SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — The Crocker Museum served as a storage space for precious pieces of artwork for Japanese families during WWII.

The museum says it recently discovered the it kept precious items for several families sent away to relocation camps, and is now trying to track down those families.

Registrar John Caswell says he recently discovered in old archived documents that the Crocker Museum once served as storage space for Japanese-American families forced into war relocation camps back in 1942.

“Given the time and the uncertainty of everything these people were going through, they at least knew that at least some of their things would remain and they were going to be protected by the Crocker.

The museum kept around 400 items safe for years, storing them in a basement of the old Crocker Museum building.

Among the items were paintings, kimonos, Buddhist shrines and ceremonial furniture. Many of the families who stored their items here once lived in the neighborhood surrounding the museum, but some lived as far away as Hanford.

“I can’t imagine they took much with them to the camps, but they kept those receipts folded up and in some place safe, you can tell they have sort of been well-worn,” he said.

A vault of historical significance that no one here knew about until recently.

“The children of these families are reaching a certain age and they are getting older and older and if we could bring a little bit of memory back into their life..that something good happened while they were off doing something that wasn’t particularly pleasant, that would be a great thing,” he said.


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