The Japanese American National Museum debuted new pre-conservation photography of the Allen Hendershott Eaton Collection, which it acquired last year, on Flickr last Friday.
The date, April 15, coincides with the one-year anniversary of the cancellation of a public auction of the collection.
The public is invited to visit http://flickr.com/jamuseum and view images of about 150 artifacts from the collection. Those with information about the origins of specific items are encouraged to share details as comments on Flickr.
The collection also includes about 300 photographs taken in America’s concentration camps, mostly by the War Relocation Authority (WRA). These images will be added to Flickr in the coming month. Many have been seen before and most are in the public domain.
“The Japanese American community and its friends saved these items from a fate that would have broken them up and failed to honor their history and respect their value. The Japanese American National Museum is ever grateful to those who helped and we are now very pleased to share photographs of these important artifacts with the public,” said Norman Y. Mineta, chairman of the JANM Board of Trustees.
Allen Hendershott Eaton collected the art and artifacts while Japanese Americans were incarcerated in camps during World War II. In 1952, his book “Beauty Behind Barbed Wire: The Art of the Japanese in Our War Relocation Camps” was published, with Eaton’s intent being to call attention to the injustice of the camps and the resilience of the Japanese Americans even in the face of their circumstances. He had also planned to create an exhibition of the artifacts, but that never came to fruition.
The majority of the artifacts, other than the WRA photographs, are in need of significant conservation work and JANM is preparing them for that process. Following that work, the museum hopes to make some of the art and artifacts available for public viewing.
For more information on the museum, which is located in Little Tokyo, visit www.janm.org or call (213) 625-0414.