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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - August 10, 2020

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Joseph Duong - jduong@janm.org - 213-830-5690

JANM AWARDED NEH GRANT TO FUND 2021 WORKSHOPS FOR TEACHERS ON ‘LITTLE TOKYO: HOW HISTORY SHAPES COMMUNITY ACROSS GENERATIONS’

Los Angeles, CA

The Japanese American National Museum (JANM) is proud to announce that it is a recipient of a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to fund two Landmarks of American History and Culture teachers’ workshops in the summer of 2021 under a new educational initiative, Little Tokyo: How History Shapes Community Across Generations.

NEH awarded JANM a grant of $172,445 to fund two week-long workshops for as many as 72 secondary instructors from around the country. JANM, which is located in the Little Tokyo Historic District in downtown Los Angeles, intends to take advantage of its neighborhood’s storied past by presenting Japanese American history through the lens of the Little Tokyo community. The workshops will examine how this community’s unique experiences remain relevant to present day issues of identity and preservation.

“On behalf of the Japanese American National Museum, I want to thank the National Endowment for the Humanities for providing the necessary funding for our teachers’ workshops,” said Ann Burroughs, JANM President and CEO. “Educators are essential partners in helping us achieve our mission which is to foster understanding and appreciation of America’s ethnic and cultural diversity by sharing the Japanese American experience. That experience is embodied by our Little Tokyo community and we are confident that our participating educators will gain greater insight through their stay here.”

The workshops will be held in the former Nishi Hongwanji Buddhist Temple building. Constructed in 1925 and renovated in 1992 as JANM's first headquarters, the Historic Building is considered the largest artifact in the museum’s collection. The temple was a religious and community center before and after World War II. It was declared a National Landmark in 1987 and part of the Little Tokyo Historic District in 1996.

Over the course of five days, teachers will learn about Japanese American history through the Little Tokyo story. The workshops will cover the earliest immigration in the 1880s, the establishment of the community, the forced removal and mass incarceration during World War II, the Bronzeville era when African Americans settled in the area during the war, postwar resettlement and the ongoing fight to preserve the neighborhood against the forces of redevelopment and gentrification.

JANM was one of 238 recipients who received grants totaling $30 million from NEH. Locally, the Autry Museum of the American West and USC were other recipients for NEH's final round of grants for fiscal year 2020.

“These challenging times underscore how important the humanities are to making American culture and world history relatable across generations,” said NEH Chairman Jon Parrish Peede. “NEH is proud to award hundreds of grants to keep our nation’s scholars, students, teachers and citizens moving forward in pursuit of new knowledge and understanding.”

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Established in 1985, the Japanese American National Museum 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.

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