Thursday, May 14, 2015

Topaz Museum Field Trip

If you are going to visit the Topaz Internment Camp, it's definitely worth a stop at the new Topaz Museum in Delta first. We thought the exhibits were really interesting, and especially liked going into the barracks to see what the living and recreation areas were like for the internees.
The first things we saw were these beautiful pieces of shell jewelry made by some of the internees. They would go up into the mountains and collect these tiny shells (left over from ancient Lake Bonneville) and then glue them and paint them to make these exquisite little decorations. I loved seeing how the people there made the best of their circumstances and tried to beautify their surroundings as much as they could. We saw a whole bunch of these shells while we were over at the Topaz Camp site, so they must have just had piles and piles of them. Aren't the little Minnie and Micky Mouse (bottom shelf, above) cute? And my favorite is that gorgeously intricate chrysanthemum brooch.
More shell jewelry, and some lovely carved wooden pieces, too.
There's quite a large exhibit of art at the museum. There were some really good artists at the camp, and they taught art and painting classes to others as well. (Here are some adorable preschool kids painting!) I really liked these watercolor depictions of different seasons at the camp. The colors in the sky are so lovely! And I love the way the mountain in the distance (Topaz Mountain?) is reminiscent of Mount Fuji.
Junie particularly liked this picture of a girl and her pet pig. Look how she hugs him! :)
Malachi liked the sweeping, inky lines of this bird on a branch (and the beautiful signature below).
This was interesting, showing the set-up for a calligraphy station, with all the supplies. We thought the paper weight above and felt cloth below were great ideas (when we did calligraphy ourselves, we noticed how much the ink can tend to bleed through the paper if you aren't careful).
Here we are inside one of the barracks. The beds and mattresses were standard issue, but the other furniture was made by the internees. A family of four would have slept in a room like this. 
In the corner of the room there was a little coal-burning stove for warmth. I don't know if they ever cooked here, or if all their meals were in the mess hall?
Here is Daisy by some of the handmade furniture from the camp. They made some really beautiful things (one of the men made an amazing wooden Noah's Ark that is on display at the front of the museum. It's gorgeous!) and we loved the miniature chairs clearly built for children. The furniture really helped make the barracks look cozier and more home-like—you can see a picture here.

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