USC Pacific Asia Museum

Established in 1971, the museum is one of few U.S. institutions dedicated to the arts and culture of Asia and the Pacific Islands, serving the city of Los Angeles and the Greater Southern California region. The museum’s mission is to further intercultural understanding through the arts of Asia and the Pacific Islands.

The museum’s historic building has served as a center for art, culture and learning in Pasadena since its construction in 1924 by pioneering collector and entrepreneur Grace Nicholson (1877-1948) as her residence, galleries, and Treasure House/emporium. Ms. Nicholson’s championing of Asian art early in the century set the tone for much of the Pasadena community’s arts-related activities during the ensuing decades. The building also served as the site of the Pasadena Art Museum, which was renowned for its groundbreaking exhibitions of contemporary art. Pacific Asia Museum combined the spirits of both its predecessors in its focus on the classic and contemporary arts of Asia and the Pacific Islands. In 2013, University of Southern California partnered with the museum to form USC Pacific Asia Museum. The affiliation broadened the community that benefits from the museum’s role as a vital resource for education and cultural heritage, and expanded the audience interested in a dialogue about art, history and culture.

Support from the museum’s constituent communities has enabled the collection to grow to more than 15,000 objects, spanning more than four thousand years and the region extending from Persia to the Pacific Islands. The museum fulfills its mission by organizing and presenting exhibitions, performances, lectures, classes, workshops, and festivals, all drawing on the arts and cultures of Asia and the Pacific Islands. These programs provide quality arts programming and education to children and families, ensuring greater access to the arts for area residents and nurturing new audiences.

In its brief history, the museum has organized and presented a number of groundbreaking exhibitions, including the first North American exhibitions of contemporary Chinese art after the Revolution and the first exhibition of Aboriginal art in the United States. Exhibitions originated by the museum have traveled across the country and to Japan. The museum is also committed to scholarship and has produced more than 50 exhibition catalogues.

46 N Los Robles Ave, Pasadena, California 91101

Place Type



(626) 787-2680


Wednesday - Sunday: 11-5PM Thursdays: 5-8PM Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays




Upcoming Events

Lunch Box Conversations: Re-Picturing Global China: Contemporary Art from Shanghai to LA

Join Associate Professor Jenny Lin as she presents research from her recently published book, Above sea: Contemporary art, urban culture, and the fashioning...

3/9 12pm
Artist Gallery Talk: Tran, T. Kim-Trang

Join artist Tran, T. Kim-Trang as she discusses her work in an informal and intimate artist’s talk via Zoom. This conversation will focus on her...

3/25 4pm
Workshop@PAM: Sumi-e Inspired Paintings

Celebrate Japanese art and Earth Day in this meditative drawing workshop inspired by Sumi-e brush paintings of nature. What is Sumi-e? The Japanese term...

4/22 4pm
Workshop@PAM: Flower Mandala Drawings

Unwind in this soothing mandala drawing workshop, which takes inspiration from flower motif designs. In this drawing workshop, you will learn how to create...

5/20 4pm

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