National Park Service to award $2.9 million in JA Confinement Site grants


WASHINGTON — The National Park Service will award 24 grants that total $2.9 million to preserve and interpret sites where Japanese Americans were incarcerated by the U.S. government during World War II.

This year — the grant program’s third — the awards will provide $2.9 million to projects in 11 states, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced in a statement June 23. These projects include the restoration of a wartime camp cemetery at the Rohwer concentration camp in Arkansas; production of a film exploring the lives of mothers and children detained at Poston, Ariz.; and production and distribution of a documentary on the jazz bands that flourished at many concentration camps.

The grants range from $5,000, to preserve documents and artifacts at Chicago’s Japanese American Historical Society, to $291,025, to reconstruct a water tower and a guard tower at the Granada (Amache) concentration camp in Colorado.

“The internment of Japanese Americans during World War II is an unfortunate part of the story of our nation’s journey, but it is a part that needs to be told,” Salazar said.

“These places, where more than 110,000 Japanese Americans were unjustly held, testify to the alarming fragility of our constitutional rights in the face of prejudice and fear,” said National Park Service director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “The National Park Service is honored to help preserve these sites and tell their stories, and thus prevent our nation from forgetting a shameful episode in its past.”

The incarceration of Japanese Americans — many of whom were American citizens — followed Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. Grants from the Japanese American Confinement Sites Program may go to the 10 War Relocation Authority camps set up in 1942, or to other sites, including assembly, relocation and isolation centers.

Congress established the Japanese American Confinement Sites Grants Program in 2006 and authorized up to $38 million in grants, for the life of the program, to identify, research, evaluate, interpret, protect, restore, repair, and acquire historic confinement sites.

The grants are made as part of a competitive process in which $2 of federal money matches every $1 in non-federal funds and “in-kind” contributions. The goals of the grant program are to teach present and future generations about the injustice of the confinement and inspire a commitment to equal justice under the law.

A list of the winning projects follows. When a project is marked with an asterisk (*), the applicant is from one state and the confinement site associated with the project is in another.

For details about winning projects, visit

National Park Service Japanese American Confinement Site Grants



Japanese American Internment in Arizona Oral History Website

Applicant: Arizona State University, Tempe

Amount of Grant: $18,635

Description: Asian Pacific American Studies Program will process and post to its Website 85 oral history interviews with former inmates at Poston and Gila River, and others in surrounding community.


Rohwer Relocation Camp Cemetery Preservation

Applicant: University of Arkansas at Little Rock

Amount of Grant: $250,000

Description: Headstones, monuments and flower holders in the Rohwer Relocation Camp Cemetery, a National Historic Landmark, will be stabilized and restored.


Rohwer Relocation Center Interpretive Project, Phase II

Applicant: Arkansas State University, Jonesboro

Amount of Grant: $93,155

Description: Educational kiosks, interpretive panels and directional signage will be designed, fabricated and installed at Rohwer. An audio tour also will be recorded.


Rosalie Gould Rohwer Collection Preservation

Applicant: Central Arkansas Library System, Little Rock

Amount of Grant: $67,821

Description: Artwork created at Rohwer will be preserved, matted, framed and featured on a Website and an exhibition.


* Digital Documentation and Virtual Tour of Japanese American Confinement Sites

Applicant: CyArk, Oakland, Calif.

Amount of Grant: $240,611

Description: CyArk will digitally preserve Tule Lake, Topaz, and Manzanar camps into interactive 3D reconstructions available on the Web and through mobile applications.

Historic Inquiry and Place-Based Learning in Japanese American Confinement Sites

Applicant: National Japanese American Historical Society

Amount of Grant: $85,200

Description: Develop a curriculum package using confinement site visits to train 67 secondary school teachers how to present place-based classroom programs about the wartime incarceration.


J.A. Jive! Jazz Music in the Japanese American Internment Camps

Applicant: KEET-TV, Eureka

Amount of Grant: $96,465

Description: KEET-TV, a PBS station, will produce an hour-long documentary about the numerous jazz bands created at assembly centers and camps.


Japanese American Evacuation and Resettlement: A Digital Archive

Applicant: Univ. of Calif., Berkeley

Amount of Grant: $220,493

Description: Bancroft Library will create a comprehensive digital archive of holdings in its Japanese American Evacuation and Resettlement Study Records, 1930-1974.


The Japanese American Internment/World War II American Homefront Oral History Project

Applicant: Univ. of Calif., Berkeley

Amount of Grant: $50,000

Description: Forty hours of video oral history interviews with some 20 former inmates.

* Poston’s Mothers and Babies: “A Film on Domestic Life in Camp”

Applicant: Poston Community Alliance, Lafayette, Calif.

Amount of Grant Award: $61,880

Description: The nonprofit Poston Community Alliance will produce a documentary film on the lives of mothers incarcerated at Poston, Ariz., and children born there.

Stone Ishimaru’s War Relocation Authority Camp Images Archive

Applicant: Little Tokyo Service Center Community Development Corp., L.A.

Amount of Grant: $179,156

Description: Approximately 5,000 photographic negatives taken by Ishimaru at 10 concentration camps will be converted to digital format.

We Said, “No, No”

Applicant: Manzanar Committee, Inc., Los Angeles

Amount of Grant: $113,000

Description: A documentary on the loyalty questionnaire distributed to Japanese American inmates, civil disobedience and the Tule Lake Segregation Center.


World War II Internment: Lessons from the Past for the Future

Applicant: Japanese American Museum of San Jose (JAMsj)

Amount of Grant: $132,900

Description: Redesign exhibits, using state-of-­the art technology and interactive materials, to enhance the understanding of Japanese American incarceration at 11 confinement sites.


Amache Water Tank Restoration, Water Tower Restoration, and Guard Tower Reconstruction

Applicant: Colorado Preservation, Inc., Denver

Amount of Grant: $291,025

Description: Reconstruct a water tower and guard tower. Interpretive panels will be fabricated and installed.


Honouliuli Confinement Site Educational Tours Program

Applicant: Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i, Honolulu

Amount of Grant: $38,565

Description: Hiring and training of guides to conduct tours to the access-restricted confinement site; the project also will result in a tour brochure and a report evaluating this pilot program.


Civil Liberties Symposium:

Patriotism, Honor, and Sacrifice

Applicant: Friends of Minidoka, Twin Falls

Amount of Grant: $20,000

Description: A symposium titled “Patriotism, Honor and Sacrifice” will focus on civil liberty issues, the Japanese American experience, and the Minidoka concentration camp.


Kooskia Internment Camp Archaeological Project

Applicant: Univ. of Idaho, Moscow

Amount of Grant: $6,176

Description: Students and faculty will catalog and interpret artifacts from Kooskia. Artifacts will be displayed at an open house and “archeology day” near the site.


Conservation of the Chicago Japanese American Historical Society Archival Materials

Applicant: Chicago Japanese American Historical Society, Glenview

Amount of Grant: $5,000

Description: Two interns will be hired to preserve the Society’s collection of magazines, newspapers and other artifacts dealing with Japanese Americans in Chicago during the 1930s, at the concentration camps and during resettlement in the Chicago area after the war.


The Registry: A Documentary Film about the Military Intelligence Service Language School in Minnesota

Applicant: Asian Media Access, Inc., Minneapolis

Amount of Grant: $75,000

Description: A public television documentary featuring JAs who served in the Pacific during World War II as interrogators, interpreters, and linguists with the Military Intelligence Service.

New Mexico

New Mexico Japanese American Internment Sites History, Interpretation, and Education Project

Applicant: Japanese American Citizens League, New Mexico chapter, Los Lunas

Amount of Grant: $54,077

Description: A traveling exhibit and Website, historical markers, and public outreach brochure on New Mexico confinement sites at Santa Fe, Lordsburg, Fort Stanton, and the Old Raton Ranch (Raton Ranch Civilian Detention Station).


* Digitizing and Preserving the George and Frank Hirahara Photograph Collection

Applicant: Washington State Univ., Pullman

Amount of Grant: $49,217

Description: A finding aid for the Hirahara collection of film, prints, artifacts and 950 negatives taken between 1942 and 1945 in Heart Mountain, Wyo. Negatives will be preserved. A contextualized online digital collection and five undergraduate course curriculums based on the collection will be crafted.

Digital Archive System for Community Organizations

Applicant: Densho: The Japanese American Legacy Project, Seattle

Amount of Grant: $262,980

Description: Tools and training will be provided for four partnering organizations to add 40,000 objects to a digital repository related to confinement sites. A kit will be developed to help future partners


Teach the Teachers

Applicant: Densho: The Japanese American Legacy Project, Seattle

Amount of Grant: $281,733

Description: A curriculum package will be created and workshops held to train 600 teachers in classroom strategies to enhance student learning about the incarceration.



Restoration of Heart Mountain Boiler House Chimney

Applicant: Wyoming State Parks and Cultural Resources, State Historic Preservation Office, Cheyenne

Amount of Grant: $215,911

Description: A 75-foot-high chimney, part of the boiler house at the concentration camp hospital complex, will be permanently restored, and an interpretive panel and brochure created.



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