Tule Lake-Butte Valley Fair and Museum of Local History


A local fairgrounds located near the site of the Tule Lake detention center that includes a permanent local history museum featuring interpretive displays about Tule Lake.

The current Tule Lake-Butte Valley Fair and Museum of Local History began as a local carnival held in 1952 on the lawn of the local high school. Even with its small size, the fair and livestock show were popular enough that construction on a permanent home in its current location began just two years later. By 1957, the regional fair began to host a recurring "show and tell" exhibit, featuring primarily artifacts contributed by local elementary school students. The Fair Board encouraged the student's enthusiasm and created a "museum" in the livestock sale barn, which housed the unique local exhibits for decades.

In a new strategic plan devised by the Fair Board in 1999, developers recognized the need for a more accessible and professional home for the collection, which had become one of the more popular pieces of the annual fair. At this point it was decided that the museum and the fair offices would merge to allow shared staff and resources for the limited budget of the local fair. In 2001, the museum received funding from the fair budget as well as a $26,000 California Civil Liberties Public Education Program Grant, with the understanding that the new museum would forward the preservation and expansion of exhibits related to the nearby Tule Lake detention center. In support of this project, half of an original Tule Lake barrack and guard tower was moved to the site and restored. Today several interpretive displays inside the museum present the history of the camp, while a 3-D mural gives visitors the impression that they are looking down on the camp to grasp its size, desolation, and dull appearance. Visitors can also listen to an audio guide of the museum, which includes personal accounts from former detainees Jimi and Eiko Yamaichi.

In addition to the Tule Lake camp exhibit, visitors to the museum can view several murals of the natural landscape surrounding the Klamath region, Modoc Indian artifacts, local homesteading history, and regional historical photographs and memorabilia.

For More Information

Tule Lake-Butte Valley Fairground and Museum Website, http://www.tbvfair.com/museum&giftshop.html