The Manzanar Interpretive Center is located in the historic Manzanar High School Auditorium. This building was created with a stage for performances. Today we sometimes host performances using the stage. The stage also makes a great place to display paintings, photography, mixed media presentations, and other temporary exhibits. All exhibits on the stage are free and open to the public. Please check back later for information on upcoming exhibits.
Photo Courtesy of Michael Heivly
February 6 - March 29, 2008
The photographs of Michael Heivly do more than document the remains of Manzanar War Relocation Center. In the photo exhibit Images of Manzanar, Mr. Heivly presents images that focus on the basic foundations of Manzanar, both physical and metaphorical, and the signatures imprinted in the concrete by internees who built many camp features. Images of Manzanar will be on display at the Manzanar Interpretive Center now through March 29, 2008.
Since receiving his M.F.A. from the University of Colorado in 1972 Mr. Heivly has had a number of solo exhibitions. In 1984 he was named a Distinguished Artist of the California State Universities and is currently an Artist/Fellow of Project InterCommunication Center, Tokyo, Japan. Mr. Heivly has taught extensively and is currently Professor of Art at California State University, Bakersfield.
One gallery director said of Mr. Heivly’s photographs, “They speak poetically of loss, melancholy, and silent complicity.” His series of related images prompted another reviewer to write, “Repetition helps viewers physically slow down as they move through the exhibit, allowing them to meditate on what it truly means for Manzanar to have existed.”
August 25, 2007 - January 13, 2008
Most people don’t think of wartime internment camps as humorous. But former internee Jack Masuoka not only found humor in a dark situation, he also found a way to share his experiences by drawing cartoons. Masuoka’s historic cartoons, while depicting adverse conditions, find the light side of life in camp. Taken together they offer insight into the uncertainty and anxiety of those times, while celebrating the resiliency of the human spirit. Manzanar National Historic Site, in partnership with the Japanese American Museum of San Jose, hosts a show of Masuoka’s cartoons at the Manzanar Interpretive Center now through November 12, 2007.
Masuoka was a teenager when he and his family were sent to Poston, Arizona, one of ten War Relocation Authority camps like Manzanar. They were among more than 120,000 Japanese Americans held in camps during World War II. Through his timeless cartoons, Jack Masuoka captures facets of daily life behind barbed wire.
Masuoka’s cartoons are now captured in a book, POSTON CAMP II, BLOCK 211. He still draws cartoons professionally and is a member of the National Cartoonist Society.
June 23 - August 5, 2007
Manzanar National Historic Site has a long history of interpretation and commemoration through painting, photography, words, and song. In that spirit, Manzanar welcomed its first volunteer Artists-in-Residence in 2006. Jamie and Melissa Poulsen, a mother-daughter team with family connections to the Japanese American internment experience, spent part of last summer exploring the site, painting, and writing poetry inspired by Manzanar’s layers of history.
Preparing to come to Manzanar, Jamie Poulsen expressed her wish to “artistically explore the heritage of my family: the internment and the lasting effects that this experience has had on myself, my family, and my community.” Please visit us to see the Poulsens' paintings and poetry on display at the Manzanar Interpretive Center.
Did You Know?
Eight guard towers were built around the perimeter of the camp. They were staffed by Military Police with submachine guns. In 2005 the National Park Service rebuilt one of the guard towers.