After years of planning and fundraising, ground will be broken Aug. 4 for the new Topaz Museum and Education Center, which will tell the story of Japanese Americans held at a west-central Utah internment camp during World War II.
Planners expect 450 people, many from the Bay Area of California, to attend the ground-breaking for the museum in Delta, said Jane Beckwith, president of the museum board.
The ground-breaking, which will take place in a park across the street from the museum site on Main Street., will be at 10 a.m. Registration for a luncheon, however, will begin at 9 a.m., Beckwith said.
The Topaz Museum has been in the works for more than a decade, and last spring received news of a $714,000 grant from the National Park Service.
The museum will be built in Delta rather than in the desert 16 miles northwest of the community, where 11,000 Japanese Americans were confined during World War II.
Japanese Americans living along the west coast were ordered into inland camps by President Franklin D. Roosevelt after the Japanese attacked at Pearl Harbor in December 1941.
Many of those sent to Topaz, which opened the next September, were from the Bay Area. The camp covered 600 acres.
The volunteer board promoting the museum bought the acreage over the past several years, and it was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2007.
Those who attend the Aug. 4 ground-breaking will be able to take buses to the original camp, as well as see art and exhibits at the Delta City Library and a sampling of a 3-D digital reconstruction model at Delta's city hall, Beckwith said. There also will be tours of the camp's recreation hall, which the museum board has restored.
The 3D model is being created by CyArk, a nonprofit that digitally preserves cultural heritage sites.
The museum has been renting space for some artifacts at the Great Basin Museum in Delta, but no longer will be able to do so, Beckwith said.
Ultimately, it will house an extensive art collection of paintings done at Topaz. Artists represented in the collection include MinÃ© Okubo, Chiura Obata, Charles Erabu Suiko Mikami, Thomas Ryosaku Matsuoka, Yajiro Okamoto, Kinji Utsumi, and others, according to a museum announcement in the spring.
The art was shown earlier this summer at the San Francisco Public Library.
The project is expected to cost $2.3 million, and the board is seeking donations and foundation grants to reach the full goal.