Capital Region Cares Capital Region Cares 2017-2018 - Page 26

n Feature M arielle Tsukamoto has a vivid memory of the brance Program and the traveling trunk program all fit into day her family left for the internment camp one of the museum’s stated goals: to let people know the im- during World War II. She remembers standing portance they have in California history. “We want to encourage our students and visitors to think in the backyard of her family’s farmhouse in Florin as a little girl, where she found her grandmother sob- about how they can personally make a difference in our state,” Meeker says. bing in the lovingly-tended garden. On the grounds of the museum is a dramatic art dis- “She feared she would never see her precious garden play called the Constitution Wall. It stands six stories tall, again,” Tsukamoto says. The Tsukamoto family was among the 120,000 Amer- and words like “rights,” “redress,” “assemble” and “speak” icans relocated to camps during the war because of their — words selected from the California Constitution — are Japanese heritage. Many of these individuals had less than highlighted, reminding visitors of the freedoms guaranteed 48-hours notice before a mandatory evacuation forced them to all Californians. “We take the students at the museum out to view the into an assembly center, and then into one of 10, nationwide constitution wall,” Meeker says. “The word ‘speak’ pops out incarceration camps. Tsukamoto is now a volunteer docent at the California from the state Constitution. We ask the students to consid- Museum in downtown Sacramento where she helps visitors er why that word is prominent. We ask them to think about how any of this applies in the understand the person- present.” al impact that Executive Uprooted! features the Order 9066 had on the stories of local members of lives of many Americans the Japanese-American com- — including her. She of- munity, beginning after the ten speaks about her per- bombing of Pearl Harbor. sonal experience at events Photographs, art, an interac- across Northern Califor- tive map and a reproduction nia. of camp barracks help bring “I’m obligated to share to life the realities of incar- our story,” Tsukamoto ceration. The exhibit also says, “Since most people showcases a video series with that were incarcerated — Marielle Tsukamoto, volunteer docent, California Museum oral histories from formerly have already passed. I interned Americans, includ- still have a voice. I have to speak out and help people understand what happened in ing a video from actor and activist George Takei. “Uprooted! tells my story,” Takei says in a video intro- 1942, because history does repeat itself.” Visitors to the museum hear personal stories of intern- duction he recorded for the museum. Takei’s mother lived in ment at the permanent exhibit Uprooted! Japanese Amer- Sacramento prior to marrying his father and moving to Los icans During WWII. New features of the exhibit were in- Angeles. His maternal grandparents were farmers from the stalled in early 2017 through a grant from the National Parks Florin area. “I still remember my mother’s tears on the day Service. The nonprofit California Museum has been open armed guards marched up our driveway and ordered us out for nearly 20 years and is located at the corner of 10th and of our home,” he says into the camera. In his message to museum visitors, Takei says he hopes O streets. This is the only general-focus history museum in the U.S. to feature a permanent exhibit on internment. The the exhibit will provoke people to think about what it means Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles also to be fair and just, and what it means to be “American.” He educates visitors on the topic and The Smithsonian used to says that each individual has power to stop something like this from happening again in the future. have an exhibit, which has since closed. “As with all human tragedies, time erodes memory, and According to Amanda Meeker, executive director of the California Museum, the Uprooted! exhibit, Time of Remem- it becomes easy to minimize the significance of what hap- “I’m obligated to share our story, since most people that were incarcerated have already passed. I still have a voice.” 26 CAPITAL REGION CARES 2017 | comstocksmag.com