Japanese American National Museum
Assessing a Multi-State Partnership

The Japanese American National Museum received a National Leadership Grant of almost $1 million from the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to expand its ground-breaking effort to develop new scholarship and K-12 curriculum on the unlawful incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II and contemporary implications regarding Constitutional guarantees for all Americans. The National Museum engaged WolfBrown to document and assess this new collaborative work, which involved teams in five states of the interior West where Japanese Americans were interned. (Enduring Communities, as the initiative was known, was modeled on Life Interrupted, which WolfBrown had also evaluated. Life Interrupted focused on the World War II experience of Japanese Americans in the Arkansas Delta, where two camps were located.)

Based on what was learned in Arkansas, WolfBrown’s consultant advised on the launch of the new collaborations and, over the course of three years, interviewed members of the five states’ curriculum development teams, attending meetings at which they gathered. She also spoke with more than a dozen volunteers who assisted with the Who’s America? Whose America? Conference held in Denver at which the new curriculum and scholarship were high-lighted. The final report examined patterns in how these individuals engaged with the goals of the initiative, in effect carrying forward the National Museum’s mission in their personal activities and commitments.

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