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A Moab Prison Camp: Japanese American Incarceration
by Moab Museum Staff

Spring is just around the corner here in Moab, and the Museum is already in full swing for the season with a new exhibition and programming.

Chiura Obata guard tower painting courtesy of Topaz.

A Moab Prison Camp: Japanese American Incarceration in Grand County, the latest temporary exhibition at the Moab Museum, introduces the local and national story of Japanese American incarceration during WWII. Following the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 authorizing the wartime incarceration of over 120,000 Japanese Americans, a majority of whom were US Citizens, in detention facilities across the country. The Moab Isolation Center, located north of Moab at Dalton Wells, played a brief but significant role in the web of Japanese American incarceration facilities: a former Civilian Conservation Corps camp was transformed into a temporary prison camp for so-called “troublemakers” from other camps. The exhibition will be on display through the end of June 2024.

Interpreting Japanese American Incarceration
In line with the exhibition, the Museum is proud to announce the launch of a virtual book club: Interpreting Japanese American Incarceration. As the Moab Museum shares stories from the Moab Isolation Center at Dalton Wells, we invite our community to deepen our collective understanding of Japanese American incarceration history and help curate a pop-up display by learning stories from Japanese American survivors and descendants. Many firsthand accounts, documentaries, and podcasts share stories from survivors of incarceration and their descendants. Read up - and let us and the Moab community know what you think about these stories by participating in the Interpreting Japanese American Incarceration Book Club. Learn more about how to participate by visiting

Betrayed: Surviving and American Concentration Camp

Also in March: join us on March 14th at 2 pm and 6 pm for a FREE film screening of Betrayed: Surviving an American Concentration Camp. This PBS film the story of a group of Japanese Americans and their incarceration by the U.S. government during World War II. Through the compelling voices of survivors of Minidoka, a concentration camp in the Idaho desert, Betrayed tells a universal story about unjust internment and the loss of civil rights.

Western Union Telegram discussing the incarceration of Japanese American at Dalton Wells.

Kimi Hill and the Life and Art of Chiura Obata
Kimi Hill, Obata family historian and granddaughter of Chiura Obata, will present on The Life and Art of Chiura Obata in the Moab Museum’s South Gallery on March 28th at 7pm. Chiura Obata (1885–1975) ranks among the most significant California-based artists and Japanese American cultural leaders of the last century. His artistic career was interrupted when World War II fears and Executive Order 9066 forced Obata and 120,000 other Japanese Americans into incarceration camps. While imprisoned in Topaz, Utah, Obata created a flourishing art school, serving over 600 students and helping fellow imprisoned Americans cope with their displacement and loss. The program will conclude with a screening of Obata’s Yosemite a deeply moving 14-minute film created by filmmaker Adam Prieto and sponsored by the Yosemite Conservancy and National Park Service. A Question and Answer (Q&A) with Kimi Hill and Adam Prieto will follow the presentation. This program is free with Museum membership or regular admission.

We invite readers and your families and friends to join us for during these and other exhibit experiences.

Movie & Western Memorabilia Museum at Red Cliffs Lodge

Indiana Jones PosterRed Cliffs Lodge, on the banks of the mighty Colorado River, is home to the Moab Museum of Film & Western Heritage. The lodge is built on the old George White Ranch, a key location for nine of the big westerns including Rio Grande, Cheyenne Autumn, Ten Who Dared, The Commancheros, and Rio Conchos.

The late George White was founder of the Moab to Monument Valley Film Commission, the longest ongoing film commission in the world.

In the museum one can learn more about film locations, how the sets are built, and how the filming process is managed on nature’s own sound stage. On display in the museum are production photographs, movie posters, autographed scripts, props from the many pictures filmed in the area, and displays about the western ranching heritage. For information, call Red Cliffs Lodge at 435-259-2002.

Rio Grande Through the magnificent landscapes of southeastern Utah, writers have been inspired and stories born here. Zane Grey, the famous western novelist, traveled through the area in 1912. His visit inspired him to write his book Riders of the Purple Sage. The book was made into a movie starring Ed Harris and Amy Madigan, and filmed on locations around Moab.

A partial list of stars that have made movies in Moab
John Wayne, Maureen O'Hara, Henry Fonda, Lee Marvin,
Rock Hudson, Jimmy Stewart, Richard Boone, Anthony Quinn,
Mickey Rooney, Shirley Temple, Kris Kristofferson, Billy Crystal,
Robert Duvall, Gene Hackman, Bill Murray, Jack Palance, Susan Sarandon, Geena Davis, Ted Danson, Tom Cruise, and many more.

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