Manzanar barracks exhibits and 46th Annual Pilgrimage

 – Press releases

During World War II, more than 10,000 Japanese Americans coped with spartan living conditions at Manzanar. They were from cities and farms, young and old, rich and poor, extended families and single people. All were forced from their pre-war homes to live in crowded apartments in identical barracks in Manzanar.

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Beginning today, visitors have the opportunity to learn more about the personal experiences of individuals, families, and communities incarcerated at Manzanar through new permanent exhibits installed in two reconstructed barracks. The exhibits feature extensive photos, documents, and quotes illustrating the challenges and changes people faced at Manzanar. Six audio stations and one video station feature a total of 42 oral history clips.

Exhibits in barracks 1 focus on the early days of Manzanar, when thousands of people arrived to an unfinished camp. Barracks 1 also includes a Block Manager’s office, featuring the papers of Block Manager Chokichi Nakano. Barracks 8 features an “improved” apartment with linoleum and wall board.

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A second room explores the Loyalty Questionnaire and its profound long-lasting impacts.

“We’re happy to have the new exhibits installed in time for next weekend’s annual Pilgrimage,” said Superintendent Bernadette Johnson. “The Pilgrimage is a time when people come together to share stories. The new exhibits make it possible to experience the living conditions and create personal connections for our visitors as they tour the barracks and hear stories told by incarcerees.”

Manzanar National Historic Site is located at 5001 Hwy. 395, six miles south of Independence, California. Admission is free. For further information, please call (760) 878-2194 ext. 3310, visit our website at www.nps.gov/manz, or explore our page at www.facebook.com/ManzanarNationalHistoricSite….

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INDEPENDENCE, CA—The 46th Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage coincides with National Park Week 2015 and the launch of the Find Your Park public awareness and education campaign surrounding the centennial anniversary of the National Park Service in 2016.

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Manzanar National Historic Site invites visitors to participate in a weekend of special events in conjunction with the Manzanar Committee’s 46th Annual Pilgrimage. Find Your Park invites the public to see that a national park can be more than a place—it can be a feeling or an experience. Pilgrimage weekend offers opportunities to Find Your Park through art, music, dance, and films. “The Find Your Park campaign encourages everyone to find their parks and share their stories. We’d love to have people share their stories of Manzanar and other Eastern Sierra parks on the findyourpark.com website,” said Superintendent Bernadette Johnson.

On Friday, April 24, the Friends of Eastern California Museum will host a public reception from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. at the Eastern California Museum. Located at 155 Grant Street in Independence, the museum’s exhibits include Shiro and Mary Nomura’s Manzanar collection, a centennial retrospective on the Los Angeles Aqueduct, an exhibit on mountaineer Norman Clyde, and the Anna and O.K. Kelly Gallery of Native American Life. Eastern California Museum is open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

The Manzanar National Historic Site Visitor Center is open 9:00 to 5:30 daily. The visitor center offers extensive exhibits and an award-winning film, as well as special Junior Ranger activities for kids. The Selected Artists from the Henry Fukuhara Annual Alabama Hills and Manzanar Workshop Art Show is on display through mid-May. Paintings are available for purchase.

Just outside the Visitor Center, Block 14 features a restored World War II-era mess hall and two reconstructed barracks. The mess hall houses evocative exhibits on the logistics and politics of food in Manzanar. In mid-April, permanent exhibits will be installed in the two barracks, inviting visitors to explore daily life and the changes and challenges people faced in Manzanar.

Some of Manzanar’s most impressive archeological features are Japanese rock gardens. From 9:00 a.m. to noon Saturday, April 25, Madelon Arai Yamamoto and volunteer archeologist Mary Farrell will be at the restored Arai family fish pond in Block 33 to greet visitors and share stories about the pond’s discovery and excavation.

The Manzanar Committee’s 46th Annual Pilgrimage begins at noon Saturday, April 25, at the Manzanar Cemetery with the procession of camp banners and a performance by UCLA Kyodo Taiko. This year’s theme is “Watashi wa Manzanar: Continuing Our Civil Rights Legacy.” “Watashi wa” (pronounced “wah-tah-she wah”) is Japanese for “I am.” Educator and filmmaker Dr. Satsuki Ina will give the keynote address. The Pilgrimage program concludes with the traditional interfaith service and Ondo dancing, after which park rangers will offer walking tours to those wishing to explore Manzanar.

The Manzanar At Dusk program begins at 5:00 p.m. Saturday at Lone Pine High School located at 538 South Main Street (Hwy. 395) in Lone Pine. The program offers participants opportunities for intergenerational discussions and sharing. The program is co-sponsored by the Nikkei Student Unions of Cal State Long Beach, Cal Poly Pomona, UCLA, and UCSD.

At 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. Sunday, April 26, Dr. Satsuki Ina’s award-winning documentary From a Silk Cocoon will be screened in the Manzanar Visitor Center’s West Theater.

With the exception of Friday evening’s reception and Saturday evening’s Manzanar At Dusk program, all events will take place at Manzanar National Historic Site located at 5001 Hwy. 395, six miles south of Independence, nine miles north of Lone Pine, and approximately 230 miles northeast of Los Angeles. There is no food service at Manzanar. Please bring a lunch or snacks, water, and a chair. Wear a hat and comfortable shoes and dress for the weather.

For more information, please call (760) 878-2194 ext. 3310, visit www.nps.gov/manz or check out www.facebook.com/ManzanarNationalHistoricSite. Visit www.NationalParkWeek.org to learn more about how you can Find Your Park in celebration of National Park Week or anytime.

About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 407 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at www.nps.gov.

 

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