A new online exhibit created by the Wyoming State Library reveals the story of Wyoming's Heart Mountain Relocation Center, which marked its 75th anniversary this year. On August 12, 1942, the first Japanese-American citizens from the West Coast arrived by train to the internment camp located between Powell and Cody.

The exhibit commemorates life at Heart Mountain using stories from the camp newspaper, The Heart Mountain Sentinel, as well as images from the digital collections of the American Heritage Center. Many of the images are sketches of camp life from the AHC’s Estelle Ishigo collection.

“Reading through the Heart Mountain Sentinel gives you a sense of the everyday activities at the camp,” says Thomas Ivie, Wyoming State Library Research and Statistics Librarian. “It certainly isn’t the whole story, but it does provide details that might not be recorded anywhere else.”

The digital exhibit starts with the story of the forced relocation and explores the life of the camp from farming and education to  medical service and recreation. It also shines light on the Japanese Americans who either enlisted or were drafted from the internment camps and fought in the military.
After the war, those who had been imprisoned at Heart Mountain were left to try to rebuild their lives after losing their homes, businesses, savings, and more. It wasn't until the 1990's that survivors received an apology from the government and redress payments.

You can explore this piece of Wyoming’s history at newspapers.wyo.gov/heart-mountain.

Courtesy Wyoming State Library
Courtesy Wyoming State Library

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