I really like the color scheme for this website. The muted tones combined with the music makes for a very somber viewing experience. I think that a really big part of explaining a topic to an audience is to dictate a mood for that topic, and the colors and music really helped lead the viewer into the exhibit. I also like how the music changes with each section, and depending on how dark the subject is, the music too becomes more dark or light.
I was really facinated by the section on the Issei picture brides. Those women were as old as I, and some even younger, yet they willingly subjected themselves to a lifestyle I can hardly even imagine. They all seem to have such stern looks on their faces. . . they must have some great inner strength of character.
I was also really thrilled to see the old documents that were on the site. I only wish that the images, when enlarged, were large enough to read. I would have been curious to see the actual Japanese on those documents. But that is just my own curiousity, most visitors probably would not mind at all.
Sometimes, just reading something isn't enough for me. The fact that there were also audio clips on the site really was nice as well. I found myself going through each section and listening to every clip I could find. I only wish that there had been some more!
This site really is beautiful. When I read those last lines "you may think the constitution is your security- it is nothing but a piece of paper" it made me want to cry, because at the moment, I realized that I just took for granted that what my so called rights would never be taken away from me.
I find this material to be very useful and I feel that this histroy of immigration and harship of the Japanese needs to be remembered in future genderations. In by doing this we will remember that our country was founded on the right to be free and the pursuit of happiness.
I love the flow of the information and the way it was presented, it gave you a sense of time and events that were going on at the time.
This perspective from the Japanese American view gives us a viewpoint rarely found in any history book taugh in public schools today.
After September 11, One can look back at the internment camps and the racial prejudice and relate that to today.
I would definitely recommend this website for anyone curious as to what the Japanese felt or just interested.
Steven A Batres-Hernandez
This is an incredible presentation on the Japanese American internment period. The information presented was well researched and the pictures of the artifacts (if that's the proper term) that related to this time varied and added to the experince of going throught the site. Facts were not just presented and followed by a "as stated by the blah blah blah", the statement came with a picture of whatever it was referring to, which adds to the validity of the site and the presentation. I agree with Bonnary that the audio, as well as the pictures, makes the presentation more real, because you are not reading about the experience in some book, you are hearing the voices of the people that went through the interment. This website is a tremendous resource for anyone who is interested in the Japanese American interment period because you can sit for an hour (or longer or shorter, depending how well you read and if you go thru the audio and pictures) and come away with a real feel of what happened during that time. The layout of the website is terrific. By scrolling across the screen with text, pictures, pictures, text and so on, the presentation becomes more like a quick visit to a museum, instead of a sit in front of a monitor and having to scroll up and down a very lengthy article. I also would like to suggest the idea of a stop button added to the audio option. In addition to a stop button, perhaps a feature that allows one to listen to the audio, but be able to skip ahead to a new section without losing the audio from the previous section would be nice. I would read and listen to the interviews and i would be finished reading before the audio was done and I'd want to skip ahead, but I also wanted to "hear" what the person was saying. Also, I would like to have seen better photographs of certain documents. There are certain documents that are illegible and I was really interested to read those documents that were illegible. (Yes, I did enlarge the picture, even then, some were illegible). Besides these few points, I thought the site was amazing and a job well done by the Smithsonian Institution.
This website is an excellent resource to learn about the history of Japanese immigration into this country and the treatment of Japanese Americans during World War II. The exhibit shows the injustices that Japanese Americans went through and the rights that were taken away that were guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.
The website is set up in a manner that creates a “walk through” like atmosphere. The website makes the internet viewer feel like they are actually at the exhibit, viewing, listening, and reading all of the artifacts that the exhibit has to offer. The website is divided up into sections beginning with the immigration of Japanese Americans to both the mainland and Hawaii. The separation of these two experiences shows the depth and time the museum curators took to make this exhibit show the full experience of all Japanese immigrants both in Hawaii and on the mainland. Within the immigration section, there are mini sections where the viewer can view pictures and hear voice clips. This is an excellent way to get the internet viewer to interact with the website. Viewers must click and drag different icons to view and listen to all of the personal experiences of those interned during the war. The other sections in this website include the removal, internment, loyalty, service, and justice of Japanese Americans during WWII. Once again, within these sections there are mini sections, where viewers can click and drag to view and listen to personal accounts of those interned. This use of personal accounts makes the internment “real” to the viewer. These pictures and voice clips drive home the fact that this internment did happen, and here are the people that actually suffered.
The website does an excellent job using pictures and audio clips to create the actual “walk through” atmosphere. The pictures and audio clips are placed strategically to follow the text and the chronological layout of each of the sections. The music that is played in the background also creates the atmosphere of how sad this time period was. Just as if you were at the actual exhibit, the music enhanced the need to be quiet and respectful when viewing this website. Some other strengths of the website are that it has a “collection search” and “resource” element. This is a valuable feature for those who are looking to find more information on the Japanese internment. Students, parents, anyone could be able to find more information on this time period that has been greatly buried in American history. I also liked the “reflections” element of the website. I liked how the topics are divided up and viewers are allowed to read and write their reflections. This element is great because it allows viewers not only to air their opinions and feelings, it also allows them to gain insight into how the website and the Japanese internment affected so many different people in this country.
One improvement that could be made to this website is that it leaves out the actual exhibit. It does not show pictures of the actual exhibit itself. There are some elements to the actual exhibit that could have been a great addition to the online exhibit. Such elements include the recreation of a California street lamp with an evacuation notice on it and the recreation of an internment camp with a soldier on a watch tower. Even though these recreations are best experienced in person, I thought it would have been interesting to the internet viewer to be able to see that such recreations are at the actual exhibit. Another improvement that could be made is the pictures that were used in the website. Even though the pictures could be enlarged by clicking on it, it was still hard to read some of them, especially the documents. Maybe the pictures could be enlarged even more therefore enhancing the importance and impact of these documents to the viewer.
Overall this online exhibit is well laid out. The website is enhanced with great pictures and audio clips. The website does an excellent job in creating a “walk through” experience that a person might have at the actual exhibit. The website is a great tool for anyone who wanted to learn about the internment. After viewing the actual exhibit, the online exhibit was great in reinforcing what I saw in person.
The More Perfect Union website was educational and engaging combining artwork, words and interviews. The exhibit was fluid and vivid, but I would like it to be larger. I was unable to view certain pictures and documents on the site, even after I clicked on it.
The personal accounts of internment and livelihood brought an interesting aspect to the site. I was able to understand what each person experienced. It was very different from just reading a passage. The inflection and changes of tone in their voices expressed the true emotions they felt, but I would have liked to see their faces as well. Facial expressions often show how a person truly feels and it just brings a personal touch. It brought me to a place I’ve never been.
The exhibit took the viewer throughout the history of the Issei, Nissei and Kibei. I learned things I was unaware of and it sparked an interest that makes me want to find out more. The last thing I would change would be the final quote. I understand that this ends on the possibility of internment happening again. Such a strong exhibit should end on a stronger note.