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The internment camps may have been a dark time in American history, but that doesn’t mean the men, women and children of Japanese ancestry who were forced to leave behind their lives after Pearl Harbor don’t deserve to have their experiences remembered. For years, there has been a push to create a museum in Delta, Utah that would showcase the Topaz Internment Camp that operated between 1942 and 1945. For the first time on Saturday, there was real tangible progress in getting that goal accomplished.
According to CBS, officials broke ground over the weekend on a $2.3 million dollar project called the Topaz Museum and Education Center. The finished product is designed to include more than eight thousand square feet of exhibits, libraries and art galleries showcasing some of the stunning artwork the camp’s inhabitants created during their stays at Topaz.
More than one hundred and thirty people showed up for Saturday’s festivities, some of whom actually spent portions of their childhoods inside the camp’s walls. Many brought children, grandchildren and even great-grandchildren to get a glimpse of the groundbreaking. With any luck, they should be able to return in a few years to check out the finished product.
The point of museums isn’t to remember history as we wish it happened. It’s to remember history as it actually happened, and when we look back, the internment camps need to be visible. This is a good step toward making sure that happens.