As educators, you are constantly seeking ways to enhance your students’ learning experiences and make your lessons come alive. One valuable resource that Kentucky educators may not be aware of is the National Museum of the Pacific War. While we may be 1,000 miles away, our award-winning education team brings the museum to thousands of students across the country each year and provides invaluable resources to educators that are adaptable to each grade.

Constitution Day & Freedom Week: We know it can sometimes be challenging to fit Constitution Day into your fall curriculum. That is why we have developed a unique virtual program that engages students of all ages. Freedom Week is a journey back in time. From learning about the three documents of freedom from a Founding Father in Philadelphia to exploring civic responsibility from a World War II soldier in a battlefield, this program will likely be one your students won’t forget!

Virtual Learning: Find out why the National Museum of the Pacific War is a teacher’s best friend with one of our distance learning programs! Through virtual learning, we can bring history to life in your classroom. Our lessons incorporate multiple scenes comprised of pre-produced videos, live museum tours, presentations, and more. Additionally, we pay special attention to the length and transition of scenes, lesson pacing, varying learning styles, and attention spans to ensure students will have an educational and engaging experience. Current topics include:

  • Operation Overview: WWII History in Review
  • America Goes to War/Industrial Production Key to Victory
  • Women Warriors of WWII
  • African American Service Men & Women of WWII
  • Hispanic Heroes and Heroines of WWII
  • Museum Guide to the Pacific War

Programs run between 30 and 45 minutes with time at the end for Q&A. Each lesson can be adapted for each state’s specific needs by request.

Webinars: The museum regularly airs webinars that delve deep into specific aspects of the Pacific Theatre, featuring guest speakers such as authors, historians, museum educators, and collections department staff. These webinars, which are recorded and available for replay, provide educators with valuable insights and access to rare artifacts that are not typically seen by the public.

Symposia: The National Museum of the Pacific War’s annual symposium focuses on the Pacific War and showcases renowned authors to discuss their research and recent writings. These symposia cover a broad range of topics beyond fighting and warfare, exploring themes such as diversity of Americans who served or supported WWII and the long-lasting impact of the Japanese occupation of the Pacific. For educators who are unable to attend in person, symposia are also offered online as virtual programs and scholarships are readily available for teachers.

Archives: The Center for Pacific War Studies is a gold mine for primary sources that can be incorporated into various lessons. The digital archive contains thousands of oral histories, photographs, newspapers, maps, letters and more!

Professional Development: The National Museum of the Pacific War will debuted its inaugural Summer Institute for Teachers (SIT) in 2023. This four-day professional development program provided educators, those particularly in high school, an immersive opportunity to engage in:

  • Expert-led workshops that explore the Pacific War and provide cross-curricular tools, lessons and resources for teachers across varying disciplines.
  • Learning experiences intended to deepen their knowledge and understanding of World War II in the Pacific and its continued global relevance today.
  • Networking with fellow educators to share ideas, strategies and resources.
  • Discussions on how to teach each topic in the classroom.

While this year’s program was solely in-person in 2023, future SIT opportunities will be available virtually to increase accessibility to educators across the country! Personalized professional development workshops are also available to showcase our resources and lesson opportunities to educators virtually.

Coming Soon: The education team is working hard to develop even more resources for teachers! In the coming months, educators can expect to see new and updated lesson plans, activities, digital exhibits and engaging video content on the National Museum of the Pacific War teacher resource page.

In 2024, we will be launching our new Museum Discovery Box collection! These traveling resource kits are delivered to your school and encourage students to explore, touch, play, and feel history. Each box contains a special collection of artifacts, documents, activities, and lesson plans. It is a great way to incorporate artifact-based learning and primary sources into your classroom.

Kyna Stys is the director of education and museum programming at the National Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg, Texas.  She has worked in education, as both a public historian and a librarian, for over 12 years. Currently, she leads and supports the education team as they seek to engage and inspire through distance learning, living history experiences, on-site and virtual programming, outreach and so much more.

The National Museum of the Pacific War (NMPW), founded in 1967, is the only institution in the continental United States dedicated exclusively to a mission “to engage and inspire present and future generations with the story of World War II in the Asiatic-Pacific Theater and interpret the continued global relevance of its lessons.”