Show Your Love campaign banner featuring Alan Simpson

Show Your Love

Alan K. Simpson has been a Wyoming institution for decades. As a state representative, U.S. senator, bipartisan statesman, and recent recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, he has led his state and nation toward a better future.

Now, as he approaches his 91st birthday on September 2, the Hughes Charitable Foundation and the Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation have organized a tribute to this great American leader.

Official logo of the Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation featuring the mountain, Indian Paintbrush plant, and barbed wire


The Hughes Charitable Foundation has awarded a $500,000 challenge grant that will enable the Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation to complete construction and launch operation of The Mineta-Simpson Institute at Heart Mountain, a visionary expansion to the Heart Mountain Interpretive Center that is inspired by the lives and careers of Secretary Norman Y. Mineta and Senator Alan K. Simpson.

Our aim is to raise the $500,000 necessary to complete that match from friends and admirers of Al Simpson.

The Campaign

Starting August 24, we invite you to show your love for Al Simpson by supporting The Mineta-Simpson Institute at Heart Mountain, Al and his family’s most cherished cause.  

Those who contribute by September 2 will be invited to a special online birthday party for Al (SAVE THE DATE! September 8 at 4:00pm MT / 6:00pm ET).

This institute will be the nation’s foremost tribute to the intertwined lives of Al and Norm. We believe there is no better way to honor Al’s legacy  than establishing and sustaining the Mineta-Simpson Institute at Heart Mountain.

Pete Simpson, Shirley Ann Higuchi, Deni Mineta, Al Simpson, and Aura Sunada Newlin at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Mineta-Simpson Institute on July 30, 2022.

The Mineta-Simpson Institute at Heart Mountain

The Mineta-Simpson Institute harnesses the bipartisan spirit of Norman Mineta and Alan Simpson, icons of democracy who first met as Boy Scouts behind the barbed wire of the Heart Mountain prison camp during World War II.

There were vast differences in the two mens’ experiences. Norm and his family, like many Japanese Americans, were forced from their home on the West Coast and incarcerated after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Al was a multi-generation Wyomingite who grew up in nearby Cody.

Mineta’s ideals as a liberal Democrat and Simpson’s ideals as a conservative Republican were foundational to their parallel careers. Nevertheless, when both men were elected to Congress in the 1970s, they were prepared to work with all Americans, regardless of political affiliation. They continued that ethic long after leaving Congress, and each was awarded the Medal of Freedom by a president of the opposite party.

Inspired by Al and Norm’s example, The Mineta-Simpson Institute at Heart Mountain will bring together thought-leaders of all persuasions, leveraging the power of place while reaching a global audience. This physical addition to the existing museum will feature a conference space, digital production studio, research wing, and exhibit hall, with programming designed to foster empathy, courage, and cooperation across differences.

The proposed outer design of the new wing, designed to evoke the camp’s communal mess halls.
An internal view of the proposed design. The room will feature a view of Heart Mountain.
Floor plan of the Mineta-Simpson Institute, the new wing of the Interpretive Center.

Al Simpson saluting the flag in the Show Your Love campaign

Show your love to Al by joining us in this critical work

Leave a message below for Al & Ann Simpson:
share a special memory, relate a story, or simply send birthday greetings!

2 thoughts on “Show Your Love

  1. Sending our love to you both on the occasion of your 91st Birthdays! We have so enjoyed our special friendship over the years. And we are happy that the Simpson Moneta Institute is on it’s way to help us all remember this difficult time in history. Cheers!

  2. Dear Al and Ann,

    It’s wonderful to have the opportunity, on the occasion of your birthday, to make a contribution to a cause symbolizing not only bipartisanship and friendship, but the rights and responsibilities that should be commonly held by all Americans, irrespective of where our families originated.

    Although I was fortunate to spend several years employed in your Wyoming Senate office, there is one moment from the very beginning of that service that stands out in my memory. I was still working as a congressional science fellow, and it was one of my first times present during a legislative committee markup. You were across the room in a cluster of other Senators including the late Senator Moynihan, and when you saw me, you waved me across the room to stand by you as you negotiated. I had no function or utility to you at that moment, but you just wanted me to have a chance to see how it was done.

    After the deal was struck and the group broke up, you turned to me and said with a twinkle in your eye, “Not quite how it’s described in the political science textbooks, is it?” And indeed I learned a lot in those few moments about how legislating is done. But I also learned something else: that even someone as powerful as the Senate Republican Whip didn’t focus only on his legislative duties, but thought it equally important to teach a young professional how government really works. I’ve tried to follow that example over the years, to encourage and mentor younger professionals, just as you did for me from my first day.

    With love and respect always,

    Chuck Blahous

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