Aerial photo of the USS Arizona via Wikipedia
In 2008, President George W Bush established WWII Valor in the Pacific National Monument which includes sites in Hawaii, California, and Alaska. This set of historic sites reveals a wider more complete story of the War in the Pacific, from the attack on Pearl Harbor, to the segregation of Japanese Americans. A new WWII Valor in the Pacific National Monument, Pearl Harbor Visitor Center completed in 2010 reﬂects the fundamental shift in interpretation approach encouraged by the variety of historic sites included in the National Monument. Visitors learn from multiple perspectives of the events that shaped the War in the Pacific. This wider focus aligns with the Park Service’s Heritage Education mission of “Educating park visitors and the general public about their history and common heritage”. As part of this mission, the Park Service strives to provide visitors with the multiple layers and multiple perspectives of historic events through interpretation. In my work as a multimedia intern, I have to ensure that this mission continues throughout my various projects. As I produce blogs and other publications for visitors I must be conscientious about including all sides of the story. A walk through the visitor center exhibit galleries offers a good example of how to accomplish this.
Exhibit discussing life in Japan in the 1930s
The two exhibit galleries “Road to War” and “Attack” present two background stories, the first gives an idea of the social context in the United States and Japan during the 1930s, and the second offers insight into the December 7, 1941 attack from multiple perspectives including American and Japanese military, as well as civilian witnesses.
Exhibit discussing life in the United States
These stories are told with the use of multimedia such as recorded interviews, so that survivors can tell their narratives directly to visitors. Short videos, interactive maps, and other artifacts help reveal more of the story to visitors. The foundation of this approach to interpretation is seeing the participants in any event as individuals, breaking down military actions, or government policies and seeing how everyday people were affected. In developing my work for the site, I am building from this foundation, and translating it for use in written, web based projects.