A water-color painting by an unknown Japanese-American artist at an internment camp. Photo courtesy of Rago Arts & Auction Center.
A watercolor painting by an unknown Japanese-American artist at an internment camp. Photo courtesy of Rago Arts & Auction Center.

More than 400 pieces of art created by Japanese-Americans during World War II, as they were locked up in concentration camps across the western United States, have been acquired by LA’s Japanese-American National Museum.

The collection includes artifacts and photographs collected by Allen Hendershott Eaton, who wrote a book in 1952 publicizing the injustice of America’s relocation camps, where American citizens of Japanese decent were locked up by order of President Franklin Roosevelt, away from the Pacific Coast. They were going to be auctioned off at the Rago Arts and Auction Center in New Jersey last month, but a storm of social media protests put a stop to that.

Museum officials said they worked through the auction house and the seller to prevent the collection from beiung broken up among various collectors.

“All of us can take to heart that our voices were heard and that these items will be preserved and the people who created them during a very dark period in our history will be honored,” Takei said. “The collection will now reside at the preeminent American museum that tells the story of the Japanese American Experience.”

The acquisition announcement was made during the museum’s annual Gala Dinner on Saturday at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel. Takei, an actor, activist and Internet humorist, was honored with the museum’s Distinguished Medal of Honor for Lifetime Achievement and Public Service.

The new collection include nameplates carved from wood that were once attached to tar-paper barracks, as well as oil and watercolor paintings by Japanese-American families living in the camps during World War II.

City News Servie

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