Japanese American National Museum

Educator Resources

General Resources

Looking for some basic information about the Japanese American experience? You might try these links:

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Web Resources

Especially for teachers and students who aren’t able to visit us, we have created highly-visual web resources to engage students in learning the basic history of the Japanese American World War II camp experience.


Gihachi Yamashita

Enemy Mail (2018)

This online resource to teach about the Japanese American experience during World War II utilizes artifacts donated to JANM by the Gihachi Yamashita family. It includes an Issei’s reflections while separated from his family, and correspondence between him and his wife and daughters as they reached out to each other through months and years of fear and anxiety.

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Exploring America's Concentration Camps logo

Exploring America’s Concentration Camps (2017)

This thematic and inquiry-based JANM microsite, aimed at secondary students and teachers, integrates photographs, letters, artwork, oral histories, and moving images from our permanent collection to share stories from all ten of the War Relocation Authority camps.

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Fighting for Democracy educator workshops
Photo by Tracy Kumono

Pre-Visit Educator Workshops for Fighting for Democracy

Before bringing student groups to JANM’s Fighting for Democracy exhibition, educators are strongly encouraged to sign up for a free professional development workshop. JANM organizes customized workshops to provide an orientation to the exhibition and preparation on facilitating an interactive experience. Please visit this link for information on how to arrange a Fighting for Democracy educator workshop.

Free admission and field trip transportation is provided on a first-come, first-served basis for educators who attend the pre-visit workshop.

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Educator-Developed Materials

Since its inception, JANM has collaborated with educators, communities, and organizations across the nation to develop materials that use the Japanese American experience to teach students about broader issues of community, social justice, civil rights, and democracy. These materials are for use with students of all ages and in a variety of subjects and, unless noted, they are available for free download!


Instructions to All Persons Lesson Plans

Instructions to All Persons: Reflections on Executive Order 9066 Lesson Plans (2017)

The Museum’s education department created six lessons to complement our exhibition that reflected on the 75th anniversary of President Roosevelt’s signing of Executive Order 9066. Included as part of this packet are a number of primary source documents found in the exhibition.


Student at the Enduring Communities national conference
Photo by Tracy Kumono

Enduring Communities: The Japanese American Experience in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, and Utah (2009)

Enduring Communities was a project which culminated in 17 educator-created units that shed new light on the experiences of the pre-war, World War II, and post-war Japanese American communities in Arizona (grades 4-12), Colorado (grades 4-12), New Mexico (grades 4-11), Texas (grades 5-12), and Utah (grades 4-12).


Fighting for Democracy Educators Guide

Fighting for Democracy: An Educator Resource Guide (2007)

The Fighting for Democracy guide can be used with middle and high school students before, during, and after visiting and/or viewing the online exhibition. Fighting for Democracy is based on three fundamental premises: (1) We, the people, shape democracy; (2) I, too, can shape democracy; and (3) Those who have struggled for freedom and equality have extended democracy’s reach for all.


Teaching the Japanese American Experience: An Educator's Tool Kit

Teaching the Japanese American Experience: An Educator’s Tool Kit (2004)

The Educator’s Toolkit contains a sampling of lesson plans for elementary, middle, and high school students in Visual Arts, English/Language Arts, U.S. History, and U.S. Government. These materials are available in four parts for download: Instruction Book, Elementary, Middle, and High School Units.


Finding Family Stories

finding family stories (2003)

finding family stories was a multi-year arts partnership, initiated by JANM, based on the premise that Los Angeles cultural institutions representing different ethnic communities can learn from each other by working together. The project generated artwork and exhibitions, public programs, and Visual Arts activities (grades 3 to adult) to explore family histories.


Boyle Heights street sign

Boyle Heights: The Power of Place (2002)

Created to accompany the Boyle Heights exhibition, The Power of Place Teacher Guide: Tools and Resources to Investigate Community History provides activities for students grades 4–12 to explore their community history. In addition to the Teacher Guide (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Appendix), also available online are oral history excerpts and excerpts from an audio diary created by a Boyle Heights teen.


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