Japanese American National Museum
Press Releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - September 3, 2013

Helen Ota - - 213-830-5648


Los Angeles — The Japanese American National Museum is pleased to present I Want the Wide American Earth: An Asian Pacific American Story from September 14 to October 27, 2013. Travelling from the Smithsonian Institution’s Asian Pacific American Center, I Want the Wide American Earth explores the deep-rooted history of Asian Pacific Americans in the United States, spanning from the first immigrants in the 1800s to the multi-ethnic communities found today. Through the display of thirty banners of poignant text, photographs, and art, this exhibition takes a sweeping look at how Asian Pacific Americans have shaped and been shaped by the course of our nation’s history.

For decades, “Asian in America” was not the same as “Asian American.” While the earliest immigrants struggled to be legally recognized as citizens, their descendants fought to be seen as “true” Americans. Additionally, Asian Pacific Americans have played key roles in some of the nation’s most important moments—from the long stretches of the Transcontinental Railroad to the toughest battles of World War II to the streets of Oakland to Washington D.C. Alongside some of history’s greatest names, they campaigned for civil rights and social justice—both for themselves and for others.

Since the 1960s, and subsequent new waves of immigration, the demographic makeup of America and its cultural landscape has dramatically changed. I Want the Wide American Earth extends beyond the often, tumultuous past, and marks the unique challenges that exist in a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic society. As one of the fastest growing groups in the nation, Asian Pacific Americans continue to lead the way to the future, serving as pioneers in numerous fields as diverse as fashion design, sports, entertainment, and science.

To complement this banner exhibition, the Japanese American National Museum will display key artifacts from its permanent collection that will give an additional perspective to the Asian Pacific American experience. Other exhibition features include Our American Voice — a two-person show exploring the diverse stories of Asian Pacific Americans held every Saturday in the gallery; a free fourteen-page graphic narrative of the Asian Pacific American story; and a mobile tour app featuring interviews with prominent Asian Pacific Americans.

I Want the Wide American Earth will open to the public on Friday, September 13 with an opening party packed with entertainment and treats starting from 6:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. YouTube comedy and music stars, The Fung Brothers, and DANakaDAN + CREW LOVE will be performing live, along with music from DJ Tony and food from the Mighty Boba Truck and Aloha Café. The National Museum will also debut a new two-person show, Our American Voice, a show presented in partnership with East West Players that explores diverse stories of Asian Pacific Americans.

I Want the Wide American Earth: An Asian Pacific American Story was created by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center and curated by Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center Initiative Coordinator Lawrence-Minh Bui Davis. The exhibition is supported by a generous grant from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, and is a collaborative initiative with Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES).

The Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program
The Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program provides vision, leadership, and support for Asian and Pacific Islander American initiatives and works to better reflect their contributions to the American experience, world culture, and the understanding of the planet and the natural world throughout Smithsonian collections, research, exhibitions, outreach, and education programs.

About the Japanese American National Museum
The Japanese American National Museum is dedicated to fostering greater understanding and appreciation for America’s ethnic and cultural diversity by preserving and telling the stories of Americans of Japanese ancestry. Since its incorporation in 1985, the National Museum has grown into an internationally recognized institution, presenting award-winning exhibitions, groundbreaking traveling exhibits, educational public programs, innovative video documentaries, and cutting-edge curriculum guides.

General Information
The Japanese American National Museum is located at 100 North Central Avenue in historic Little Tokyo in downtown Los Angeles. For more information, call 213.625.0414, or visit Museum hours are Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Thursday from noon to 8:00 p.m. Admission is $9.00 for adults, $5.00 for seniors; $5.00 for students and children; FREE for Museum members and children under age six. Admission is FREE to everyone on Thursdays from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. and every third Thursday of the month from noon to 8:00 p.m. Closed Mondays, 4th of July, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day.

Images available upon request.
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