Architectural rendering of the National Museum of the U.S. Army. (Army Museum Foundation)
Architectural rendering of the National Museum of the U.S. Army. (Army Museum Foundation)

WASHINGTON — The Japanese American Veterans Association (JAVA) is working closely with the Center of Military History (CMH) and the Army Historical Foundation on exhibits that will relate the history of the Nisei experience during World War II.

The exhibits will be displayed at the National Museum of the United States Army, which is scheduled to open in June 2015. Over 40 acres of land will house the museum on Fort Belvoir in Virginia, about 20 miles south of Washington, D.C. It will be the pre-eminent museum for the Army.

CMH plans to include a permanent exhibit honoring the 100th Infantry Battalion and 442nd Regimental Combat Team but does not have any artifacts in its holdings for the permanent exhibit. The center has asked for JAVA’s help to obtain artifacts, including clothing, insignia, subsistence items, equipment, documents (other than photographs, posters, and motion pictures), artwork, and any other item that can be associated with either military unit or a member of either unit.

Donations are preferred as there are strict rules regarding loans of artifacts. Since loans are limited to only five years, the center may not accept a loan given the investment that is needed to preserve the loaned artifacts. Artifacts that are accepted for donation will greatly assist in commemorating the dedication and courage of those that served in the 442nd RCT.

JAVA will work with CMH to determine the acceptability of donations. A photograph or description of each proposed donation would be useful. If the artifact is suitable, the center and donor will enter into a “gift agreement.”

JAVA has been informed by the center that there will be permanent displays of the 24 Americans of Japanese ancestry who have won the Medal of Honor (21 from World War II, one from Korea, two from Vietnam). In addition, the Army and Society Gallery will have an exhibit telling of the Nisei experience during World War II; a commemorative brick for the 100th/442nd and Military Intelligence Service will be placed on the walkway to the museum entrance; and individual soldier stories will be featured on a temporary basis in the Soldiers Gallery.

If you have an artifact that you want to donate, contact JAVA President Gerald Yamada at gyamada@goingforwardstrategies or (703) 938-3074.

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