National Museum of the Pacific War opens new gallery in historic Texas Hill
Dedicated by former President George H.W. Bush and attended by Pearl Harbour survivors, veterans and numerous dignitaries, the grand re-opening of the National Museum of the Pacific War was held on December 7, 2009. This new addition and renovation to the George H.W. Bush Gallery of the Museum of the Pacific War is designed with direct reference to the historic small town fabric of Fredericksburg, Texas and with metaphorical reference to the American military and the Pacific War. This concept recognizes that the street-front pedestrian and vehicular experience is critical to the continuity of the historic German-Texan character of the main street.
The museum street front is composed a series of simple one-storey stone building facades, linked by courtyards and / or low stone walls to create a continuous perimeter scaled and detailed to the neighbourhood urban district. The museum store, lobbies and certain large scale exhibits and artifacts are visible and orientated to the sidewalk to further enhance the pedestrian experience. Inboard from this perimeter zone, the building design more directly expresses the museum and its purpose. The scale steps up to convey the national significance of the museum and the global and historic magnitude of the Pacific War. An artifact of a submarine conning tower is featured into the composition.
Materials and detail of these building elements allude to the WWII-era American military – but materials that also hold traditions in the Texas Hill Country. These two sources of design meaning (Historic Fredericksburg, and the Pacific War itself) interweave into a meaningful and appropriate design, intimately connected to its place and expressive of its mission.