Handmade Shell Brooch

Handmade Shell Brooch

Usage conditions apply
This beautiful shell brooch or boutonniere was made by Mr. and Mrs. Takahashi. Many Japanese Americans turned to art to express their creativity and frustrations during their imprisonment. Many art classes of various kinds started popping up all around the concentration camps, providing an outlet for Japanese Americans to make beautiful things. While there was opportunity to create artwork, there was a large lack of material supplies. Prisoners would scavenge and try to find whatever they could to use for their art. Since many camps were built around dried up lake beds, many Japanese Americans found and used seashells, like the ones used in this brooch. These shells are painted red to look like bunches of berries, and captures a remarkable beauty even though it is using leftover, scavenged materials.
Currently not on view
Currently not on view (leaf fragment)
Object Name
berry brooch
date made
Associated Place
United States: Montana, Missoula
Physical Description
wire (overall material)
fabric (overall material)
thread (overall material)
synthetic fibers (overall material)
shell (overall material)
red (overall color)
green (overall color)
yellow (overall color)
paint (overall material)
overall: 5 in x 3 in x 1 1/2 in; 12.7 cm x 7.62 cm x 3.81 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Gift of Roger Shimomura
World War II
See more items in
Political and Military History: Armed Forces History, Japanese American
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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