Wright Museum Kicks Off 2021 Lecture Series

On Tuesday, May 4, UNH Advanced Master Gardener Christin Kaiser will kick off Wright Museum’s 2021 Lecture Series, sponsored by Ron Goodgame and Donna Canney, with “Internment Camp Japanese Vegetables and Recipes.” In addition to explaining how to grow Japanese vegetables, Kaiser will share recipes and ‘raffle’ off a number of 6-pack veggie starts that will include everything from Italian paste tomatoes to pumpkins, kale and sprouting broccoli.

According to Mike Culver, executive director at The Wright, the lecture underscores a complicated part of American history. “Under pressure from military and political advisors, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066,” he explained. “This order sent 45,000 Japanese legal residents and their 75,000 Japanese-American children and grandchildren, who were American citizens, to internment camps.”

Life in these camps was anything but “normal,” but Culver said these Americans tried to make the best of the situation. Schools were established for the children, sport teams played and gardens were created. “Like the Victory Gardens planted by millions of American citizens outside these internment camps, the Japanese Americans grew produce to enhance their diets,” he said. “Their gardens would, of course, contain the kind of vegetables used in their traditional receipts.”

As for what is planned for this year’s Victory Gardens, which were created and are managed by Kaiser, visitors can expect variety. “Peas, beans, carrots, cucumbers, lettuce, kale, beets, spinach and three types of Italian paste tomatoes will be the staple crops,” Kaiser said. “Our educational planting will be giant sunflower with winter squash, pole beans and Indian corn, which are the three sisters of our native inhabitants.” She will also plant a section of Japanese/Asian cabbages and greens, peppers, cantaloupe, bok choy, broccoli and onions. “We’ll have an improved herb selection, too,” she added.

Made possible by the generosity of Ron Goodgame and Donna Canney, the 2021 Lecture Series takes place every Tuesday through the end of the museum’s season, which concludes Oct. 31.  Admission is $3 for members and $8 for non-members. Seating is limited, and reservations can be made by calling 603-569-1212.

The region’s leading resource for educators and learners of all ages on World War II, Wright Museum features more than 14,000 items in its collection that are representative of both the homefront and battlefield.