Japanese American life in Washington is latest state history museum exhibit


TACOMA… February 2017 marks the 75th anniversary of President Franklin Roosevelt’s signing of Executive Order 9066, which led to the incarceration of Japanese Americans up and down the west coast of the United States. To commemorate that defining moment in state and national history, the Washington State History Museum will launch its latest exhibit, Filled with Grace – Japanese Americans in the South Sound, with a symposium on Feb. 4.

“A look at the prewar history of Washington’s Japanese American community reveals a vibrant, integrated and thriving culture that was cut short by the executive order,” said Jennifer Kilmer, Director of the Washington State Historical Society. “These U.S. citizens were farmers, merchants, loggers, oyster harvesters, hoteliers, and more. That all changed in 1942 when they were unjustly incarcerated, and our symposium and exhibit will provide a deep, thoughtful look at those events.” 

The exhibit, named for a line of poetry written by one of those detained in 1942, will be on display at the museum through May 21. The Filled with Grace Symposium commemorates the Day of Remembrance and kicks off the exhibit opening on Feb. 4 from 12-5 p.m. A collaboration between the Society and the Asia Pacific Cultural Center, the symposium will feature dramatic presentations, displays, exhibit tours, featured presenters, readings and reflections, taiko drummers, and a traditional Japanese tea ceremony. 

The Washington State History Museum, located at 1911 Pacific Ave. in Tacoma, is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Admission for members is always free. Paid admission is $12 for adults, $8 for seniors, students and military veterans with ID, and free for children under 5. Patrons with a Washington Quest card can attend for $1 per person or $2 per family. Admission is free after 2 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month when the museum stays open until 8 p.m.