Students Unveil Digital Scans of Internment Camp - Mid-Pacific Institute

High School News

Students Unveil Digital Scans of Internment Camp

"Honouliuli was a place of hardship and injustice, but now it is a place of learning to make sure this never happens again."

Posted on May 3, 2016 by Scot Allen

Visitors packed into Wood Hall on Mid-Pacific campus for the unveiling of the latest addition to CyArk's website: unprecedented scans of Honouliuli internment camp that imprisoned Japanese-Americans during WWII. "The scans are now available to people who can't visit the location directly," said Troy Owens ('17) who presented to the large audience with John Yen ('16) and Samantha Komiyama ('17) "I think that is going to very beneficial in the future."

Please click here to view photographs from the reception.

CyArk, a non-profit committed to digitally preserving historical sites of the world, agrees with Owens and has build a partnership with Mid-Pacific to facilitate projects like this. CyArk garnered support through a grant from the department of the interior, national park service, Japanese-American Confinement Site program. "CyArk is delighted to be working with Mid-Pacific on the grant as a way to engage the next generation in the importance of the history of the site," said Ms. Ferguson, CyArk's programs coordinator. The support from the department of the interior, national park service, Japanese-American Confinement Site program enabled CyArk to provide the technical training needed for Ms. Calabro's Historical Preservation class which serves as CyArk's tech center of the Pacific.


The Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii (JCCH) was instrumental in teaching the students about Honouliuli in their Honolulu museum and also arranging site access to for the students with the parks department, which currently has the national monument closed to the public. Juniors and seniors from Historical Preservation class took the scans on Oahu's west-side last spring.

"Honouliuli was a place of hardship and injustice, but now it is a place of learning to make sure this never happens again," Ms. Calabro told the audience at the unveiling. "As part of their research, the students looked at artifacts from the 1940s at JCCH and studied the hardship of daily life in an internment camp. On our trip to scan Honouliuli they felt the intense heat in the valley and understood how uncomfortable internment must have been. As a result of this classwork they will never forget Honouliuli and what happened there."

The students are not the only ones to benefit from the project. "When we go document a site we get a really detailed digital record," explained John Ristevski, an attendee at the event. Ristevski serves as Vice-President of Reality Capture At HERE and board member for CyArk. "You can use the scans now for multiple purposes: education, site preservation, and commercial tourism. The parks department can take measurements using the scans because they have a whole site map now that will help them make decisions and manage the site."

Visitors at the unveiling listened to key speakers present on the project and then burst into excited chatting about digital preservation while touring several smaller educational stations. They circled between learning how scanners work from students in the technology demonstration area, exploring completed scans on large screen TVs, and observing the Autodesk software on display. There was an opportunity for personal reflection as guests wrote down physical places that had something to do with their ancestry and events that have significance to their families on white boards.

"The community's energy and attendance was exciting," said Ms. Calabro after the event. "It was an awesome experience for the students to present to Mrs. Ige [the first lady of Hawaii], CyArk board members, JCCH community partners, and board members of Mid-Pacific. Japanese internment is a story that is really important to Hawaii."

"The best part of the event was meeting Mrs. Ige and Mr. Ristevski because they were impressed with the work that we did," said Troy Evans ('17) with a smile on his face. "We told them about how the class is student guided so we contact the community partners, we schedule the field trips, we visit the places, and we stay in contact with our community contacts afterwards so they know how we are doing with processing their scans."

"The students passion, how articulate and knowledgeable they were, the technology, the storytelling--I was just blown away with all of that," said Mr. Ristevski whose new company designs the maps for self-driving cars. "It was as well executed as a professional project but done by high school students."

The student's 3D scans of Honouliuli's foundations are now available for viewing by clicking here.

By Laura Davis