In August of 2011, the Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation opened its doors to the Heart Mountain Interpretive Center, a world-class museum dedicated to passing on the Heart Mountain story to future generations. Through photographs, artifacts, oral histories and the interactive exhibits, guests to the Center experience life at Heart Mountain through the eyes of those Japanese and Japanese Americans that were confined here during WWII. The Center provides an overview of the wartime relocation of Japanese Americans, including the background history of anti-Asian prejudice in America and the factors leading to their enforced relocation and confinement. Special emphasis is given to the experience of incarceration, the diverse personal responses of Japanese Americans to their imprisonment, constitutional issues, violations of civil liberties and civil rights, and the broader issues of race and social justice in the U.S.
The New York Times praised the Interpretive Center for "powerfully commemorating" the "tragic consequences" of the government's wartime imprisonment of Japanese Americans, including "the violation of principle, the loss of property, the inability of internees to pick up their old lives, the suicides, the hatreds, [and] the lost possibilities.”
With the opening of the Center, the Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation looks to the future of the Foundation and the Interpretive Center as we continue our efforts to remind the Nation about the importance of tolerance and the need to balance our concern for national security with a commitment to protect the basic civil rights of all of our citizens.
The Heart Mountain Relocation Center opened in August 1942 and imprisoned more than 14,000 people during its three-year existence. The last incarcerees left the Heart Mountain Relocation Center in November, 1945.
2014 Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence
2012 Interior Exhibit Award (National Association of Interpretation)
2012 Excellence in Exhibition Award for Eloquent Presentation of Topic (Alliance of American Museums)
2012 Harriett “Liz” Byrd Award (Wyoming Education Association)