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JANM Receives $564,837 from the National Parks Service JACS Grants Program

LOS ANGELES, CA – The Japanese American National Museum (JANM) has received two grants totalling $564,837 from the National Parks Service’s Japanese American Confinement Sites (JACS) Grant Program.

A grant of $414,663 will conserve, reimagine, and protect the Heart Mountain barracks as the centerpiece of the Museum’s new core exhibition, the nation’s largest and most comprehensive exhibition devoted to the Japanese American community’s experience from immigration, through their incarceration during World War II to the present. The barracks—an entryway and introduction to the Museum’s exhibitions—will be reimagined to evoke the emotional experience of wartime incarceration and integrate the exhibition’s educational and interpretive resources. 

A grant of  $150,174 will support the creation of a documentary film about the impact of the Santa Anita temporary detention center on Nobuko Miyamoto, a cultural treasure, artist, performer, and activist. The film from JANM’s Watase Media Arts Center will offer—for the first time—a record of conditions at Santa Anita, providing a first-hand account of what a Japanese American family encountered during their imprisonment there. It will also offer a greater understanding of the role that local American facilities played in the Japanese American incarceration. By telling the life story of one extraordinary Japanese American woman and her family, this documentary film will demonstrate the power that the wartime incarceration had to spark creativity and empathy in survivors’ lives. In turn, the power of art—found in Nobuko’s life’s work and in the documentary itself—creates an opportunity to introduce new audiences to the work of this remarkable woman, to the important, and often overlooked site of Santa Anita, and to a new interpretation of the legacy that Santa Anita has had for the Japanese American community.

“These grants give us the opportunity to present the Heart Mountain concentration camp barracks to visitors in new ways and use the power of art to dig into the important and often unrecorded role that everyday urban structures played in the World War II imprisonment of Japanese Americans, including how survivors like Nobuko used those indelible experiences to create works of art and fight for social justice into today. This documentary gives us an opportunity to showcase her life and accomplishments as a dancer, writer, singer, and folklorist. It also is an opportunity to show how art has been a powerful thread that has connected her incarceration at Santa Anita with the civil rights movement, the Asian American movement, and the present. By exploring multimodal ways that histories intersect with one another we can tell comprehensive, engaging, and personal stories that bear an enormous weight of history,” said Ann Burroughs, President and CEO of JANM.


About the Japanese American National Museum (JANM)

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 in 1992, JANM has presented over 70 exhibitions onsite while traveling 17 exhibits to venues such as the Smithsonian Institution and the Ellis Island Museum in the United States, and to several leading cultural museums in Japan and South America. JANM is open on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday–Sunday from 11 a.m.–5 p.m. and on Thursday from 12 p.m.–8 p.m. JANM is free every third Thursday of the month. On all other Thursdays, JANM is free from 5 p.m.–8 p.m. For more information, visit or follow us on social media @jamuseum.

About the Frank H. Watase Media Arts Center

The award-winning Frank H. Watase Media Arts Center produces documentaries, exhibition media, and video life histories in support of the mission and work of JANM. The Media Arts Center is committed to promoting thoughtful exploration, understanding and appreciation of America’s pluralistic society through an innovative program of media documentation and preservation, production and presentation.