PHOTOS: Groundbreaking Held for Topaz Museum

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A groundbreaking ceremony was held Aug. 4 for the Topaz Museum and Education Center in Delta, Utah, located near the site of a camp where Japanese Americans were held during World War II. The Murakami family from Salt Lake City (pictured) participated along with internees from the San Francisco Bay Area and representatives of the Manzanar National Historic Site in California. Topaz was about 16 miles northwest of Delta and housed some 11,000 people from 1942 to 1945. (NPS/Manzanar NHS)

A rendering of the 8,254-square-foot museum, which will cost $2.3 million. It will include exhibits, a library and an art gallery. (NPS/Manzanar NHS)

Singer and former internee Toru Saito and Rose Masters, Manzanar National Historic Site researcher. During a visit to Topaz, Saito was able to find his old block and dig up marbles he had buried as a child. (NPS/Manzanar NHS)

Groundbreaking participants included (from left) Fred Kochi of the Gold Hill Wakamatsu Colony Committee; Alisa Lynch, chief of interpretation at Manzanar National Historic Site; and Disney cartoonist and former Topaz internee Willie Ito. (NPS/Manzanar NHS)

Kenshin, a taiko group from Salt Lake City, performs at Delta City Park. (NPS/Manzanar NHS)

Restored Topaz recreation hall at the Great Basin Museum in Delta. (NPS/Manzanar NHS)

Dishware and utensils from Topaz at the Great Basin Museum in Delta. (NPS/Manzanar NHS)

Remnants of the camp's sewer pump station. (NPS/Manzanar NHS)

Left: Jane Beckwith, head of the Topaz Museum’s board, greets a friend before the ceremony. Right: The color guard consisted of Marvin Prince, Manley Abbott and Rod Ivie. (NPS/Manzanar NHS)

A handmade sign placed in memory of James Wakasa, a 63-year-old internee who was shot and killed near the barbed-wire fence by a guard who claimed that Wakasa was trying to escape. The guard was court-martialed but was found not guilty. (NPS/Manzanar NHS)

Left: A model of Topaz barracks at the Great Basin Museum. Right: A sign designating the site of the internment camp. (NPS/Manzanar NHS)


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  1. My parents met and married while they were in Topaz. I have a trunk full of letters, photos, a cabinet that was made by an internee and other miscellaneous memorabilia from their time in camp. Would like to donate to the museum.

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