New Special Exhibition
IMAGES OF INTERNMENT: THE INCARCERATION OF JAPANESE AMERICANS DURING WORLD WAR II
On February 19, 2017 -- the 75th anniversary of the signing of Executive Order 9066 -- the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum opened a new photographic exhibition entitled, IMAGES OF INTERNMENT: THE INCARCERATION OF JAPANESE AMERICANS DURING WORLD WAR II, with over 200 photographs including the work of Dorothea Lange and Ansel Adams. Signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Executive Order 9066 led to the incarceration of 120,000 people of Japanese descent -- including approximately 80,000 American citizens -- during World War II. The exhibit will be on display in the Library's William J. vanden Heuvel Gallery through December 31, 2017. Regular hours and admission apply.
In the tense weeks after Japan's December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, many Americans -- particularly those on the Pacific Coast -- feared enemy attack and saw danger in every corner. Rumors and sensational media reports heightened the climate of fear. Under pressure from military and political leaders, President Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066 on February 19, 1942. It is widely viewed today as a serious violation of civil liberties.
IMAGES OF INTERNMENT begins with a small document-focused display that briefly introduces the context behind FDR's decision to issue Executive Order 9066. It includes the role of First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, who disagreed with FDR's decision. In April 1943, the First Lady visited an internment camp. Shortly after that the Japanese American Citizens League presented her with a painting of the Topaz camp by Chiura Obata (1885-1975), a Japanese American artist who was confined there. Mrs. Roosevelt displayed the painting in her New York City home until her death in 1962. It is included in the exhibition.
Visitors then enter the exhibition's main gallery where they will encounter over 200 photographs (including some reproduced in dramatically large formats) that provide a visual record of the forced removal of Japanese Americans and their lives inside the restricted world of the remote government camps operated by the War Relocation Authority (WRA). Most of these images were shot by skilled photographers hired by the WRA. The WRA visual records (held at the National Archives and Records Administration in College Park, Maryland) include the work of Dorothea Lange, Clem Albers, Francis Stewart, and Hikaru Iwasaki. IMAGES OF INTERNMENT also features photographs taken by Ansel Adams at the Manzanar camp and a selection of photos shot by George and Frank Hirahara, who were held at the Heart Mountain camp in Wyoming.
The exhibit includes a short film that features excerpts from oral history accounts of Japanese Americans in which they describe their experiences. There is also a video presentation of President Ronald Reagan's remarks when he signed the 1988 bill that provided an official government apology and cash payment to each surviving person covered under Executive Order 9066.
The National Archives holds hundreds of thousands of records relating to the internment, including the personal records of those detained, films of life in the camps, and documentation of the administration of the camps.
Related Online Resources:
FDR Library Online Exhibit/Virtual Tour
FDR Library - Japanese American Internment: World War II “Teachable Moment”
Japanese American internment video, from the FDR Library’s Pare Lorentz Center
FDR and Japanese American Internment
Japanese Relocation During World War II
SETSUKO WINCHESTER: FREEDOM FROM FEAR/YELLOW BOWL PROJECT
In conjunction with our current special exhibition, IMAGES OF INTERNMENT, the Roosevelt Library is presenting this exhibit of contemporary images by photographer and ceramicist Setsuko Winchester.
During 2015-2016, Winchester traveled the nation on a 16,000-mile journey to visit locations associated with the incarceration of 120,000 people of Japanese descent during World War II. At each place, she created a photograph featuring 120 yellow tea bowls that she created in her Massachusetts studio. Each bowl symbolizes 1000 individuals. Their color, Winchester notes, “represents the ‘Yellow Peril,’ as Asians were euphemistically referred to at the time.”
“My project may throw light on a discomfiting part of American history,” she observes, “but I hope not to condemn or blame, but help gauge where we are in this ever-evolving experiment we call ‘America.’”
Permanent Exhibit at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum
The Roosevelt Library’s new permanent museum exhibits were recently installed with $6 million in private funds raised by the Roosevelt Institute, the Library’s private, non-profit partner.
The new exhibits tell the story of the Roosevelt presidency beginning in the depths of the Great Depression and continuing through the New Deal and World War II with an emphasis on both Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt’s relationship with the American people.
Special interactives, immersive audio‐visual theaters, and rarely seen artifacts convey the dramatic story of the Roosevelt era as the Roosevelt Library brings a “New Deal to a New Generation.”
The new museum contains many interactive exhibits including touch screen experiences at the Oval Office Desk and FDR's Ford Phaeton. "Confront the Issues" are ten interactive touch screens strategically located throughout the exhibition that offer visitors the opportunity to explore digital "flipbooks"that contain documents, photographs, and excerpts from historians -- with multiple viewpoints -- related to controversial issues during Franklin D. Roosevelt's presidency. Topics include "Japanese American Internment," FDR and the Holocaust," "FDR's Health," and "Did the New Deal Really Work?"
The new galleries feature two immersive Fireside Chat Environments. Each of these environments will have a radio and period furnishings, inviting visitors to sit and listen. After the Chat audio concludes, visitors can hear readings of actual letters -- representing a variety of opinions -- giving the visitor a chance to hear how Americans felt about the president’s leadership during the Depression and World War II. The 500 square foot Map Room exhibit recreates FDR’s secret White House Map Room. The walls within the room also feature projections of maps and timelines of key battles and decisions, as well as animations. Visitors can follow along with the maps just as FDR did, and understand the importance and context of his strategies.
At the center of the Map Room are six interactive tables featuring animation and videos, spotlights on key countries and meetings that took place during the war, and trivia quiz opportunities. It also displays memos, calendars, and multiple maps used by FDR and his military advisers.
“Behind the Scenes” provides visitors with an extraordinary opportunity to see large numbers of museum objects that don’t appear in the permanent exhibition. This special area of the new museum features storerooms with large glass viewing areas making it possible for visitors to get a special peek into the collections of the President and First Lady. Here, visitors can see FDR’s model ship collection, his 1936 Ford Phaeton (with hand-controls), Val-Kill furniture, family paintings and portraits, New Deal art and gifts of state.
Online Exhibit: Art of the New Deal
Art of the New Deal features a selection of New Deal art from the collections of the FDR Library. Click the link above or the image to the left to enter the online exhibit.
Traveling and Joint Exhibitions
The museum maintains an active program of traveling exhibitions. We also present joint exhibitions with other museums and libraries. Contact Supervisory Museum Curator Herman Eberhardt if you are interested in bringing one of our traveling exhibits to your institution.
This Great Nation Will Endure: Photographs of the Great Depression
Stauth Memorial Museum
March 9-June 8, 2014
FDR: His Vision, Our Freedoms, Still Alive | Download the Exhibit Banners
Banners Along the Hudson: FDR's Hudson River Collections | Download the Exhibit Banners