A Letter from the Executive Director

Dear Friends,

Greetings from the temporary visitor center at Minidoka National Historic Site! This spring was filled with changes at Minidoka, and the National Park Service is now operational at the Herrmann House! They have been kind enough to share their office space with me, so I have been spending quiet, contemplative days working for Friends of Minidoka on site. Every day I spend here raises new questions, builds connections, and allows me to engage with visitors and understand how the history of this site truly touches people of all walks of life. NPS has already set up a temporary exhibit and a bookstore, and has welcomed over a thousand visitors since opening on Memorial Day. Please feel free to swing by and say hi if you are ever in the area!

This year we have been staying busy with educational outreach and research. We have completed our project plan and are moving forward on the Minidoka Intergenerational
Legacy Exhibit, which we received a 2016 JACS grant for. It will be housed permanently at Minidoka. The goal is to complete it in time to be the featured exhibit displayed during the grand opening of the permanent visitor center in early 2019. This exhibit will use art as a lens to explore the experiences and legacies of the Issei, Nisei, and Sansei who were incarcerated at Minidoka during WWII. We are looking for images from Minidoka to be used for research and potentially in the exhibition. If you would like to donate images or artwork from or about camp, please contact me. Donations can include the actual donation of pieces or just allowing us to take a high-resolution scan so you can keep the originals.

We have also been assisting North Shore Productions in the production of the park’s orientation film to be shown in the permanent visitor center. We assisted in introducing the producers to members of the community to have their stories featured in the film. Filming has taken place so far in Portland, Seattle, Bainbridge Island, and the pilgrimage, featuring individuals from these communities as well as from Alaska. This fall we will be completing archival research to uncover new resources for use in the film in Alaska, Chicago, and the National Archives. If any of you are near these locations and would like to connect while we are there, we look forward to hearing from you.

There has been turnover in the NPS at Minidoka, and I hope you’ll join me in thanking Judy Geniac for her service as Superintendent and Carol Ash for her service as Chief of Interpretation and Education and congratulating them each on their retirements. We also welcome Wade Vagias and our long time friend Hanako Wakatsuki as they step in to fill
these roles.

We are excited to welcome three new board members to the Friends of Minidoka. Carol Ash, former Chief of Interpretation and Education for Minidoka NHS is joining the board, as well as Debbie Dane, the former Executive Director for the Southern Idaho Tourism Board, and Andy Dunn, who studies Minidoka as a graduate student at Idaho State University and was instrumental in the organization of Field-In-A-Day. Carol, Debbie, and Andy are all based in Southern Idaho and we look forward to working with them to further our reach in the local community and accomplish great things. Welcome!

A quick note on the Minidoka Interlude: we are currently sold out of all copies of our last press but we are in the process of publishing another run. Many of you have contacted me to reserve a copy of the Interlude when it becomes available, and I hope you feel free to continue to do so. We will have an update for you very soon!

Thanks for being a friend,

Mia Russell
Executive Director
(208) 863-0076