Collections Overview

The USC Pacific Asia Museum’s permanent collection of objects from Asia and the Pacific Islands, spanning more than 5000 years of history. The museum’s permanent collection follows this mission and aims to collect, conserve, exhibit and interpret objects from East Asia, South and Southeast Asia, the Pacific Islands. For almost 5 decades, the museum built its collection largely from the generous donation of many collectors and donors. Our use of the collection, through exhibition, loans, and research, is driven by our mission to provide a dialogue rooted in intercultural understanding among communities. Visitors to our museum have the opportunity to expand their understanding of one of the most dynamic and diverse part of the world while also having the opportunity to find connections to their own unique experiences and interests.

Highlights of our permanent collection include the Harari Collection of Japanese paintings and drawings from the Edo period (1600-1868); significant holdings in Chinese ceramics and textiles; one of the largest collections of Japanese folk paintings outside Japan; a South Pacific tapa (bark cloth) collection; the Lydman and Snukal Collections of Chinese ceramics; Southeast Asian ceramics from the Collection of Margot and Hans Ries; and the complete prints of Paul Jacoulet. Through its collections, USC PAM’s goal is to promote the breadth and depth of the arts of Asia.

The museum’s historic building, a centerpiece of the permanent collection, has served as a cultural center in Pasadena since its construction in 1924 by Grace Nicholson as her home and gallery.