Exhibit explores dispossession of Japanese Canadians in the 1940s

January 26, 2022
Museum of Surrey

Surrey, BC – On Saturday, February 5, Museum of Surrey will open “Broken Promises” – its first feature exhibition of 2022. 

Co-curated by the Nikkei National Museum with the Royal British Columbia Museum and the Landscapes of Injustice research collective, this bilingual (English-French) travelling exhibition showcases the personal histories of people from seven families interned during WWII. Museum of Surrey is expanding this exhibition to include personal stories from Surrey residents of Japanese descent. The multisensory experience features the Offices of Loss, which shows the administration of lives, and how this all happened, a map table that illustrates where this all took place, and an Oral History Theatre, offering first-person accounts from both descendants and bystanders.  

“While the exhibit uncovers a dark part of Canadian history, it also emphasizes that this history is a resource, calling on us to create a more just Canadian future,” said Museum of Surrey Manager Lynn Saffery. ”For families, “Broken Promises” is a vehicle to start a conversation with children about racism and how they can be catalysts for change.” 

Begun in 2014, this multi-faceted project is supported by a $2.5-million grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and $3 million in matching contributions from institutional partners. The exhibition received an additional grant of $285,000 from Canadian Heritage. Based at UVic, the project involves 15 other partners including four other universities, two government agencies, four major Japanese Canadian organizations, one provincial and one federal museum, and three historical societies and learning associations. 

Museum of Surrey follows health and safety guidelines as set out by the Provincial Health Officer, Worksafe BC, Fraser Health, and appropriate industry associations. Museum of Surrey is located at 17710 56A Avenue in Surrey. For more information, visit surrey.ca/museum

Contact Info

Kristyl Clark

Communications Coordinator

Heritage Services