Got any photos or documents on the Japanese community before Executive Order 9066?

You are invited to contribute to a future exhibition in the Great Hall of Washington History, home of the Washington State History Museum’s permanent exhibitions that tell the story of Washington State

With material sourced from the community that focuses on the Japanese American experience in Washington State, the museum is developing content for possible use in future exhibits, educational materials, or digital web-based media. For this purpose, the Washington State History Museum is seeking the following materials:

drawings or paintings

The museum’s intention in curating this exhibition is to tell the story of the events leading up to the issuance of Executive Order 9066, what happened to communities across the state immediately as a result, and where people settled after camp, as well as the residual impact on Japanese American communities after WWII through today.

To accomplish this, we are asking members of the community to share with us any of their personal stories, photographs, and objects that might help to inform our exhibition.


We are partnering with Densho Digital Archives to scan these items on the spot at our Community Scanning Days and record your history for potential use in museum materials. Community Scanning Days will be held at the Washington State History Museum in downtown Tacoma on Thursday, August 15 and Thursday, September 19, 2019 from 3-7pm. Our hope is to gather materials that help tell the story with more geographic diversity from around the state.

Participants can sign up for dates and times in advance by completing this web form:  We ask participants be prepared to bring up to 5 items. Depending on the quantity of materials, we may seek to set up additional times with individuals to be scanned at a different date and time.

As a thank you, participants will receive a 2GB thumb drive with their scanned digital content as well as archival envelopes and folders to store materials. WSHS will also provide resources about best practices for storing your collection items that will help to preserve them.

The Japanese influence on Tacoma is deep and rich, but in the downtown area, where it flourished most, it is barely visible.  Photo: Morf Morford

The Japanese influence on Tacoma is deep and rich, but in the downtown area, where it flourished most, it is barely visible. Photo: Morf Morford

We would so appreciate you sharing information about these upcoming events and spread the word about the future exhibition at the Washington State History Museum.

Please feel free to forward this email, share information from our website at, or share our Facebook events:


      – Washington State Historical Society


Editor’s Note:

To get an introduction to the Japanese American experience of this era, I recommend this column from the Tacoma Community History Project –

UWT and the Tacoma Public Library’s Northwest Room also have archives and photos on this neglected chapter of local history.