Fort Missoula offers tours of new exhibit 'Looking Like the Enemy: The Issei Internment at Fort Missoula"

MISSOULA, Mont - On this day in 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 which led to 120,000 Japanese Americans being put into internment camps during World War II. On this Day of Remembrance, the Historical Museum at Fort Missoula is offering tours of its new exhibit, "Looking Like the Enemy: The Issei Internment at Fort Missoula."

Fort Missoula had an internment camp with over 2,000 Japanese Americans and Italians. While the men sent to this camp weren't from Executive Order 9066, the impacts of the camps are the same.

The exhibit shows what life was like at the Issei internment camp at Fort Missoula. It explores the events and attitudes leading up to that executive order, the role the fort played, the impact the detainment has had on generations of Japanese Americans and why it still matters today.

"We're still seeing the same kind of issues that led to Executive Order 9066 in the discrimination against Asian Americans due to the coronavirus pandemic and we also see a lot of this in the loss of civil liberties in the Black Lives Matter community," Matt Lautzenheiser, executive director at the Historical Museum at Fort Missoula, said. "There's a lot of contemporary lessons that we can learn from what happened to the Japanese in World War II."

It's important to study these historical events so we can learn from the mistakes our country has made in the past, Lautzenheiser added.

The museum is offering multiple tours Feb. 19 starting at 1 p.m. and will host a virtual live stream tour at 2:15 p.m. 

Available Tour Times:

1:00 - 2:00 p.m. 

2:15 - 3:15 p.m.

3:30 - 4:30 p.m. 

The tours will be indoors, limited to six people and visitors will need to wear a mask and observe social distancing. Private tours are also available by appointment. 

For more information, click here. 

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