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

Performance@PAM: ALLOS: The Story of Carlos Bulosan

The USC Pacific Asia Museum is thrilled to host Artists at Play for an evening performance of ALLOS: The Story of Carlos Bulosan written by Giovanni Ortega...

10/3 5pm
Conversation@PAM: Inside the Pink Donut Box: Stories of Cambodian Immigration

Join artist Phung Huynh and LA's "Donut Princess" Mayly Tao in a conversation moderated by curator and historian Erin M. Curtis as they explore the history...

10/17 2:30pm
Conversations@PAM: Southeast Asian Refugee Narratives

Listen to Pulitzer Prize-Winning novelist Viet Thanh Nguyen and exhibited artists Ann Le and Phung Huynh as they discuss their experiences of displacement...

12/5 2:30pm
Conversation@PAM: Belonging - Accessibility & Advocacy in the Museum

What does it mean to be accessible? Who are museums/exhibitions/programs currently designed for? How do we reach a full spectrum of community members with...

2/25/2021 4:30pm
Mapping L.A.: Asian American Migration Experiences 

Refreshments will be served. ADMISSION: Admission is free. RSVP beginning Thursday, March 25, at 9 a.m. DESCRIPTION: A stunning, immersive event will...

4/23/2021 7:30pm

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