Now the APS supervises the one-room Amache Museum in Granada, open Tuesday through Friday from 10:15 a.m. to 4 p.m. and run entirely by Hopper students – who do everything from guided tours to detailed stories behind artifacts such as textbooks, suitcases, rice cookers and the wooden sculptures of the incarcerated; operate the museum, including cleaning bathrooms and vacuuming; and help maintain the former roadside incarceration site, which was first added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1994 and then declared a National Historic Landmark in 2006, prior to its new NPS status.

Over the years, Hopper has continued to collect stories and artifacts from survivors and their families, preserving Amache and creating a community for those touched by her story in the process.

Even on a weekday at the museum, there’s a steady stream of visitors – from retired teachers wondering when they might get the official NPS pamphlets, to parents of former Hopper students who just come by to say hello or express what how significant the Amache program had been for their loved ones.

One of the students currently on the program, a 17-year-old high school student, leads a 90-minute tour through the museum, detailing the history of each item and putting it into context, with an emphasis on the history of the United States that has largely been swept under the rug. It’s part of his class’s curriculum — for which he’ll get a grade, class credit and volunteer hours — but the program has also had a personal impact, he says. “I hadn’t even heard of [what happened at Amache prior to the class],” he says. “You can check out the college history books — there’s not even a page, just a paragraph on them, and that’s it. I think [this program] is a great way to teach people empathy for others and the history of the United States that they don’t know.

With this tradition of community stewardship, NPS status elicits mixed feelings. During Amache’s tenure as a National Historic Landmark, it was still locally controlled, but it’s now heading for a “complete takeover,” Hopper says. However, the APS and NPS have developed unique arrangements, including the preservation of artifacts on site, which would otherwise be sent to a repository in Arizona. “Although it is an upgrade, they will take over the site, but we will still hang on to the museum,” he says. In the meantime, this museum is “still a private entity run by volunteers — we’re all volunteers,” says Hopper.

“The National Park Service is indebted to all the hard work entrusted to us,” NPS Intermountain Regional Officesays Naaman Horn. “The City of Granada and the Amache Preservation Society have been preserving Amache for decades, working closely with formerly incarcerated people and their families. Recognizing the importance of continuing to preserve Amache and its history for future generations, they advocated for Amache to become part of the National Park Service to ensure that the site and this difficult period in our nation’s history will be preserved for perpetuity.

The original water reservoir at Amache was found 20 miles south of Granada and brought back and rehabilitated in 2012.

Rachel Chang