Japanese American National Museum
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Group Visit Offerings

To schedule a group visit, please use our online form to make your reservation. Special arrangements can usually be made with advance notice. Normal visits last approximately 1 and 1/2 hours; this may include a tour and activity or 2-3 activities. Please plan on extra time to allow students to rotate activities if you have a group larger than 60. All tours and activities are included with the price of admission unless otherwise noted. Guided group visits must be scheduled at least 3 weeks in advance.

Common Ground: The Heart of Community, Guided Tour

Recommended Age: 1st - College
Program Length: Grades 1-3, 1/2 hour; grades 4 - college, 1 hour
Available Tuesday-Friday at 10:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m., 12:30 a.m.
Saturday 11:00 a.m., 12:00 a.m.
60-student maximum per time slot

The Common Ground exhibition chronicles 150 years of Japanese American history, beginning with the Issei pioneers through the World War II incarceration to the present. This hour-long tour of the National Museum’s core exhibition is led by volunteer docents, many of whom share their World War II incarceration experiences. Please let the Education staff know at the time of your reservation what your students are studying, so that docents can adjust their tour to highlight specific areas.

California History-Social Sciences content standards: 2.1, 2.3, 2.5, 3.3, 3.4, 4.4, 10.8, 11.7, 11.11, 12.10
Common Core State Standards: ELA-Literacy.SL.1.1a, 1.1b, 1.1c, 2.1a, 2.1b, 2.1c, 2.3, 2.4, 3.1.1b, 4.1b, 5.1b, 6.1b, 7.1b, 8.1b, 9-10.1c, 11-12.1c; ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.7, 11-12.7

Documentary - 9066 to 9/11

Recommended Age: 9th - 12th grades
Program Length: 30 minutes
Available Available Tuesday–Friday upon request
60-student maximum per time slot

9066 to 9/11: America’s Concentration Camps, Then… and now? explores the parallels between the post-September 11 treatment of Arab (and Muslim) Americans with treatment of Japanese Americans after the start of World War II. Revealing striking similarities, the video serves as a primer on the Japanese American camp experience and its relevance today.

California History-Social Sciences content standards: 10.8, 11.7, 11.11, 12.10

Documentary - Remembering Manzanar

Recommended Age: 6th - 12th grades
Program Length: 30 minutes
Available Available Tuesday–Friday upon request
60-student maximum per time slot

Through the use of rare historic footage and photographs and personal recollections
of former inmates and others, Remembering Manzanar explores the experiences of more
than 10,000 Japanese Americans who were incarcerated in a remote desert facility
during World War II.

California History-Social Sciences content standards: 10.8, 11.7, 11.11, 12.10

Object analysis with the Museum’s education collection

Recommended Age: 6th - 12th grades
Program Length: 1/2 hour
Available Available Tuesday through Friday upon request
(30 student maximum per time slot)

Designed to complement a tour of Common Ground: The Heart of Community, this session provides students with the rare opportunity to spend hands-on time with artifacts from the Museum’s education collection. Through object analysis, student groups will discover the stories behind these artifacts and gain an appreciation for the histories that objects hold.

California History-Social Sciences content standards when combined with Common Ground: 10.8, 11.7, 12.10
Common Core State Standards: ELA-Literacy.SL.6.1b, 6.2, 6.4, 7.1b, 7.1c, 7.1d, 7.2, 7.4, 8.1b, 8.1c, 8.1d, 8.2, 8.4, 9-10.2, 9-10.4, 11-12.2, 11-12.4; ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.2, 9-10.1, 11-12.2, 11-12.7

Origami Art

Recommended Age: 2nd - 12th grades
Program Length: 1/2 hour
Available Tuesday-Saturday upon request
60-student maximum per time slot

The word origami is from the Japanese words for folding, ori, and paper, kami. While learning how to create their own works of origami art, students also learn about the origins of origami and how the art has grown into an international phenomenon. Younger students make a kori basket, representing the basket that Japanese immigrants used to carry their belongings, while older students make more complex pieces.

California Visual Arts content standards: 1.3.3, 1.5.2, 2.3.3
California History-Social Sciences content standards: 1.5, 2.1

Story Time

Recommended Age: 1st - 3rd grades
Program Length: 1/2 hour
Available Tuesday-Friday upon request
60-student maximum per time slot

During Story Time, a storyteller regales students with an illustrated and interactive story. Depending on audience age, stories range from traditional Japanese folktales to stories about the Japanese American World War II experience.

California History-Social Sciences content standards: 1.1, 1.5, 2.1, 3.3, 4.4
Common Core State Standards: ELA-Literacy.RL.1.1, 1.7, 1.9, 2.1, 2.2, 2.7, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3

Taiko Drumming (Tues & Thurs only)

Recommended Age: 1st - 12th grades
Program Length: 1/2 hour
Available Tuesday & Thursday upon request
60-student maximum per time slot

Japanese immigrants first brought taiko (“big drum”) to the United States, but today’s taiko combines traditional Japanese drumming with world influences to create a uniquely Japanese American art form. In this interactive performance, students learn about taiko’s basic techniques and some students will try their hands at playing the drums in a call-and-answer session. Students learn about the rhythms used in taiko and how drummers create their complex music from simple beats.

California Music content standards: K.1.1, K.1.2, K.2.3, K.3.3, K.4.2, 1.1.1, 1.3.1, 2.3.1, 2.3.3, 2.4.4, 2.5.2, 3.3.1, 4.3.2, 4.3.3, 5.3.1, 5.3.2, 5.3.3
California History-Social Sciences content standards: K.6, 1.5, 2.1, 3.3

Special Programs

In addition to regular visit offerings, the National Museum presents special programs for school groups during temporary exhibitions. These programs are available only during the run of the exhibition and can be combined with normal visit activities. Due to time constraints, we suggest that schools do not attempt to do both the Common Ground tour and a special program on the same visit.

Digital Speakers Bureau

Recommended Age: 8th - 12th grades
Program Length: 1 hour
Available Tuesday-Friday

This program is designed for students who have some previous knowledge of the Japanese American World War II experience. From their classrooms, students will have an opportunity to conduct oral history interviews with our volunteers through digital technology. The bureau will share rich narratives that make our history more diverse and fosters personal connections across generations that are difficult to replicate in a textbook. Media requirements and pre-interview preparation required.
Please contact or 213.830.5601 for reservations or more information.

California History-Social Science content standards 10.8, 11.7, 12.10
Common Core State Standards: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.7


Self-guided groups are welcome, although we encourage all groups to take advantage of our guided tours. If you are planning a self-guided visit to the National Museum, reservations are requested to ensure a better experience for your group and any other guests who may be in the galleries at the same time. Some temporary exhibitions may have age restrictions, additional chaperone requirements, and/or be off-limits to self-guided groups. Self-guided school groups do not qualify for the Free Admission Grant or school group discount rates.

Due to safety concerns and occupancy limits, the National Museum can only allow 60 students per self-guided group. If you have more than 60 students, additional time will be needed to rotate students through the Museum and other activities (What other things can I do or see with my students in Little Tokyo?). National Museum staff can help with logistics at the time of your reservation.

It is especially important that self-guided groups have the appropriate number of chaperons (one per 10 students). Unaccompanied school groups can become disruptive; therefore, self-guided school groups who arrive at the National Museum without the correct number of chaperons cannot be admitted.


The National Museum offers school visit opportunities to its educational facility, the National Center for the Preservation of Democracy (National Center). Visits are offered to school and educator groups by appointment only. The National Center promotes democratic principles and civic engagement by providing tools for living democratically in a diverse society. Aimed at middle and high school levels, National Center programs explore the relationship between diverstiy and democracy. Offering integrated educational activities designed to challenge conventional assumptions about democracy in the United States, focus on facilitating cricital thinking, activate youth-to-youth dialogue, and inspire participation based on three fundamental principles:

  • We, the people, shape democracy;
  • I, too, can shape democracy;
  • Those who have struggled for freedom and equality have extended democracy’s reach for all.

Fighting for Democracy: Who is the “We” in “We, the People”?

Fighting for Democracy is an experiental exhibition that uses World War II as a case study to begin discussion about how women and minorities have expanded the meaning of “we” in “we, the people.” It features the experiences of seven real people and traces their story throughout the pre-war, war, and post-war periods as examples of the millions of Americans whose lives were affected by the war and how each sought equal rights for their families and communities.

The purpose of the exhibition is to provide an interactive tool and discussion piece for educators and their students. Reservations are required. Please contact or click on the link below. Attending a free Pre-Visit Educator’s Workshop for this program is highly encouraged.

Visit the National Center Web site for more information >>



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