Architecture of Internment: The Build Up to Wartime Incarceration

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"Suitable for Camp" Blueprint of Potential Incarceration Camps in Oregon.


This traveling exhibit highlights the role of Oregonians in the decision to incarcerate Japanese Americans and Japanese immigrants. 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry, two-thirds of them U.S. citizens, were incarcerated during World War II.

In this exhibit you will see:

- Personal letters and proclamations from Oregonians to Governor Sprague in 1941 and 1942, advocating for the exclusion and incarceration of Oregonian Japanese Americans.

- The Oregon Governor’s response to these letters and proclamations revealing his changing position under political and social pressure.

- Blueprints of potential “Assembly Center” and “Relocation Camp” locations such as race tracks and fairgrounds.

- Letters from Japanese Americans expressing outrage about the injustice.

Scheduled exhibit locations range from the Oregon Historical Society, APANO, the annual Oregon farmworker convention at PCUN and the Muslim Educational Trust to a rural tour with Rural Organizing Project throughout Oregon.

The exhibit is available for use in Oregon and around the country. For more information, contact info(at)

What people are saying about this exhibit:

"It was very moving and emotional." 
- High school student

 "It is so thoughtfully put together. So, so stirring, infuriating and empowering to have this all in one place. A tremendous wealth of information is here - and it is devastating and necessary." 
- Arts advocate

"I am amazed by the depth of the research in this presentation. As someone who is familiar with much of the material, I learned more about the widespread involvement of business, citizen's groups and governmental agencies in expelling Oregonians from their homes." 
- Public artist

 "It is so heartbreaking and terrifying and so, so important to bear witness to the tragedies of history and today." 
- Immigration attorney

"It made us better understand our own individual histories and allowed us to connect with other communities who have faced discrimination and adversity. Made us feel more connected as API's!"
- Staff at APANO (Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon)

"The exhibit had tremendous educational value. Many students had assumed that people were uncomfortable with the prospect of Japanese American internment, when in reality, much of the population supported FDR's order. Overall, it was a great experience for the students and one they won't soon forget."
- High school teacher

The Oregonian: Pilgrimage Marks Anniversary of Japanese Internment

Funded in part by:

Thank you to our generous sponsors:

Densho: The Japanese American Legacy Project
Oregon Nikkei Endowment
Morel Ink

Exhibit Graphic Design by Bryan Potter Design