Interpretive Center to Offer Online Programming During Coronavirus Closure

PRESS RELEASE: March 20, 2020

Heart Mountain Interpretive Center will be closed until April 3, in accordance with the public health order issued by Governor Mark Gordon. The hospital grounds, memorial and honor roll, and Setsuko Saito Higuchi Interpretive Trail remain open to the public for self-guided visits and guided tours by appointment. Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation staff will also be offering an exciting variety of online programming during this closure.

While the interpretive center building is closed, visitors are invited to schedule a guided tour of the outdoors grounds with one of the staff. These tours are available by appointment only, on a limited basis, and only to groups of less than nine people, in accordance with current social distancing recommendations. For more information or to schedule a tour, call museum manager Cally Steussy at 307-754-8000, ext. 101.

Beginning Monday, March 23, Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation staff will also begin a weekly schedule of new online content, available through the foundation’s website and social media channels. This online programming schedule will continue through the duration of the interpretive center’s closure.

Online offerings on Mondays will feature live streaming programs focused on various aspects of the site’s history. Tuesdays will highlight multimedia content created by the Heart Mountain community through the years. Wednesdays will focus on the stories of individual artifacts from the foundation’s collections. On Thursdays, Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation Board Chair Shirley Ann Higuchi will present selected readings from her upcoming book, Setsuko’s Secret, which tells the story of her family’s time at the camp. Finally, Fridays will feature virtual tours of the interpretive center and historic site, including areas not yet open to the public, including the original barrack and root cellar.

The “Notable Women of Heart Mountain” program, previously scheduled to be held at the interpretive center at 1 p.m. on Saturday, March 28, will also be moving online. It will take place at the same time, but will be streamed through the Heart Mountain Interpretive Center Facebook page and the Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation YouTube channel.

Dakota Russell, executive director of the Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation, explained that these programs aim to continue the Foundation’s mission as well as to serve the Center’s local and national communities. 

“The history of the Japanese American camps is one of perseverance through hardship,” Russell said. “Our outdoor facilities offer a space where people can enjoy fresh air and explore history while maintaining social distancing measures, and our online content offers those who are self-isolating a chance to experience some of the stories we don’t always have time to tell on a daily basis,” Russell said.