion of 7th grade.
- Read Nimitz’s 1948 essay, “Who Commands Sea — Commands Trade,” here.
- Photo of Adm. Nimitz at top of post from California Military Museum.