News Release

Archaeology Program Receives Governor's Award

Dust flies as three volunteers with shovels dig out the upper pond at Merritt Park
Dust flies as volunteers dig out the upper pond at Merritt Park, the largest garden in Manzanar.

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News Release Date: January 30, 2020

Contact: Alisa Lynch, 760-878-2194, ext. 3311

Contact: Jeff Burton, 760-878-2194, ext. 3305

The California Office of Historic Preservation and California State Parks presented Manzanar National Historic Site a 2019 Governor's Historic Preservation Award for its Manzanar Community Archeology program. The award recognizes significant achievements in preserving the heritage of California. Manzanar’s arborist David Goto was joined by numerous volunteers and stakeholders in accepting the award.
Since 2003, Manzanar’s Community Archeology Program has provided a unique platform for volunteers to learn about the personal and political consequences of racism, within a historical context. Through archeology and historic preservation projects, volunteers are discovering, documenting, and restoring landscape features that tell the stories of Manzanar to more than 100,000 visitors per year.
Manzanar’s Cultural Resources Program Manager Jeff Burton explains, “The story is not just about mass incarceration: it is also about human resilience. The program has uncovered not just building foundations and communal latrine slabs, but also gardens and basketball courts, and traces of the Paiute, ranchers, and farmers who lived at the site long before the Manzanar camp.”
According to Superintendent Bernadette Johnson, “Receiving the Governor's Award honors the hundreds of volunteers who have dedicated time, energy, and passion to Manzanar's restoration efforts. Congratulations to Jeff Burton, Manzanar's Cultural Resource Program Manager, the cultural resources staff, and the many volunteers who make it possible for visitors to see these special historical features, and gain a glimpse of the past.”
Community Archeology volunteers have come from Owens Valley towns and across the U.S., as well as from Japan. They have ranged in age from 9 to over 90, and represent diverse communities and experiences. Often, multiple generations of Japanese Americans and tribal members work alongside inner-city youth and local residents, sharing their experiences and perspectives.
Manzanar’s upcoming Community Archeology projects are set for March 12-16 and March 19-23, 2020. Volunteers are invited to assist with uncovering, restoring, and preserving the Childrens Village orphanage and hospital sitea. 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. Volunteers must sign up in advance. For more information call Jeff Burton at 760-878-2194 ext. 3305 or e-mail us

Manzanar National Historic Site is located at 5001 Highway 395, six miles south of Independence and nine miles north of Lone Pine, California. Learn more on our web site at or on our Facebook page at

Last updated: February 7, 2020

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Mailing Address:

Manzanar National Historic Site
P.O. Box 426
5001 Highway 395

Independence, CA 93526


(760)878-2194 x3310
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