Code Making and Perspective Taking

With the 75th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, The University of Arizona community reflects upon and honors the tragic loss of sailors and marines killed aboard the USS Arizona. In keeping with this remembrance, Worlds of Words created a must-see WWII exhibit, Code Making and Perspective Taking, that focuses on the Arizona experience with the war.

Code Making and Perspective Taking

The exhibit features multiple displays including original art by award-winning illustrator Julia Miner published in the picture book “The Unbreakable Code” by Sara Hoagland Hunter. Miner’s paintings reflect careful research and capture Arizona and the Navajo Reservation in a way that transports readers to that time and place. This display includes a copy of the book signed by eleven Navajo Code Talkers who also note their division information.

The Navajo are one of many American Indian nations to protect and care for their families, communities, tribes and homeland by serving as Code Talkers. The American Indian Language Development Institute (AILDI) provides photos of and historical documents about the substantial contribution to the war effort by American Indians from many nations. AILDI encourages visitors to expand their inquiries by leaving their impressions and questions, which will be addressed in a December 7 panel discussion. This display is courtesy of the Hopi Veterans Services and Hopi Cultural Preservation Office, The Hopi Tribe.

A new generation reflects on WWII as Tucson High Magnet School presents student art responses to the war and Van Buskirk Elementary students share abecedario cards featuring Navajo Code, reflections on Japanese-American experiences and stories of grandparents. Visit our online galleries for Tucson High and Van Buskirk student work and artist statements.

In addition to the displays of art and documents, WOW encourages visitors to participate in hands-on engagements such as creating an unbreakable code, matching the symbols on military medals to the tribes represented, and sequencing the events taking place after Pearl Harbor. Children’s and young adult books focusing on Arizona’s connection to WWII are also available for browsing.

This free, all-ages exhibit is open to the public and runs through December 15.