The Museum’s longest running exhibit, “Uprooted! Japanese
Americans During WWII,” surveys a century of Japanese American
history in California.
Japanese immigrants and their American-born children overcame
racial prejudice as they established businesses and farms, built
thriving communities and contributed to the state’s prosperity.
Following the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, they
faced increased hostility and discrimination.
The tension came to head when President Franklin D. Roosevelt
signed Executive Order 9066 on February 19, 1942. Under the
order, military commanders could designate “military areas” as
“exclusion zones,” from which “any or all persons may be
excluded.” The order cleared the way for the forced removal of
all Japanese Americans from the West Coast. By the spring of
1942, 120,000 Japanese Americans were forced to into
hastily-built “Assembly Centers” in fairgrounds and racetracks.
Eventually they were moved to ten long-term incarceration centers
in isolated areas, including Manzanar and Tule Lake in
Following the history of Japanese Americans in California,
visitors experience life behind barbed wire in a re-created
barracks and hear first-person stories of the incarceration
through interactive video kiosks. The exhibit includes
photographs, art and artifacts from the Japanese American
Archival Collection at Sacramento State and private lenders.
Continuing through the 1980s, the exhibit also chronicles how
Japanese Americans overcame the hardships of incarceration and
worked to establish their lives and their communities, and
ultimately won redress for their wartime losses.