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Dec. 20, 2016
The Art of Survival: Enduring the Turmoil of Tule Lake
New Chandler Museum exhibit explores Japanese American Segregation Center of World War II
Chandler Museum is hosting The Art of Survival: Enduring the Turmoil of Tule Lake, a traveling exhibit that explores the experiences of Japanese Americans at Tule Lake, Calif., during World War II. The Tule Lake Segregation Center and nearby Camp Tulelake were both used to incarcerate Japanese Americans forcibly removed from the west coast of the United States. Many prisoners from Arizona’s Gila River Internment Camp were transferred to Tule Lake during the war.
The exhibit opens on Dec. 27, 2016, and runs through Jan. 27, 2017, at the Chandler Museum, 300 S. Chandler Village Drive (southwest of Chandler Fashion Center). Museum hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and admission is free. An opening reception for the exhibit will be held from 6 - 8 p.m., Friday, Jan. 6, featuring tours of the exhibit from museum staff.
Tule Lake Segregation CenterThe exhibition probes the complexity of this unique Japanese American confinement site, which was located in Newell, Calif. During WWII, there were 120,000 people of Japanese descent who were incarcerated in internment camps. Tule Lake became the only officially designated segregation center and was ruled under martial law. This location was the largest of the 10 confinement sites and, because anyone deemed a troublemaker by the federal government was relocated to Tule Lake, it ultimately housed people who had once been at one of the 10 sites.
Through haunting images of artifacts by fine art photographer Hiroshi Watanabe, the exhibit is a glimpse into the lives of those who were held at Tule Lake and visitors are encouraged to consider both the orchestration of life behind barbed wire and what it might have been like to live with constant uncertainty. Oral histories allow visitors to read varying views on some of the complex issues of Tule Lake expressed in the voices of those held captive.
“This exhibit is significant not only because of the role the incarceration centers played in history, but there were many individuals who were sent to Tule Lake from the Gila River Internment Camp, only a few miles from Chandler,” said Chandler Museum Administrator Jody Crago. “Through their conscientious dissent, the prisoners at Tule Lake were ironically acting in the most American way by standing up for their rights and to the injustice of incarceration.”
Chandler’s Museum and Public Library are collaborating on an ongoing series (through April 2017) called America in Times of Conflict that explores the stories and perspectives that emerged in our community during conflicts in American history, including WWII, Korean War, Vietnam War and recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. For more information on these events, call 782-2717 or visit


About Chandler Museum
The Chandler Museum is an interdisciplinary learning environment where the community comes together to share its stories, preserve its cultural heritage and experience Chandler as a people and place. The vision of the Museum is to be the community’s principal resource to explore its people’s history, culture, and their place in a rapidly changing world of today – within and without the walls of a building. More at
Exhibition Support
Art of Survival is being supported in part by a Preservation of Japanese American Confinement Sites Grant administered by the National Park Service, Department of the Interior. Further support provided by The Oregon Community Foundation, Fred W. Fields Fund; Klamath Tourism Grant; Klamath Arts Council Grant; and generous donations by Denshō Digital Archives, Japanese American Museum of San Jose, Tule Lake Committee members Jimi Yamaichi and Hiroshi Shimizu, and Hiroshi Watanabe. This traveling exhibition was made in cooperation with the Tule Lake Unit of WWII Valor in the Pacific National Monument, Lava Beds National Monument, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
About Exhibit Envoy
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