Interested in Archeology? Volunteer Projects Are Coming Up at Manzanar National Historic Site

Manzanar entrance.

The Manzanar War Relocation Center historic entrance serves as the Historic Site's entrance today. The snow covered Sierra Nevada rise behind stone sentry posts built by internees in 1942. NPS photo.

Have you always wanted to try your hand—literally—at archeology? If so, the staff at Manzanar National Historic Site in California may have just the deal for you. They're looking for a few good men and women willing to volunteer on projects this summer in the park.

Manzanar is a relatively new addition to the National Park System, so just in case you aren't familiar with the park, here's a quick overview from the park website:

In 1942, the United States government ordered more than 110,000 men, women, and children to leave their homes and detained them in remote, military-style camps. Manzanar War Relocation Center was one of ten camps at which Japanese American citizens and resident Japanese aliens were interned during World War II.

Located at the foot of the majestic Sierra Nevada in eastern California's Owens Valley, Manzanar has been identified as the best preserved of these camps.
Manzanar National Historic Site was established to preserve the stories of the internment of nearly 120,000 Japanese Americans during World War II and to serve as a reminder to this and future generations of the fragility of American civil liberties.

Today you may visit Manzanar and learn about the experience of the Japanese Americans at Manzanar and other eras of the site's history. You may drive a 3.2 mile auto tour and see remnants of orchards, rock gardens, building foundations, and the camp cemetery. Also, please plan to come inside the state-of-the-art Manzanar Interpretive Center where you will find extensive exhibits, a 22 minute film, and a bookstore.

So, how is archeology involved?

From July 31 to August 4, and August 28 to September 2, 2009, National Park Service archeologist Jeff Burton will supervise a crew of archeologists and volunteers in uncovering and stabilizing features at Manzanar National Historic Site.

Projects at Manzanar’s Chicken Farm, Camouflage Net Factory and Merritt Park will preserve important cultural resources and offer opportunities to learn about the experiences of Japanese Americans at Manzanar during World War II.

For some insight into the type of work the project will involve, read about previous work here , and download a flyer from the park website.

If you'd like more information about the volunteer project, contact Alisa Lynch or Carrie Andrese at 760/878-2194 ext. 2711 or ext. 2714.

For more details to help you plan a visit, you'll find driving directions and plenty of information on the park website.