Located in Pasadena, California, the Pacific Asia Museum as known as one of the only museums in the United States that showcases the significance of culture and the arts on Asia and Pacific Island history.

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© Pacific Asia Museum

The Pacific Asia Museum was founded in 1971 with the mission to promote and teach the history of art and culture within Asia and the Pacific Islands. Many of the people who were involved in creating and marketing the Pacific Asia Museum have become very influential in other art activities and programs within the Pasadena community.

A person who is an example of this is Grace Nicholson. Nicholson engineered the structure of the historic building of the Pacific Asia Museum in 1924. Nicholson’s active participation in promoting the arts influenced most of Pasadena’s society to engage in various art forms. Thus, she is one of the people who helped Pasadena into the art hotspot that it is today.

Recently, in 2013, the renowned University of Southern California merged with the Pacific Asia Museum to help integrate education into the museum’s mission and programs. By partnering with the University of Southern California, the Pacific Asia Museum has been able to increase the number of annual visitors, as well as spark interest of Pacific Asia art and history within many people who are of a younger generation.

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2.Permanent Exhibits

Permanent Exhibits
© Pacific Asia Museum

The Pacific Asia Museum has over 15,000 pieces of art and historical artifacts that are spread out among three different main attractions.

The Arts of Korea showcases how history played a key role in how art was created in Korea. This attraction is divided among different themes. One of the highlighted themes in this attraction is the focus on religion and art. Specifically, visitors can view various artworks that have strong Buddhism, Confucianism, or Shamanism ideals. From these pieces of art and other historical documents, visitors will get the chance to learn how much religion influenced the lives of people who lived in ancient Korea.

The Art of Pacific Asia has the most comprehensive art collection within the Pacific Asia Museum. The earliest pieces of art in this collection date back to over 5,000 years. Visitors will have the chance to view paintings, pictures, decorative art pieces, sculptures, and other historical art artifacts. The goal of this exhibit is to have visitors walk away with new found knowledge of how geography, culture, and political and social ideals influenced Pacific Asia’s art history.

The Arts of China is the most diverse attraction at the Pacific Asia Museum. This collection is divided in five different themes; Art and Commerce, Philosophical and Religious Ideas, Tradition and Innovation, Reading Symbols, and Status and Adornment. Each theme examines how art played a major influence in every aspect of Chinese society, and how Chinese society influenced how art was made.

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3.Special Exhibitions

Special Exhibitions
© Pacific Asia Museum

The Pacific Asia Museum is lucky enough to welcome various special attractions throughout the year. Since the special attractions are consistently changing, check the museum’s website for an updated list of special attractions. Currently, the Pacific Asia Museum has no special attractions on display. It is important to note that the Pacific Asia Museum typically houses special attractions beginning in the late spring and lasting through the end of the summer. So, you may want to keep that in mind if you want to visit the Pacific Asia Museum while there are a few special attractions on display.

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4.Educational Opportunities

Educational Opportunities
© Pacific Asia Museum

Since partnering with the University of Southern California, education has become extremely important to the Pacific Asia Museum. The Pacific Asia Museum offers school tours where students have the chance to explore the museum in a way they want, then participating in a special art class. When schools participate in the Pacific Asia Museum’s visiting program, they have the option of choosing what type of art class they want to experience.

One of the most popular educational programs at the Pacific Asia Museum is the Journeys: The Silk Road program. This program is fun for everyone at all ages because people who already know about the Silk Road get to participate in an enriching experience, and people who are unfamiliar with the Silk Road have the chance to learn about the important trade route in a fun and interactive way. This interactive activity is geared towards families and groups of people, as it’s more fun and educationally enriching to participate in the interactive activities with a few people. A storyteller even comes to the museum every second Sunday of each month to discuss the Silk Road.

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46 North Los Robles Avenue, Pasadena, California 91101, Phone: 626-449-2742

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Things to Do in Pasadena: Pacific Asia Museum