The Presidio is not a collecting museum, but it mounts remarkable temporary exhibits. Its current exhibit, "Exclusion," has had a higher attendance than any in its history.
The title refers to the internment of Japanese Americans in concentration camps during the Second World War. On July 19, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed executive order 9066, which authorized the creation of military exclusion zones "from which any and all persons can be excluded "for protection against espionage . . . and sabotage."
On the strength of this, and without due process of law, Lt. Gen. John DeWitt issued orders forcibly removing and incarcerating 108,000 Japanese Americans, two-thirds of whom were U. S. citizens.
In the 1980s, under the Reagan administration, the federal government reviewed this history and unequivocally stated that, "race prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership" had motivated the incarceration, not "military necessity."
The Presidio in San Francisco was the army base where DeWitt was stationed. The desk on display (behind the red sign in the photo) is the one on which he signed these orders.