The Visitor Center at Manzanar National Historic Site has instituted winter hours and now opens at 10 a.m. and closes at 4:30 p.m. daily until March 31 (closed Dec. 25).
People arriving between 9 and 10 a.m. can visit the exhibits in Block 14’s barracks and mess hall, as well as drive or walk the square-mile site to see Japanese rock gardens and other features. A restroom is available at the historic Manzanar cemetery on the west side of the site. As always, the site itself is open from dawn to dusk.
In prior years, Manzanar went to winter hours of 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. beginning Nov. 1. This year, the starting date was Oct. 18.
Current staffing levels have necessitated shorter hours for the Visitor Center, but visitors still have the opportunity to learn about the personal experiences of individuals, families, and communities incarcerated at Manzanar in the nearby barracks. Those exhibits feature extensive photos, documents, and quotes illustrating the challenges and changes people faced at Manzanar. Six audio stations and one video station feature a total of 42 oral history clips.
Exhibits in Barracks 1 focus on the early days of Manzanar, when thousands of people arrived to an unfinished camp. Barracks 1 also includes a block manager’s office, featuring the papers of Block Manager Chokichi Nakano. Barracks 8 features an “improved” apartment with linoleum and wall board. A second room explores the loyalty questionnaire and its profound long-lasting impacts.
Manzanar National Historic Site is located at 5001 Hwy. 395, six miles south of Independence. Admission is free. For further information, call (760) 878-2194, ext. 3310, or go online to www.nps.gov/manz or www.facebook.com/ManzanarNationalHistoricSite.