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Righting a Wrong/Preserving a Legacy Exhibition

April 22, 2023 - September 30, 2023


Righting a Wrong: Japanese Americans and World War II, a traveling exhibition from the Smithsonian, examines the complicated history and impact of Executive Order 9066 which led to the incarceration of 75,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry and 45,000 Japanese nationals following the attack on Pearl Harbor. Young and old lived crowded together in hastily built camps, endured poor living conditions, and were under the constant watch of military guards for two and a half years. Meanwhile, brave Japanese American men risked their lives fighting for the United States. Some 40 years later, members of the Japanese American community led the nation to confront the wrong it had done—and urged Congress to make it right.

In partnership with Legacy of the Plains Museum in Gering, the exhibition “Preserving a Legacy: Japanese in Nebraska” expands on the story told by the traveling Smithsonian exhibition “Righting a Wrong.” The story of Japanese Americans in Nebraska is filled with hope and support in the state. This exhibit strives to tell these stories.

Japanese Nebraskans lived mostly in western farming communities. They worked on farms and in stockyards, in hospitality and domestic service, in professions, and as entrepreneurs. Omaha’s small Japanese community included Harry Watanabe, who founded the Oriental Trading Company in 1932. Unlike the West Coast, Nebraska Japanese were not incarcerated during World War II, but some lost jobs and community leaders were arrested and questioned. Japanese immigrants were designated “enemy aliens.” Newspapers across the state reprinted warnings that they and their U.S.-born children might act as spies and saboteurs. Some Nebraskans responded with anti-Japanese hostility. Others spoke against mass incarceration and even hastened the release of those incarcerated by opening jobs to workers and enrollment to students. Nebraskans of Japanese ancestry have led the way in righting the wrongs of the 1940s, honoring the rights and dignity of all Americans today.

Exhibit open during normal museum hours Tuesday through Saturday:

Tuesday and Wednesday: 9:00AM – 4:00PM
Thursday: 9:00AM – 8:00PM
Friday and Saturday: 9:00AM – 4:00PM
Sunday and Monday : Closed
Closed during state observed holidays.

Regular museum admission applies.


April 22, 2023
September 30, 2023
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History Nebraska
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Nebraska History Museum
131 Centennial Mall N
Lincoln, NE 68808 United States
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