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Engaging Ideas

Gardens of Internment

Beauty, Hope and Community in a Japanese American Internment Camp

This Engaging Idea explores what Archaeologists have discovered about the Japanese American WWII-era internment camp known as Amache.


Photo of Bonnie Clark

Dr. Bonnie Clark is committed to using tangible history – objects, sites, and landscapes—to broaden understanding our diverse past. She began her career as a professional archaeologist and now serves as an Associate Professor in the Anthropology Department at the University of Denver (DU), as well as the Curator for Archaeology of the DU Museum of Anthropology. She is the author or editor of numerous publications including On the Edge of Purgatory: An Archaeology of Place in Hispanic Colorado. Dr. Clark currently leads the DU Amache Project, a community collaboration committed to researching, preserving, and interpreting the physical history of Amache, Colorado's WWII-era Japanese American internment camp. That work has been highlighted in numerous venues including Archaeology and American Archaeology magazines. In 2011, Dr. Clark's work was recognized by her peers with the University of Denver's Teacher/Scholar of the Year award. 

 More on the Subject

  1. Amache project website: includes publications by Dr. Clark and her students, as well as media pieces about the project.
  2. Amache project facebook page: breaking news, project-related photographs and notices of upcoming events.
  3. Amache Preservation Society:  maintains the physical site of Amache and its associated museum in Granada, Colorado. Provides background history about Amache, as well as resources for site visitors.
  4. A professional gardener and Amache descendant discuss the research on gardens at Amache from a personal point of view.
  5. Benefits of Gardening.
  6. Benefits of Community Gardening.

Questions for personal reflection or group discussion

  1. If you were forced from your home for an unknown period of time would you bring along seeds or plants? What other items would be important enough to carry with you?
  2. Were you aware that archaeology can shed light on even recent history? What other recent events might be worth excavating?
  3. How did World War II effect your family? What questions could you ask your own family members about this world-changing epoch?
  4. What do gardens mean to you? Have you ever thought of them as a form of therapy?
  5. What activities help you find balance in your life? Is there a way they can be a gift to your community as well as yourself?

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