This presentation is part of Preserving U.S. Military Heritage: WWII to the Cold War, Fredericksburg, Texas, June 4-6, 2019.

by Angie Payne

Abstract

From 1942-1945, nearly 500 acres of rugged swampland in southeast Arkansas was transformed into a military-style camp that held an estimated 8,500 Japanese-Americans during its peak occupation.  Named after a nearby community, the Rohwer Relocation Center was one of ten camps that held over 110,000 Japanese-Americans against their will during World War II.  Today, the area has largely returned to farming and very few remnants of the Rohwer camp remain.

While little remains of the physical landscape at Rohwer, a wealth of material information has been preserved in numerous collections throughout Arkansas.  In 2013, the Rohwer Reconstructed project began as a collaborative effort across multiple Arkansas institutions to create a centralized and engaging web resource dedicated to the Rohwer Incarceration Camp.  Lead by the Center for Advanced Spatial Technologies (CAST) at the University of Arkansas, the project uses emerging technologies to facilitate the access and exploration of historic resources and to create a rich educational experience for learning about the camp.  The resulting Rohwer Reconstructed project website https://risingabove.cast.uark.edu/ features:

  • a digital archive with over 1000 items from Arkansas institutions featuring searchable metadata and transcriptions
  • a 3D historic reconstruction of a typical barrack’s block created using gaming technology
  • interactive maps that provide the national and regional context for the camp
  • a timeline of the camp’s history from the early 1900’s to today.

An extensive overview of the Rohwer Reconstructed project and website will be provided. Funded by the National Park Service Japanese American Confinement Sites Program with contributions from the Arkansas State Archives, Arkansas State University, the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, the University of Arkansas Little Rock – Center for Arkansas History and Culture, and the University of Arkansas Special Collections, the Rohwer Reconstructed website provides a unique, multi-faceted approach for learning about the Rohwer Incarceration Camp.

Bio

Angie Payne is a research assistant at the Center for Advanced Spatial Technologies (CAST), specializing in 3D modeling, documentation, and visualization of heritage sites and objects.  She enjoys working with archaeologists and historians to create accurate, detailed visualizations of historic landscapes and implementing new technologies to revive the stories of the past.  She received her Masters in Anthropology in 2005 from the University of Arkansas and has worked at CAST for sixteen years.

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