Japanese event this Saturday, April 14, 2012 at the Karshner Museum


Mary Ohno and Members of her Kabuki Academy Performing Music and Dance will have their performance on Saturday, April 14, 2012 at 7 pm at the Karshner Museum in Puyallup, Washington. The Karshner Museum is located at 309 4th Street Northeast Puyallup, Washington 98372. The event will last approximately two hours. There will also be tours given of the Japanese internment cabins at the Puyallup Fairgrounds. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students with ID.

Nathan Hoadley, President of the Friends of the Karshner Museum, explained how the Japanese event is an “Evening at the Museum” event, “I thought it’d be fun to reach out to adults in the community by having evenings at the museum. We have Becci Crowe, wildlife artist, doing a talk this Monday about the search for the last remaining tigers in India, Nepal, and Thailand. She presents a slide presentation and video describing her adventure trying to find these wild tigers. She was our first evening at the museum. Then we had “Beads for Life” by Uganda women who sell them which helps pay for their housing and earn them income that they normally wouldn’t receive. We did this event the November right before Christmas. We had a play about the Karshners, the people who started the museum; which is our Puyallup School District. There are maybe three in the entire country where a museum is funded by the school district. All the students in the Puyallup School District from kindergarten through fifth grade, come every year to the museum for a field trip and explore a different area of the museum. Of course, anybody from any school district is welcome to come to the museum itself.

Our current evening at the museum event is our Japanese cultural evening; we will have the Kabuki dancers. There will be some refreshments and intermission after the dance and song of the dancers with their kimonos. We will be giving our tours of the internment cabin, of World War II cabins when the Japanese were sent to camps in California, Idaho, or Puyallup. We have a reproduction of the internment cabins at the Puyallup Fairgrounds (the internment cabins originally housed Japanese people in Puyallup). There was national fear after Pearl Harbor, and it was a dark time in our history. We like to keep it current, ensure it doesn’t happen again, and make people aware of it at the museum.”

When asked who he recommended attend the Japanese cultural event, Nathan replied, “We’ve invited all Japanese language studying students from the Puyallup School District and we expect to have many classes of students from all high schools. We expect to have a lot of them; they’ve expressed a lot of interest in coming. We’ve also reached out to Japanese congregations and churches to the area and invited them to come as well. This event is for anybody who wants to enjoy a cultural evening of music and dance and maybe understand a lot of the past about the Japanese internment in Puyallup.”

Nathan shared what he looked forward to most with the event, “I’m actually very excited to see Kabuki. I’ve always been fascinated by Japan and its culture. It’s the opportunity to have a cultural evening that focuses on this and maybe displays a side of the culture that most people aren’t familiar with. I think that’s my most exciting thing, people will come and see and experience something that they haven’t seen…maybe a better appreciation of it and a lesson of the internment cabin.” Nathan commented: “It’s gonna be an exciting and fun evening and we’re very happy to open the museum to the public and see what a little gem we have here in Puyallup.”

Nathan revealed the best thing about the event, “It’s actually also raising funds to assist us in buying an authentic buffalo teepee for our museum; we retired our cloth one. Now we want an authentic buffalo teepee, one exactly what Native Americans would have used. We are half way to our goal. As friends for the Karshner Museum, we try to raise money to better our exhibits and improve our exhibits at the museum, update technology and things we can bring into the museum, and bring students and public to visit a more interactive, and modern approach to the museum.”

When asked what many people do not know about the museum, Nathan replied, “This wonderful teaching museum was originated by Doctor Warner Karshner and his wife Ella. They lost their son, Paul, when he was a senior at Puyallup High School from Polio. Paul died within two days of contracting the disease. His parents were very distraught, of course and to get out of their funk, they went on this world tour. While they were in the London Royal British Museum, they saw all these students with their teacher and the students all had notebooks taking copious notes. Doctor Warner Karshner and Ella thought, “Wow! What a wonderful idea we should do something like this in Puyallup to honor Paul.” They started collecting objects around the world and opened a museum on the top floor of Puyallup High school and Central school (the first school in Puyallup where the Karshner Museum is now). That burnt down and they re-built the school and decided to take the museum from the top of Puyallup high school to its current location.

We have quite an eclectic collection of Dale Chihuly glass to our internment cabin, 1800 school room, reproduction Forts on Oregon Trail, and a Northwest Native Indian room. We have artifacts from all over the world, dinosaur collection, stuffed animals, a buffalo (real taxidermy animals that are life size) all kinds of stuff that nobody knows and that this little museum exists. We call the museum the hidden gem of Puyallup, people who come are absolutely amazed and have no idea it was sitting right under their nose.”

Nathan mentioned how the museum was unique, “One of the few in our nation. We’re just proud of our museum and we’re trying to grow, expand, and let people know that we’re here. We’re starting to get schools from other school districts to book tours. We’re expanding, reaching, and trying to educate the public and students our past, so that it helps and guides us to the future.”

The final “Evening at the Museum” event will be a discussion about the Holocaust on Friday, June 22, 2012. Nathan stated, “Like I said, the evenings at the museum events are geared towards adults.”

For more information about the “Evening at the Museum” events and the museum in general, please visit: http://www.karshnermuseum.org/ or call: 253-841-8748. To purchase tickets for the Japanese Kabuki event, please visit: brownpapertickets.com or purchase your ticket at the door. Nathan concluded, “Come enjoy this evening and hopefully you’ll come back for more”.

By: Carly Calabrese, staff for Tacoma.com

3 thoughts on “Japanese event this Saturday, April 14, 2012 at the Karshner Museum”

  1. From the heart

    I can remember hearing about this museum, but nothing more than that. After reading this article, I have decided to visit this “Gem of Puyallup” for myself.

    Thank you for such a fine article and taking the time to write about it.

  2. As President of the Friends of the Museum I would like to invite everyone to this event. I am afraid I gave the WRONG NUMBER for the Museum it is 253-841-8748. Wildlife artist Becci Crowe was actually at the Puyallup Library this past Monday but gave the same lecture at our Museum last October as the 1st Evening at the Museum Event. We will be giving tours of our re-created example of an internment cabin that is the same as the cabins that were located on the Fairgrounds in Puyallup.Come enjoy a wonderfull evening of music,dance and history.

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