To preserve the Topaz internment experience during World War II; to interpret its impact on the internees, their families, and the citizens of Millard County; and to educate the public in order to prevent a recurrence of a similar denial of American civil rights.
In 1991, a local Delta family donated half of an original Topaz recreation hall, which had been used as a storage shed for some 50 years. An ad hoc committee, now known as the Topaz Museum Board, was formed to decide how to restore the building to its original wartime condition.
Since the majority of the internees had come from the San Francisco Bay area, a mailing was sent to some 1500 former internees living there asking for donations to fund the restoration of the recreation hall. The response was gratifying. Over $50,000 was received, primarily from individuals.
The Great Basin Museum of Delta, Utah agreed to allow the donated building to be located behind its own museum. Photos of the camp were studied in order to determine the type of window frames and tar paper used. A decision was made not to heat or air condition the building in order to recreate the actual living conditions the internees endured.
A portion of the money collected was used to restore the building to its 1944 condition to depict the actual living conditions of the internees In July 1995, the recreation hall was formally dedicated during a ceremony that included former Topaz internees, former Topaz administration employees and local Delta officials and residents.
The Topaz Museum Board was incorporated as a 501(c)3 not-for-profit Utah corporation in December, 1996 and adopted its mission statement. The establishment of a permanent museum became its main goal.
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