Public Archaeology Project At Manzanar National Historic Site, March 25-30, 2016

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

Photo from the July 2015 Public Archaeology Project at
Manzanar National Historic Site
Photo: Jeff Burton/National Park Service

INDEPENDENCE, CA — The public is cordially invited to join National Park Service staff and others in uncovering and preserving the historic administration and staff housing area at Manzanar National Historic site, March 25-30, 2016.

Volunteers and Manzanar NHS staff will be clearing brush, removing brush and sand from landscape features, installing vehicle barriers, resetting missing stones, and painting stones. 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.

Exposing features in the administration area highlights the differences between Japanese landscaping aesthetics and “western” military-style landscaping.

From March 26 to March 28, Professor Cherstin Lyon will bring the California State University San Bernardino History and Anthropology Clubs to work on the project. This will be their fourth year returning as a group.

Cherstin is the author of Prisons and Patriots: Japanese American Wartime Citizenship, Civil Disobedience, and Historical Memory.

On Saturday and Sunday, there will be a presentation by Art Williams, who lived in the Administration area at Manzanar as a teen-ager during World War II, and is the author of Reflecting on World War II, Manzanar, and the WRA.

Bring some chili to share on Sunday—there will be a lunch-time chili cook-off to mark the completion (or near completion) of the Manzanar Fire Station exhibit, to recognize the volunteers who worked on it, and to thank all volunteers for the hundreds of hours donated to historic preservation projects at Manzanar.

For the six-day project, up to 25 volunteers a day can be accommodated. Volunteers must be at least 15 years old and be able to work outdoors. Most of the work is physically demanding, but there will be a variety of tasks each day to suit a variety of interests and energy levels. Previous experience is helpful, but all that is needed is an interest in history and a willingness to be covered with dust and spattered with paint.

Volunteers must sign up in advance and may work any number of days or hours, but a full day or multiple days are preferred. Work will be conducted regardless of weather, so please come prepared, bring water, lunch, sunscreen, a hat, and work gloves. We have never had anyone stung by bees, but if you are allergic bring your EpiPen. We will meet each day at 7:30 AM in the visitor center parking lot and work until 3:30 PM.

If you need a free place to stay during the project we have two deluxe rooms available in a Forest Service barracks in Independence. The building has a large shared kitchen, two shared bathrooms, a living room, and a laundry. Each room can accommodate one or two people. Manzanar also pays for camping at the Fort Independence Campground.

Manzanar’s next volunteer project will be in Block 14 over Memorial Day weekend. Further details will be available in April. To sign up, for the March project, send e-mail to:

Manzanar National Historic Site is located at 5001 Highway 395, six miles south of Independence, California (see map below). For more information, visit our web site at or call (760) 878-2194.


Manzanar National Historic Site


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