Manzanar Relocation Center from Guard Tower
Manzanar Relocation Center from Guard Tower

INDEPENDENCE, CA — Manzanar’s award-winning public archeology program provides exceptional opportunities to learn about the past and helps preserve the site and its stories for the future. From March 12-16, 2020 and March 19-23, 2020, volunteers will have the unique opportunity to assist the National Park Service in uncovering and stabilizing Manzanar’s historic Children’s Village area.

The Children’s Village was home to 101 children and the only orphanage in all the ten camps where the U.S. government incarcerated over 120,000 Japanese Americans. Nearly half of these children had been brought from West Coast institutions and foster homes. Others were temporarily separated from families when their parents were arrested or became ill, and some were infants born out of wedlock. These children were nurtured by a dedicated Japanese American staff and others, becoming a unique wartime family.

Volunteer positions are available to anyone age 15 and over who is physically able to work outdoors and participate in moderately strenuous activity. Volunteers will be digging with shovels and small hand tools, raking, hauling rocks, operating wheelbarrows, screening sediments to retrieve artifacts, and taking notes or filling out forms and labels. Previous archeological experience is helpful, but not necessary. Most of the work is physically demanding, but there will be a variety of tasks each day to suit different interests and energy levels. Volunteers simply need an interest in history and a willingness to get dirty.

The work will be conducted outdoors, regardless of weather. Volunteers will meet with Cultural Resources Manager Jeff Burton in the Manzanar Visitor Center parking lot at 7:30 a.m. The work will be conducted until 3:30 p.m. daily, including the weekend. Volunteers may work any number of days or hours, but a full day or multiple days are preferred. Please bring water, lunch, snacks, work gloves, and be sure to wear sunscreen, a hat, and sturdy boots. Please also bring any necessary medications. Though no volunteers have ever been stung by bees, be sure to bring an EpiPen if you are allergic to them. Advance sign-up is required as this project is limited to 25 participants per day.

Manzanar National Historic Site is located at 5001 Highway 395, six miles south of Independence and nine miles north of Lone Pine, California. Learn more on our web site at or on our Facebook page at

Source: NPS


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