Moving Forward at Manzanar

It’s officially been two weeks, more or less, since I started my internship at MNHS, and this place is getting busy! I’m so pleased to say that this past week has been highly productive. While doing research on the Owens Valley Paiute for the exhibit I’m working on, I made a trip to the Eastern California Museum (ECM), which is about fifteen minutes north of Manzanar. It houses the most spectacular collection of Native American basketry I have ever seen. The museum’s curator, Roberta Harlan, has an extensive knowledge of the cultural and natural history of Inyo County and the Eastern Sierra. She often has people reaching out to her for help sources on their research papers. They have an impressive archive, and you can find out more about them here.

Owens Valley Paiute baskets on display at the Eastern California Museum.


Panamint Shoshone baskets on display at the Eastern California Museum.

  My supervisor and I also met with the Paiute-Shoshone family from Lone Pine and made some solid plans to move forward with their exhibit. It seems that they are just as enthusiastic about the project as we are and it’s very satisfying to see the project moving forward. The family has a personal connection to Manzanar that dates back to the early 20th-century and they gave us more insight into their family history in our initial meeting. The family has also agreed to share some of their personal items and photographs with us so that that we can help preserve them for future generations to see. The exhibit will offer a glimpse of Paiute life in the Owens Valley through their eyes. My other project is to develop a garden walking tour for the park. I’ll be implementing components from some previous comprehensive work done by our archaeologist, Jeff Burton. The plan is to develop a small booklet/brochure highlighting different routes that will take visitors throughout the park to see the Japanese gardens that have been uncovered. All routes are marked by distance and time, making it more convenient for visitors to determine what they’d like to see depending on how much time they have to spend on the site.

The Arai Fish Pond will be a key feature on the garden walking tour.

There is a lot to do and learn from here at Manzanar, which is why my posts are a bit lengthy. For that reason, I will do a separate blog post with pictures of the different Japanese gardens that will be featured in the garden walking tour. Hopefully, they’ll encourage some of you to visit soon! Until then, adiós!

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