Mess Hall Cards

Crowding and limited spaces in which to prepare and eat food resulted in scheduled dining times. Mess hall cards were used to regulate and structure the internees' daily meals. Although eating was organized on a strict schedule this did not prevent long lines and waiting at the mess hall. Lines formed outside of mess halls where people were affected by the heat of summer, the cold of winter, bugs, and the dust of camps that were located in deserts.
Communal dining also broke down the strong family structure – as children and teens sought out friends to dine with, as opposed to parents and grandparents. In some cases, families were unable to eat together due to work schedules and uncoordinated meal times, which led to further breakdown as a family unit.
Currently not on view
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
overall: 2 in x 3 1/2 in; 5.08 cm x 8.89 cm
ID Number
nonaccession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Gift of Ko Takemoto
See more items in
Armed Forces History: Armed Forces History, Japanese American
Cultures & Communities
Japanese American Internment Era
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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