Japanese American National Museum
Events Calendar

Family Festivals Past Events


Saturday, May 14, 2016
11:00 AM—4:00 PM

JANM Free Family Days: Fantastic Photography



Strike a pose, take a selfie, or snap a shot! This day is all about photography.



  • In a special activity inspired by the photographers of Making Waves, make a photogram using light-sensitive paper.

  • Visit Nerdbot’s retro photo booth and pose for a short series of impromptu shots with your family and friends.

  • Complete your collection of travel photography by snapping your selfies at our stations designed to represent locales around the world.

  • Get a novelty balloon that’s shaped like a camera! One per child, while supplies last. Line ends at 3:30 p.m. or when supplies run out.

  • Fold your own origami camera at Ruthie’s Origami Corner.

  • Decorate a picture frame and take it home to hold a favorite photo.


    11 a.m.–3 p.m.: Making Waves Photo Contest
    With the images in Making Waves as inspiration, create your own abstract photos using materials that we will have available at the end of the exhibition. Visit our printing station to take home a copy of your best composition and enter it in our contest to win a special prize at the end of the day. Prize courtesy of Bandai.

    12 p.m. and 2 p.m.: Photography 101
    Bring your favorite picture-taking device (camera, phone, tablet) and learn the basics of photo composition from JANM’s knowledgeable volunteer photographers. Children only, maximum 10 kids per session, must be accompanied by an adult.

    Sponsored by 


    NOTE: In addition to street closures in the area, there is a large event in Little Tokyo on the evening of May 14 which may impact parking availability throughout the day. We encourage visitors to the JANM Free Family Day to consider public transportation and/or allow additional time to locate parking.


    Saturday, April 9, 2016
    11:00 AM—4:00 PM

    JANM Free Family Days: Protect Our Planet



    Join us for a day of fun activities to encourage everyone to “think green.”



  • Make a Green Pledge stating what you can do to help the environment. Take home an instant photo of you and your pledge to help you remember it throughout the year.

  • Create your own biodegradable planter, then plant a seed and take it home to watch it grow.

  • Learn to fold paper cranes with recycled paper at Ruthie’s Origami Corner.

  • Decorate your own reusable shopping bag. For children only; first come, first served.


    11 a.m.–3:30 p.m.: From Trash to Trees with reDiscover
    reDiscover Center, a nonprofit organization that promotes creative conservation through material reuse, presents an art activity for all ages. Using upcycled materials from households and industry, participants will craft tabletop models of the trees that dot our urban landscape. Each child or group will make a tree to add to a miniature forest, and then take home their creation at the end of the day.

    11:30 a.m. / 2:30 p.m.: Bird Feeder Workshop
    Make and decorate a bird feeder out of recycled milk cartons. Seeds will be provided. Limited to 20 children; must be accompanied by an adult. Sign up at the Survey Table.

    1 p.m.: Art Workshop with My Papel Picado
    My Papel Picado, a family organization dedicated to preserving the Mexican folk art of papel picado (cut paper), presents a fun and educational activity for children. Using recycled materials and brightly colored tissue paper, create your own decorative papel picado. Limited to 20 children; must be accompanied by an adult. Sign up at the Survey Table.

    3:30 p.m.: Eco-Friendly Tunes and Stories with Claire Mills
    Children’s entertainment specialist Claire Mills will present her unique, interactive mix of music and storytelling, with a thematic focus on the sun and its power.


    Sponsored by 


    Saturday, February 13, 2016
    11:00 AM—4:00 PM

    JANM Free Family Days: Making Music



    Celebrate the joy of music with us, as we present a variety of musical performances and music-themed crafts and activities for the whole family.



  • Build a kazoo and make some noise!

  • Shake things up by constructing a pair of maracas.

  • Learn to fold a paper piano at Ruthie’s Origami Corner.

  • Hang out in our Jam Space, where kids can play with an array of toys and instruments.

  • Indulge in some virtual fun inside the Big Game Trailer, a custom-built mobile gaming theater with six large screens that can accommodate 24 gamers simultaneously. Featured will be music-themed video games like Guitar Hero and Rock Band.


    11:30 a.m.–12 p.m.: Children’s Tunes
    Michal “Peanut” Karmi performs original children’s tunes like “Ooey Gooey Mud” and “Six Little Pickles” on her ukulele.

    12:15 p.m.–1 p.m.: Drum Circle
    Visitors of all ages are invited to join an invigorating drum circle led by Drumtime.

    1:15 p.m.–2 p.m.: Story Time with Violin
    Enjoy a reading of Chieri Uegaki’s delightful children’s book, Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin, with musical accompaniment by violinist Megan Shung Smith. A solo performance by Smith will follow. The book is available for purchase at the JANM Store and

    2 p.m.–2:30 p.m.: UniverSOUL Hip Hop
    UniverSOUL Hip Hop, a community-based K–12 cultural education group, will conduct an interactive deejaying and dancing demonstration.

    2:45 p.m.–3:15 p.m.: Mariachi Music
    Listen to traditional mariachi sounds with a modern twist from Grupo Bella, an all-female mariachi band from Los Angeles.

    3:30 p.m.–3:45 p.m.: Taiko Drumming
    USC Kazan Taiko, the collegiate taiko drumming ensemble of the University of Southern California, brings the day to an end with a dynamic performance.


    Supported by 
    Sunday, January 3, 2016
    11:00 AM—5:00 PM

    2016 Oshogatsu Family Festival - Year of the Monkey



    Ring in the Year of the Monkey with food, crafts, cultural activities, and performances!

  • Watch Kodama Taiko pound fresh New Year mochi for you
  • Enjoy a Japanese-style lion dance and hip hop dance performances
  • Monkey around in the Curious George Bounce House
  • Sample a variety of traditional Japanese New Year foods
  • See Shan the Candyman create amazing monkey candy sculptures, which will be raffled off throughout the day
  • Join the Giant Robot Biennale 4 scavenger hunt and win a sticker
  • Get crafty at our puppet making, origami, coloring, and sketchbook customizing stations
  • Pick up a fukubukuro (lucky grab bag) at the JANM Store
  • …and so much more!

    For a complete schedule, visit


    Supported by Los Angeles County Arts Commission

    Saturday, December 12, 2015
    11:00 AM—4:00 PM

    JANM Free Family Days: Mele Kalikimaka



    Celebrate the holidays island-style, as our friends at KoAloha Ukulele lead performances, workshops, craft activities, and other holiday-inspired fun.



  • Decorate a miniature paper palm tree.

  • Build a Hawaiian-style snowman.

  • Make a festive paper Japanese lantern at Ruthie’s Origami Corner.


    11 a.m.–12:30 p.m. / 1:30 p.m.–3 p.m.: Make holiday and island-themed postcards in woodblock printing workshops led by KoAloha Ukulele. Musicians Ryo and Ryan will be available to sign cards.

    11:15 a.m.–12 p.m. / 12:15 p.m.–1 p.m. / 1:15 p.m.–2 p.m. / 2:15 p.m.–3 p.m.: Bring your own ukulele for free lessons in basic playing techniques, presented by KoAloha Ukulele’s artist partners.

    11:30 a.m.–12 p.m. / 12 p.m.–12:30 p.m. / 1 p.m.–1:30 p.m. / 1:30 p.m.–2 p.m. / 2:30 p.m.–3 p.m. / 3 p.m.–3:30 p.m.: An exciting array of ukulele performances are scheduled throughout the day, featuring KoAloha Ukulele’s local and international artist partners.

    12 p.m.–3 p.m.: Have your photo taken with Asian American Santa in Nerdbot’s Hawaiian-style photo booth. A JANM holiday tradition!

    3:30 p.m.: Close out the day with a spectacular all-star jam finale featuring Kalyn Aolani, Ryo and Ryan, Mike Sullivan, and Torrance Ukulele Group.


    Supported by 
    Saturday, November 14, 2015
    11:00 AM—4:00 PM

    JANM Free Family Days: Pop Mania



    Join us for a day of pop culture-themed activities in honor of Giant Robot Biennale 4.



  • See Giant Robot Biennale 4 and complete our scavenger hunt to win a prize.

  • Make a special custom button with a design started by a Giant Robot artist and finished by you.

  • At Ruthie’s Origami Corner, learn how to fold an origami dinosaur.

  • Contribute your creativity to our mural wall! Use magazine cutouts and other odds and ends provided by us to create a collective collage.

  • Decorate some fashionably funky glasses and wear them with style.

  • Let off some steam in our Robo Ranger Superhero Bounce House.

  • Take a break and relax with a book in our Reading Corner.


    11:30 a.m.–12 p.m.: JANM staff will offer a beginner’s drawing workshop in which participants learn how to draw a giant lizard monster attacking a city!

    12 p.m.: Live Drawing demonstration inside the galleries by artist Edwin Ushiro.

    1 p.m.: Art workshop led by artist Yukinori Dehara. Seating limited. Sign up at the survey table early!

    2 p.m.: Paper doll workshop led by artists Kozue and Dan Kitchens (kozyndan). Seating limited. Sign up at the survey table early!

    3 p.m.: Art workshop led by artist Yoskay Yamamoto. Seating limited. Sign up at the survey table early!


    Check back for updated schedule.


    Supported by 
    In conjunction with the exhibition Giant Robot Biennale 4



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