Thursday, February 8, 2018

Heart Mountain Interpretive Center - Part 1

A few weeks ago our Cody friend Barb called and asked me if we wanted to go listen to a lecture at the Heart Mountain Interpretive Center.
The interpretive center was built on the same grounds where the relocation center had been situated.  
The place where Japanese-American internees were sent and confined after the bombing of Pearl Harbor during WW2.
Construction of the interpretive center had been completed not long before LC and I moved over to Idaho, and we had made a point of visiting once before leaving.
It was an extraordinary visit.
Informative and extremely interesting.
LC did not want to go this time around, but when Barb told me that the lecture would describe how internees thrived and survived at the camp during the harsh Wyoming winters, I eagerly accepted her invitation.
In truth I prefer museums that present information without bias or agenda (allowing those who visit to draw their own conclusions about what they have seen and learned).
This wasn't one of those places.
But it was an interesting facility none-the-less and I was excited to explore it again................
For 45 minutes we listened to the curator of the center describe life at the camp during the winter, and it was a hugely interesting lecture.
We learned about the shoddy construction of barracks that did little to stop the cold and wind from infiltrating.  
About clothing made from wool blankets.  About the rush by children to gather coal for stoves each morning, where in the camp were the warmest places to hunker down against the cold and so much more.
 When the lecture was over the 25 or so visitors were welcome to explore the facility at their leisure.
Barb and I spent a long time wandering throughout the museum, imaging how life must have been for these people from the west coast, who knew nothing of life in the high desert plains of Wyoming..................
The center feels larger on the inside that it appears to be on the outside.
There are pictures everywhere you look.
One dimensional pictures such as this small child.
Two dimensional pictures that make you feel as though you are looking at real people.
All with information detailing what day-to-day life was like for the almost 11,000 people who stayed at this place.
The center also includes arts and crafts, tools, living quarters, books, musical instruments from the period.
Information on schools, clubs, hospitals, farming and so much more.
I am not one to fall into the trap of mass guilt for the actions taken by others decades (or even centuries) ago.  
That's not the way I roll.
I view the Heart Mountain Relocation Center in its historical context, with the understanding of the time in world history in which such places were reality for Japanese-Americans, and with the realization that we are a self-aware nation which learns from our past actions.......................
The pictures tell the story of the Heart Mountain Relocation Center....................

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