A re-created 16-by-20-feet barrack from Amache, the Japanese-American internment camp in Grenada, is shown on July 30 at the Aurora History Museum. The "Amache: Colorado's Internment Camp" exhibit will be shown from July 27 to Oct. 31. (Photo by Joe Nguyen/AsiaXpress.com)
Japanese-American internment stories come to Aurora History Museum
Exhibit takes a look at 'Amache: Colorado's Internment Camp' from July 27 to Oct. 31
By Joe Nguyen, AsiaXpress.com
Aug. 11, 2010
Photos from Amache, the Japanese-American internment camp during World War II in Grenada, is shown on July 30 at the Aurora History Museum.
Amache: Colorado's Japanese Internment Camp
July 27 to Oct. 31
9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesday to Friday
11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday
Aurora History Museum [map]
15051 E. Alameda Parkway
Aurora, CO 80012
Free and open to the public
• Details of 'Amache: Colorado's Japanese Internment Camp'
AURORA – Much has been written about the United States government's internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, but little has shown what life was like for the internees inside their barracks.
The Aurora History Museum have re-created a 16-by-20-feet barrack, complete with furnishings and artifacts. The barrack, along with other relics from Japanese Americans interned at the camp, will be on display during the "Amache: Colorado's Internment Camp" exhibit from July 27 to Oct. 31 at the Aurora History Museum.
"We like to provide experiences that are much more immersing," said Jennifer Kuehner, acting executive director of the museum, "where you can actually be in a situation or feel like you're part of the subject rather than just being pictures on a wall or text or a video to watch."
The re-creation provides an intimate look into the living space of the internees, from the furniture and decoration to the clothing they wore.
"The barrack space, since it was the most personal of the spaces in the camp to the internees, it seemed like it was an interesting space to cover since it isn't covered much in a lot of the texts," she said.
During World War II, approximately 120,000 Japanese American were forced out of their homes on the west coast and relocated into internment camps across the western United States. More than 10,000 of these people made the small rural town of Grenada in southeastern Colorado their makeshift home over a three-year period.
Kuehner said the idea of doing an Amache camp exhibit came from one of museum's assistants. She had studied under University of Denver professor Bonnie Clark, who has led graduate students down to Grenada for archeological research at the Amache camp.
"(I) thought it would be an interesting topic to do an exhibit on and started talking about it with other people I know in the community, and most of the people I mentioned it to didn't even know we had a camp in Colorado," she said. "It just became more of a subject I knew needed to be covered."
Also included in the exhibit are a bevy of artifacts and photographs loaned out by various organizations, including the University of Denver, Auraria Library and various individuals in the community.
During the process of researching and putting together the exhibit, Kuehner said, it was the perserverance and loyalty of Japanese Americans in the face of the government's treatment that she took most from it.
"A lot of people at the time thought they weren't loyal to the United States," she said. "They were probably more loyal than some American citizens to the cause of the war and to fighting for American freedoms than some other people were.
"Maintaining such loyalty when the government were treating them the way they were was really wonderful to learn about."
This is a list of public programs planned in conjunction with this special exhibit. Contact the Aurora History Museum for information about group tours and school programming at 303-739-6667.
Date: Saturday, Sept. 18
Time: 1 to 4 p.m.
Cost: $2 ($1/resident)
All ages. Learn about Japanese culture and traditions during this family-focused event. Hear taiko drummers, watch artist demonstrations, experience folk dancing, learn origami and Japanese calligraphy, and much more.
Registration CLASS number 144179
Date: Saturday, Oct. 2
Time: 2 to 4 p.m.
Cost: $25 (19/residents)
Ages 8 to adult. Special guests from the White Butterfly Group present a program on the traditional Japanese tea ceremony and the history of the kimono. Sample Japanese-inspired delicacies along with the more traditional English tea favorites.
Registration CLASS number 143831
Date: Sunday, October 3
Time: 2 p.m.
Ages 8 to adult. The Amache Preservation Society, led by founder John Hopper, preserves and educates people about Colorado’s only Japanese internment camp, Amache. Students from Granada High School present an illuminating talk about the history of & life at Amache.
Internment Film Series
Dates: Sundays, Sept. 26, Oct. 10 and Oct. 24
Time: 1 p.m.
Ages 12 to adult. Discover the history and personal experiences of Japanese Americans interned at World War II relocation camps during this educational film series. Check back in mid-August for the complete film schedule.