Press Release • January 24, 2023

National Veterans Network Announces “I Am An American” Traveling Exhibition Theme

Organization to work with National Museum of the United States Army for Nationwide Exhibition

Washington D.C. – January 24, 2023National Veterans Network (NVN) today announced the theme of the Nisei Soldier traveling exhibition scheduled to begin in 2026. The exhibition title and theme, I Am An American: The Nisei Soldier Experience will feature objects and stories based on the 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team, and the Military Intelligence Service including the service of 33,000 Japanese Americans who fought in the service of the United States. The exhibition will share the Nisei Soldier stories of loyalty and patriotism in World War II from the islands of Hawaii to the mainland US, including the 120,000 Japanese Americans who were forcibly relocated into 10 War Relocation Authority (WRA) incarceration camps.

“The traveling exhibition will highlight the service from the perspective of the men and women who fought for democracy overseas, while they simultaneously fought a war against prejudice at home,” said Christine Sato-Yamazaki, executive director, NVN. “We are currently seeking personal objects to include in the exhibition that will represent the Nisei Soldier’s “I Am An American” theme.”

With the theme, I Am An American: The Nisei Soldier Experience, the NVN and National Museum of the United States Army are seeking personal artifacts and objects, namely: 

  • An original “I Am An American” sign that was displayed during WWII. The sign would serve as the centerpiece and focal point for the traveling exhibition.
  • Photos, letters, diary entries or any items that show the Nisei Soldier expressing their identity as an American.

Announced in December, the National Veterans Network, the National Army Museum, and the Army Historical Foundation are working on a ten-city national traveling exhibition to educate the public about the extraordinary heroism of Japanese American World War II Nisei Soldiers. The National Army Museum is working in collaboration with NVN to create the traveling exhibit from the Nisei Soldier Experience, currently on display at the National Army Museum, just south of Washington, D.C. This special exhibition will increase from the current 800 square feet to 1,200 square feet and expand to approximately 35 significant historical objects, 50-75 images and three audio-visual kiosks for visitors to access nine  individual soldier stories and an interactive map of the European and Pacific Campaign, comprised of 16 campaign videos. 

When the Nisei Soldier Experience closes at the National Army Museum in 2025, the new traveling exhibit will embark on a five-year journey to 10 cities across the United States starting in 2026. The traveling exhibit is scheduled to be hosted in the following states: California (Los Angeles and San Francisco), Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Minnesota, New York, Texas, and Wyoming.

In addition to soliciting specific  “I Am An American” objects, NVN is also seeking artifacts from families of Nisei Soldiers who volunteered out of the WRA incarceration camp. If you are interested in donating or loaning these objects for the traveling exhibit, please contact NVN at info@nationalveteransnetwork.com. For more information, visit www.nationalveteransnetwork.com.

About National Veterans Network (NVN)

NVN’s mission is to educate current and future generations about the extraordinary legacy of American WWII soldiers of Japanese ancestry in order to promote equality and justice. In 2010, the organization launched a national campaign to award the Congressional Gold Medal to the 100th, 442nd and MIS units, and worked with Congress and U.S. Mint to design the medal. In 2012, the organization partnered with the National Museum of American History and the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service for a seven-city tour to promote recognition of the Nisei Soldier Congressional Gold Medal. In 2016, along with the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center and Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, NVN launched an online Digital Exhibition to share the story of Japanese American soldiers of WWII (cgm.smithsonianapa.org). From 2017-2020, NVN worked with the National Museum of the U.S. Army to gather artifacts from Japanese American WWII soldiers and their families that resulted in a special exhibit dedicated to Japanese American WWII soldiers. In 2020, the NVN in collaboration with the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center to develop elementary and middle school curriculum, lessons, and activities. The NVN continues to honor the American WWII soldiers of Japanese ancestry by promoting, protecting, and preserving their legacy of uncommon valor and selfless service for future generations.

Please visit us at www.nationalveteransnetwork.com, and follow the NVN on Facebook (NationalVeteransNetwork), Twitter (@NtlVetNetwork) or Instagram (nationalveteransnetwork).

About The Army Historical Foundation

The Army Historical Foundation establishes, assists, and promotes programs and projects that preserve the history of the American Soldier and promote public understanding of and appreciation for the contributions by all components of the U.S. Army and its members. The Foundation serves as the Army’s official fundraising entity for the Capital Campaign for the National Museum of the United States Army. The award-winning, LEED- certified Museum opened on November 11, 2020, at Fort Belvoir, Va., and will honor the service and sacrifice of all American Soldiers who have served since the Army’s inception in 1775.  For more information on the Foundation and the National Museum of the United States Army, visit www.armyhistory.org.

About the National Museum of the United States Army

The National Museum of the United States Army provides the only comprehensive portrayal of Army history and traditions through the eyes of the American Soldier. By preserving, interpreting, and exhibiting invaluable artifacts, the National Army Museum creates learning opportunities for all visitors and bonds the American people to their oldest military service. We are America’s Army Museum. The U.S. Army owns and operates the Museum. The Army Historical Foundation continues its fundraising role in support of the Museum and manages all retail, catering and special events. For more information on the National Museum of the United States Army visit www.theNMUSA.org.

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