Update from the National Park Service by Hanako Wakatsuki, Chief of Interpretation


My first year as Chief of Interpretation has been exciting and full of opportunities to reach out to the many communities that this site connects to. I came on at the end of January and hit the ground running. Superintendent Wade Vagias, Friends of Minidoka Executive Director Mia Russell, and I visited Portland and Seattle in May to participate in special events and meeting community groups. In July, Wade and I participated in the 2017 Minidoka Pilgrimage as pilgrims and lead programming at the site for the pilgrimage. Other events and site visits include: the Heart Mountain Pilgrimage; 75th Remembrance of Puyallup Assembly Center; visited Camp Shelby, Rohwer, Jerome, Gila River, and Poston; and attended the 2017 Friends and Family of Nisei Veterans Reunion. It has been a busy year, but I am looking forward to what next year brings during the 30th Anniversary of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988.

Site presence at Minidoka began this year with the opening of the temporary Visitor Contact Station on May 29, 2017 at the Herrmann house.  During the summer, attendance averaged over 1,000 visitors per month.  Minidoka is currently on its winter schedule and is open Saturday and Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm; the site itself is open from sunrise to sunset seven-days-a-week. If you would like additional information or to schedule a tour of 10 or more people, please call the site at 208-825-4169.

The motor repair shop, also known as Warehouse #5, will be rehabilitated for adaptive reuse to become the permanent Visitor Contact Station. Construction is expected to begin in early 2018 and completion will be in 2019. This will provide amenities at the site and accessible parking for visitors.

Lastly, the Minidoka National Historic Site awarded the filming contract to develop a Park film to North Shore Production. North Shore was able to visit the site two times this year, once to film B-roll of the Idaho winter and again during the 2017 Minidoka Pilgrimage in July. The film is expected to be completed in 2018 and will be shown in the permanent Visitor Contact Station when the doors open.

We at the Minidoka National Historic Site are working hard to preserve the site for future generations. We welcome you to our site and look forward to seeing you soon! Please feel free to contact me at (208) 539-3416 or email me at hanako_wakatsuki@nps.gov.