To mark the museum’s 50th anniversary in 2021, USC PAM collaborated with local creative collective, Narrated Objects, to gather stories and memories from our community of visitors and partners. Through a campaign that included postcards, narratives, and voicemail recordings, participants shared experiences and memories that give the museum a special place in their hearts. 

The stories are presented in this interactive timeline, along with highlights from the museum’s history of exhibitions, programs, and events. Scroll through to see stories from Teen Ambassadors, docents, volunteers, artists, and more, whose stories offer a highly personalized account of the museum’s history and will help preserve these moments for generations to come. 

Thank you for being part of USC Pacific Asia Museum’s history!

Get Inspired by These Submissions!

Story Submission with Photos

It’s easy to submit your story via our Google Form! Here’s a story excerpt from one of our Teen Ambassadors:

Growing up in Pasadena, I’ve been going to the Pacific Asia Museum for over a decade. My dad would take me and my brother to museums all over LA, but the Pacific Asia Museum was special because they had koi fish and burned incense in their gift shop. I felt like I was in my own little Japan—a home my dad, my brother, and I had never been to. I would imagine battling pink robots in the museum courtyard and slinking away from assassins by blending in with the other museumgoers. At the time, the museum was an extension of my inner world. It was a place where my four-year-old self felt galactic and expansive. I could explore new cultures and reclaim the parts of myself and my culture that had been taken away from me and my family by internment/ incarceration, without even realizing it. 

Going back to the museum years later as a Teen Ambassador, I found myself connecting to those parts of myself and my community again. I was now not alone or in my own world anymore, but I felt grounded in the love and curiosity for my fellow ambassadors—my community…. 

—Ella, 2021 Teen Ambassador

Go to “50 Years of PAM” Google Form!

Postcard Submission

If you prefer putting pen to paper and getting creative with your museum memory, stop by the museum and decorate a postcard on-site. Or, if you’re a member, request a postcard to be mailed to you and write or type up your entry. Here are postcards submitted by Tatiana Owen and Mei-Lee Ney!

Sample Phone Message

We’d love to receive your memories via voicemail at (626) 657-0082. It’s easy to leave a message with your museum story!

Past visitor and performer Norwood Cheek shared his memorable visit to the museum in 2016! Read the transcribed message below and listen to his phone message.

Norwood’s phone message

I have a great memory of the Women Warriors book event a number of years ago at the museum. It was really fun and I I got to perform a song called “Fiery Joan,” there. It was a great experience, and I love how the museum is a place that that kids and people of all ages can come to and enjoy.” 

—Norwood Cheek, musician