American Heroes: Japanese American World War II Nisei Soldiers and the Congressional Gold Medal

Congressional Gold Medal
Erin Garcia
Assistant Director of Communications
tel: 415.750.8904 cell: 510.364.1304
Ken Garcia
Director of Government and Community Affairs
tel: 415.750.3616 cell: 415.513.3557

de Young Museum
June 29 – August 4, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO — The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco are pleased to announce that the Congressional Gold Medal awarded in 2011 to Japanese American, or Nisei, World War II veterans in recognition of their extraordinary accomplishments, will visit the de Young from June 29, 2013 through August 4, 2013. The Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) has partnered with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History and the National Veterans Network to share the inspiring story of these men who fought with bravery and valor on the battlefields of Europe and Asia, even while many of their family members were held in American internment camps back in the U.S.

The medal will be accompanied by an iPad application, social-learning website, and curriculum available at cgm.si.edu. This educational package, made available January 12, was developed by the National Veterans Network in partnership with the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center. Centered on the character values associated with Japanese American veterans—courage, respect, humility, perseverance, compassion and citizenship—these materials will provide users with a constantly growing social-learning community.

The Congressional Gold Medal was awarded to the 100th Infantry Battalion, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team and the Military Intelligence Service veterans by the U.S. Congress November 2, 2011, in recognition of their exceptional service, sacrifice and loyalty to America. The Gold Medal represents Congress’s highest expression of national appreciation for distinguished achievements and contributions. A complete list of recipients is available at House.gov.

Commonly known as the “Go For Broke” regiments, the 100th/442nd is one of the most highly decorated units in U.S. military history, having earned more than 4,000 Purple Hearts, 560 Silver Stars, seven Presidential Unit Citations and 21 Medals of Honor. The MIS, whose highly specialized contributions helped hasten the end of the war, was honored with a Presidential Unit Citation in 2000. More than 19,000 Japanese American soldiers served in these units during World War II.

In addition to the de Young, the tour will bring the Nisei Congressional Gold Medal to other prominent museums in the country, including the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum in Honolulu, the Japanese American National Museum, a Smithsonian Affiliate in Los Angeles, the Oregon History Museum in Portland, the Chicago History Museum in Chicago and the Holocaust Museum in Houston. At the conclusion of the tour, the Congressional Gold Medal will be on permanent display in The Price of Freedom exhibition at the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.

American Heroes: Japanese American World War II Nisei Soldiers and the Congressional Gold Medalis made possible by the support of AARP, Cole Chemical, Comcast/NBC Universal, the Japanese American Veterans Association, Pritzker Military Library, the Shiratsuki Family and Southwest Airlines.

The National Veterans Network is a coalition of Japanese American veteran and civic organizations representing eight regions in the United States that advocates on a national level to educate and enlighten the public about the experience and legacy of the Japanese American World War II soldiers.

Founded in 1846, the Smithsonian Institution is the world’s largest museum and research complex, consisting of 19 museums and galleries, the National Zoological Park, nine research centers, and numerous educational and cultural programs. To learn more about the collaborating Smithsonian offices involved in this project, visit sites.si.edu, americanhistory.si.eduand apa.si.edu.

Visiting
de Young Museum
Golden Gate Park
50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive
San Francisco, CA 94118
deyoungmuseum.org
415-750-3600

Museum Hours
Tuesday–Sunday, 9:30 am–5:15 pm
Friday (March 29–November 29, 2013) 9:30 am–8:45 pm
Closed Mondays

Admission
There is no charge for access to public areas of the museum. These areas include Wilsey Court, where the medal will be displayed. Fees apply for general admission to the galleries, and for special exhibitions. 

About the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco
The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, comprising the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park and the Legion of Honor in Lincoln Park, is the largest public arts institution in San Francisco.

The de Young is housed in a copper-clad landmark building designed by Swiss architects Herzog and de Meuron. It showcases the institution’s significant collections of American painting, sculpture, and decorative arts from the 17th to the 21st centuries; art from Africa, Oceania, and the Americas; a diverse collection of costumes and textiles; and international contemporary art.

The Legion of Honor’s Beaux-Arts style building designed by George Applegarth is located on a bluff overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge. Its collections span 4,000 years and include European paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts; ancient art from the Mediterranean basin; and the largest collection of works on paper in the American West.

Images from all exhibitions and museums available upon request.