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JANM Develops Lesson Plans for ‘Instructions to All Persons’ Exhibition

By May 21, 2017May 23rd, 2017No Comments

Exterior of the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo.

LOS ANGELES — The Japanese American National Museum has developed a series of lesson plans for teachers to complement its “Instructions to All Persons: Reflections on Executive Order 9066” exhibition and enhance student learning of the 75th anniversary of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s signing of the order that led to the tragic and unlawful incarceration of 120,000 individuals of Japanese ancestry during World War II.

Now available on the museum’s website, the lessons are intended for middle and high school students and can be used both when visiting the museum and in the classroom. Development of the lesson plans was funded by the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, which also funded a two-day teacher workshop at the museum March 31-April 1.

Each of the six lessons now available at is intended to encourage reflection and discussion about the experience of Japanese Americans during World War II and its continuing relevance today.

The lessons are: Bill of Rights: Violated or Upheld?; Instructions to All Persons: Document Analysis; Do Words Matter? Civilian Exclusion Order; A Dream Deferred; Instructions to All Persons; Looking at Current Executive Orders.

“We hope that the lessons we’ve developed will help educators guide their students into meaningful thought and conversation about what happened during World War II, what similarities and differences they observe in the world today and why it’s important for everyone to be vigilant about protecting the democracy of the United States,” said Allyson Nakamoto, the museum’s director of education. “The Japanese American National Museum opened to the public 25 years ago, and while the World War II experience has always been at the core of our mission and work, making sure that younger generations connect with what happened and understand the ramifications of certain actions, or lack of action, seems especially vital right now. We’re grateful to the Broad Foundation for its support in helping us bring these lesson plans to fruition.”

The two-day teacher workshop at JANM brought together educators from the Los Angeles Unified School District and local charter schools, experts and first-person voices to gain a better understanding of how listening to and learning about other people’s stories is so important when teaching young people.

A first-grade teacher reflected, “This workshop inspired me to bring more marginalized voices and histories to my classroom and gave me concrete tools and support to do so. The speakers were amazing and discussion was quite mind-opening. It’s such an important time to be doing this work. I feel incredibly grateful to have had this experience.”

“The incarceration that resulted from Executive Order 9066 75 years ago is increasingly relevant today, and it’s vitally important that parents and teachers instill lessons of the past in our children so that shameful injustices never happen again,” said Gerun Riley, president of the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation. “We are pleased to support lesson materials and professional development that allow teachers to make learning even more impactful for their students.”