FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - January 23, 2020


Joseph Duong - - 213.830.5690



The Japanese American National Museum (JANM) has been selected to receive a 2020 Superintendent's Award for Excellence in Museum Education for the School Visits Program. The three award-winning organizations will be presented with their awards by the State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond (or his designee) at the Opening Town Hall program of California Association of Museums's (CAM) annual conference, held at the Omni Hotel in Los Angeles on Wednesday, March 4, 2020, 3:30 p.m.–5 p.m.

The Superintendent’s Awards for Excellence in Museum Education competition is a joint project between CAM and the Office of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction. This year, CAM received nine entries from a diverse range of institutions, representing the significant contributions museums make to California’s K-12 educational system. Since 2012, the competition has recognized 48 programs.

JANM docent Bill Shishima leading a school tour


The School Visits Program at JANM serves as a forum for students to explore their own heritage and culture and to learn about Japanese American history and encourages meaningful participation in an inclusive democracy by engaging students in American stories that advance the principles of liberty, equality, and justice. The School Visits Program provides on-site learning experiences for students in grades 1-12 from throughout Los Angeles County, benefiting thousands of students from over 400 schools in over 40 school districts annually. Over 70% of the students participating in the School Visits Program attend Title I schools. All school group visits include an exhibition tour of JANM’s ongoing historical exhibition Common Ground: The Heart of Community. To complement the exhibition experience, teachers select up to two additional, 30-minute educational activities for their students to participate in, including hands-on activities that explore Japanese and Japanese American culture, such as origami art, taiko drumming, storytelling, “history detectives” object analysis activity with the Museum’s education collection, and screening of a JANM or National Park Service produced documentary.

“Our School Visits Program is an example of how JANM continues to strive to unite the communities of Los Angeles by promoting understanding and appreciation of America’s ethnic and cultural diversity,” says JANM President and CEO, Ann Burroughs. “School visits are at the core of this and they help to increase students’ ability to think critically and appreciate what life is like for people from other cultures. A field trip to a museum is a way of simply letting students discover that free-choice learning environments like museums exist in their communities—places they can use for the rest of their lives to learn, to explore, and to reflect. Places they can make their own.”


Under a Mushroom Cloud: Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and the Atomic Bomb
Through June 7, 2020
Under a Mushroom Cloud features the damaged possessions left by the victims. Hiroshima and Nagasaki collected and preserved these artifacts, including clothing and other personal items. The exhibition is composed of photo panels and text panels that detail the histories of the cities, the development of the two bombs, their detonations, and the immediate aftermath for the survivors, known in Japan as hibakusha, of both cities.

Common Ground: The Heart of Community
Incorporating hundreds of objects, documents, and photographs collected by JANM, this exhibition chronicles 130 years of Japanese American history, from the early days of the Issei pioneers through the World War II incarceration to the present. In commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, the final section of Common Ground has been reimagined to further emphasize the redress movement, the landmark passage of the Act, and its relevance today.


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.

JANM is located at 100 N. Central Ave., Los Angeles. Museum hours are Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Thursday from noon to 8 p.m. General admission is $16 adults, $7 students and seniors, free for members and children under age five. Admission is free to everyone on Thursdays from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. and every third Thursday of the month from noon to 8 p.m. General admission prices and free admission times may not apply to specially ticketed exhibitions. Closed Mondays, 4th of July, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. For more information visit or call 213.625.0414.

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