Japanese American National Museum
Press Releases


Joseph Duong - - 213-830-5690


Los Angeles, CA

The Japanese American National Museum (JANM) has received over $530,000 in grants from the Department of Interior, National Park Service (NPS) through the Japanese American Confinement Sites (JACS) grant program. The funds will support two projects - the development of an experiential exhibition that will explore the important role that religious institutions and individuals played for Japanese Americans during World War II and the digitization of over 10,000 images and scans related to the World War II incarceration experience from the museum’s pre-eminent collection.

A JACS grant of over $240,000 will support the exhibition Sutra and Bible: Faith and Japanese American World War II Incarceration. The exhibition will delve into the confines of concentration camps to the battlegrounds of Europe, Japanese American religious leaders and laypeople sought solace in their faiths while also confronting the challenge to their beliefs that wartime hardships posed. Using iconic religious objects and moving stories, this exhibit takes the visitor through the ways that religion played an important role in reestablishing a sense of community, offering comfort, and bringing people together in a time of war. It also grapples with the critical question of the extent to which the US has stayed true to the ideal of religious freedom enshrined in the Constitution’s First Amendment.

A separate JACS grant of over $280,000 will support the digitization of JANM Camp Digitization Project. This will be part of a multi-phased project in collaboration with Densho. This partnership will result in the digitized collection being shared on both websites in phase I and continued digitization along with a curated narrative to provide connections and historical context in phase II. Through this partnership, we will be able to reach larger audiences while providing online visitors with more information on the Japanese American experience.

Following digitization, JANM will make the moving images accessible via its website. In addition, selected excerpts will be shared on the museum’s other digital platforms.

The JANM grant proposals were selected through a competitive process. In 2019, NPS awarded 22 grants totaling over $3.1M. With these funds, JACS grants are awarded to private nonprofit organizations; educational institutions; state, local, and tribal governments; and other public entities to preserve and interpret U.S. confinement sites where Japanese Americans were detained during World War II.

Established in 1985, JANM promotes understanding and appreciation of America’s ethnic and cultural diversity by sharing the Japanese American experience. Located in the historic Little Tokyo district of downtown Los Angeles, JANM is a hybrid institution that straddles traditional museum categories and strives to provide a voice for Japanese Americans as well as a forum that enables all people to explore their own heritage and culture. Since opening to the public, JANM has presented over 70 exhibitions onsite and traveled 17 of its exhibitions to locations around the world, including the Smithsonian Institution and the Ellis Island Museum in the United States, and several leading cultural museums in Japan and South America. For more information visit or follow us on social media @jamuseum.

For questions regarding the JACS grant program, please contact Kara Miyagishima, Program Manager, Japanese American Confinement Sites Grant Program, NPS, at 303-969-2885.

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