Manzanar National Historic Site Opens Long-Awaited Barracks Exhibit

The following is a press release from the National Park Service.

A photo showing part of the new Barracks Exhibit
at Manzanar National Historic Site.
Photo courtesy National Park Service.

INDEPENDENCE, CA — 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.

As of April 16, 2015, visitors now 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. 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 Highway 395, six miles south of Independence, California (see map below). Admission is free. For further information, please call (760) 878-2194 ext. 3310, visit our web site at, or explore our page at

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More Photos From New Barracks Exhibit At Manzanar National Historic Site

Seven photos courtesy National Park Service. Click on any image or the left/right arrows to scroll through the gallery.

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2 Responses to Manzanar National Historic Site Opens Long-Awaited Barracks Exhibit

  1. Mark Carlson says:

    A request and a couple footnotes: Perhaps parking on the north and south sides of the memorial monument can be avoided so the view shed to the mountains is not compromised by cars, for those taking photos aimed NW or SW. I was excited to learn that Krister Olmen, the son of my father’s Lutheran seminary classmate, Luther Olmen (Elaine), is a principal designer of the new barracks exhibit. And, as Rev. Paul Nakamura is honored, I regret that I will be hosting another Selma veteran (yes, Paul went to Selma 50 years ago!), Rev. Joe Ellwanger (Joyce), in Northern California on April 25. See you next year I hope.

    • Gann Matsuda says:

      Thank you for your comments. If we had other options for parking, we would avoid the current situation. But with the crowd we get every year, we really don’t have another feasible option.

      About Rev. Paul…he was not in Selma. He was in Montgomery, however. More on that is forthcoming here, so stayed tuned.

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