Group shot of workshop participants in front of Heart Mountain

National Endowment for the Humanities Awards Heart Mountain Another Landmarks Grant

The Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation has received its fourth consecutive Landmarks of American History and Culture grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to conduct workshops for educators to study the Japanese American incarceration during World War II. 

The “Heart Mountain, Wyoming, and the Japanese American Incarceration” program will bring 72 teachers from around the country to Heart Mountain to learn about the causes and effects of the decision to incarcerate more than 120,000 people because of their Japanese heritage. 

“One of the most exciting aspects of our educator workshops is the enthusiasm that our participants take with them when they leave,” said Aura Sunada Newlin, the executive director of the Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation and member of the workshop faculty. “Every one of these teachers becomes an ambassador for our story, which enables us to reach thousands of new students around the country each year.”

The Landmarks of American History and Culture program aims to teach educators about historical events by using the power of the places where they occurred. Workshop participants will learn about the incarceration in the larger context of the mistreatment of immigrant and marginalized groups in the United States, such as Native Americans and Chinese immigrants, who were banned from the United States in 1882. 

Next year’s workshops will be the first to be conducted in the new Mineta-Simpson Institute at Heart Mountain, which features a 200-seat conference center, production studio and permanent exhibit about the lives and careers of Secretary Norman Mineta and Senator Alan Simpson. Mineta and Simpson first met as Boy Scouts during a jamboree at the Heart Mountain camp in 1943.

The Heart Mountain program relies on materials created almost exclusively by Foundation board and staff members and descendants, such as Setsuko’s Secret: Heart Mountain and the Japanese American Incarceration by Shirley Ann Higuchi, the chair of the Foundation’s board. 

We also congratulate the Japanese American National Museum of Los Angeles for receiving a Landmarks grant for its 2024 program about the Japanese American incarceration. Together, our two programs are helping spread the word about this sad chapter in U.S. history to educators everywhere.