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Utah's Topaz Museum receives nearly $500K

Published June 12, 2014 9:32 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The new Topaz Museum in Delta will get a $497,186 grant from the National Park Service as part of the agency's effort to preserve and interpret the World War II-era confinement of Japanese Americans.

The park service on Wednesday announced 21 grants totaling more than $2.9 million, including one to help the Topaz board build and install exhibits for the museum and education center.

Jane Beckwith, president of the museum's volunteer board, said the building was finished in May, and it should take another six or seven months to complete exhibits so that the museum can open.

The Topaz Museum is in Delta, 16 miles southeast of the Topaz Internment Camp where more than 11,000 Japanese Americans were held behind barbed wire during World War II.

The Topaz camp was one of 10 internment camps where Japanese Americans living along the West Coast were ordered to report after Japan attacked the United States at Pearl Harbor in 1941. Some of 120,000 internees — two-thirds of them American citizens — spent as long as three years in the camps.

Ground was broken for the museum two years ago. It has previously received several grants from the National Park Service, including $714,000 two years ago. The Utah Legislature provided $100,000 last year and voted to provide $150,000 this year.

Beckwith said the museum continues to raise money for computers, furniture, exhibits — and to provide an estimated $250,000 match for the latest park service grant.