Manzanar’s award-winning public archeology program provides exceptional opportunities to learn about the past and help preserve the site and its stories for the future. This year marks the 75th anniversary of Executive Order 9066 and the 25th anniversary of Manzanar National Historic Site.
In recognition of these significant milestones, Manzanar is hosting two public archeology projects, March 24 to 29 and May 26 to 30. Volunteers will have the unique opportunity to assist the National Park Service in uncovering and stabilizing Manzanar’s historic administration and staff housing area.
Participants will learn about both the common and contrasting experiences of camp staff and incarcerees as well as the differences between Japanese landscaping aesthetics and “western” military-style landscaping.
Dr. Cherstin Lyon and the award-winning California State University San Bernardino History and Anthropology Clubs will participate in the project fromMarch 25 to 27, marking their fifth year returning as a group. Dr. Lyon is the author of Prisons and Patriots: Japanese American Wartime Citizenship, Civil Disobedience, and Historical Memory. Art Williams, who lived in the administration area as a teenager and wrote the book Reflecting on WWII,Manzanar, and the WRA will also present programs.
Volunteer positions are available to anyone age 15 and over who is physically able to work outdoors participating in moderately strenuous activities.Volunteers will be digging with shovels and small hand tools, cutting and loading brush, using wheelbarrows, collecting rocks to reconstruct landscape features, painting rock alignments, and occasionally screening sediments to retrieve artifacts.Previous archeological experience is helpful, but not necessary.
Most of the work is physically demanding, but there will be a variety of tasks each day, to suit a varying interests and energy levels. Volunteers just need an interest in history and a willingness to get covered with dust and/or paint spatter.
The work will be conducted outdoors, regardless of weather, from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. daily, including weekends. Volunteers may work any number of days or hours, but a full day or multiple days are preferred. Bring water, lunch, and work gloves, and wear sunscreen, a hat, and sturdy boots. Please bring any necessary medications.
Advance sign-up is required since the project is limited to 25 participants per day. To sign up, please contact Manzanar’s Volunteer Ambassador Katie Busch at 760-878-2194 ext. 3312 or email[email protected]. For project questions, contact Cultural Resources Manager Jeff Burton at 760-878-2194 ext. 3305 or email[email protected].
Manzanar National Historic Site is located at 5001 Hwy. 395, six miles south of Independence, California. Learn more on our website atwww.nps.gov/manz or on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ManzanarNationalHistoricSite.
Manzanar YouTube Channel
On March 3, 1992, after decades of grass-roots efforts by Japanese Americans and others, led by the Manzanar Committee, Congress established Manzanar National Historic Site. Since then, the National Park Service (NPS) has worked closely with the Manzanar Committee as well as scores of stakeholders to preserve and interpret Manzanar.
Today, in recognition of the 25th Anniversary of Manzanar National Historic Site, the National Park Service launched a new YouTube Channel featuring some of Manzanar’s video and audio resources. The channel can be located by visiting www.youtube.com and typing in “ManzanarNPS” or by following this link: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVrqWFbuonduneCCwt4KnNQ
Manzanar was already active with social media, with a Facebook page at (https://www.facebook.com/ManzanarNationalHistoricSite) and a “ManzanarNPS” Instagram account at https://www.instagram.com/manzanarnps/
“We are honored to commemorate Manzanar’s 25th anniversary by making additional resources available to the public,” Superintendent Bernadette Johnson said. “Just as the physical Manzanar site is always evolving, our social media continues to evolve and expand as we reach people around the world.”
This spring also marks the 75th Anniversary of President Franklin D. Roosevelt signing Executive Order 9066, authorizing the US Army to exclude “any and all persons” from designated areas. While the order did not name a specific group, the Army forcibly removed and incarcerated all Japanese Americans and Japanese immigrants in California, western Oregon and Washington, and southern Arizona. The government incarcerated more than 11,000 of these men, women, and children in Manzanar.