Welcome | Mission & Vision | History





It is with much delight that I welcome you back to the newly reopened USC Pacific Asia Museum!

I look forward to seeing our visitors enjoying our galleries and courtyard, and can confidently say that the beloved home of USC PAM is now ready for another 100 years.

Although many of the improvements took place behind the scenes, you will notice some new changes throughout the museum. Our new Visitor Services Center will be the first stop for visitors to get acquainted with the museum. There, our friendly staff can explain our new layout and answer any questions you may have.

During the closure the Curatorial department worked diligently to complete a survey of our permanent collection. After reviewing the 17,000 objects in our collection, we are now displaying much work that has never been on view or has not been on view for many years. We also changed our permanent collection gallery layout to follow a regional theme rather than a chronological.

I am very excited about our new Special Exhibitions galleries. Our reopening exhibition, Winds from Fusang: Mexico and China in the Twentieth Century, explores the relationship Mexico had on contemporary Chinese art in the last century. It is a fascinating topic that is as of yet unexamined and is already stirring much interest with the press.

I thank you all for supporting PAM and look forward to an exciting year ahead!


Mission & Vision


USC PAM’s mission is to further intercultural understanding through the arts and culture of Asia and the Pacific Islands.


A vibrant destination of Asian and Pacific Islands arts and culture that ignites intellectual curiosities and creative collaborations.

USC PAM is a LEADer in Asian arts & cultures:

  • Learning: we foster appreciation of Asian and Pacific Islands arts and culture.
  • Experience: we create engaging and stimulating experiences in a friendly and intellectual environment.
  • Authenticity: we offer opportunities to encounter authentic artistic and cultural experiences.
  • Diversity: we promote artistic, cultural, religious, racial, social, and economic diversity.


Established in 1971, the museum is one of few U.S. institutions dedicated to the arts and culture of Asia and the Pacific Islands, serving the city of Los Angeles and the Greater Southern California region. The museum’s mission is to further intercultural understanding through the arts of Asia and the Pacific Islands.

The museum’s historic building has served as a center for art, culture and learning in Pasadena since its construction in 1924 by pioneering collector and entrepreneur Grace Nicholson (1877-1948) as her residence, galleries, and Treasure House/emporium. Ms. Nicholson’s championing of Asian art early in the century set the tone for much of the Pasadena community’s arts-related activities during the ensuing decades. The building also served as the site of the Pasadena Art Museum, which was renowned for its groundbreaking exhibitions of contemporary art. Pacific Asia Museum combined the spirits of both its predecessors in its focus on the classic and contemporary arts of Asia and the Pacific Islands. In 2013, University of Southern California partnered with the museum to form USC Pacific Asia Museum. The affiliation broadened the community that benefits from the museum’s role as a vital resource for education and cultural heritage, and expanded the audience interested in a dialogue about art, history and culture.

Support from the museum’s constituent communities has enabled the collection to grow to more than 15,000 objects, spanning more than four thousand years and the region extending from Persia to the Pacific Islands. The museum fulfills its mission by organizing and presenting exhibitions, performances, lectures, classes, workshops, and festivals, all drawing on the arts and cultures of Asia and the Pacific Islands. These programs provide quality arts programming and education to children and families, ensuring greater access to the arts for area residents and nurturing new audiences.

In its brief history, the museum has organized and presented a number of groundbreaking exhibitions, including the first North American exhibitions of contemporary Chinese art after the Revolution and the first exhibition of Aboriginal art in the United States. Exhibitions originated by the museum have traveled across the country and to Japan. The museum is also committed to scholarship and has produced more than 50 exhibition catalogues.