Japanese American National Museum

Japanese American National Museum

JANM believes in the importance of remembering our history to better guard against the prejudice that threatens liberty and equality in a democratic society. JANM strives to provide a voice for Japanese Americans and a forum that empowers all people to explore their own heritage and culture. Its mission has

Japanese American National Museum

One of the hardest measurements of a museum’s success is often the most important: the quality of the visitor’s experience. Impact measurement has occurred historically on multiple levels with both quantitative and qualitative data capture. While tallying the number of visitors is an important measure, equally, if not more important, is what happens to our guests when they leave the museum. JANM is more than just a museum and cultural institution. It has become an important voice for the Japanese American community and more broadly for all communities that have been impacted by issues of race, religion, and immigration status. Because of this, it is vitally important that JANM understands how this work has helped visitors and program participants engage with the historical context of the personal experiences and artistic expressions it presents. What change has the Museum brought about in their understanding of similar issues facing society? How much closer are we to achieving the mission of bringing about greater understanding and appreciation for America’s ethnic and cultural diversity? These are all questions that the museum seeks to understand and where we measure impact and success. Prior to COVID the museum received close to 100,000 general visitors a year. Through surveys and anecdotal information, comments indicate that people learn something new about the experience of Japanese Americans when they visit JANM galleries. They take away new and/or deeper understanding of the challenges faced by immigrant communities. For school tours, JANM hosts more than 20,000 students and written comments and feedback indicate that students leave with a new awareness of the Japanese American experience and violations of our Constitution after touring the Common Ground exhibit. This awareness helps spark deeper discussions and explorations within their classrooms long after their visit to the Museum. JANM is working with on developing an enterprise-wide performance management system that will include a more in-depth impact measurement strategy. These measures will align with institutional priorities and department goals, which will allow us a more accurate and sophisticated measurement of JANM's impact. The system is expected to be in place in early 2023.

About the Organization:

One of the hardest measurements of a museum’s success is often the most important: the quality of the visitor’s experience. Impact measurement has occurred historically on multiple levels with both quantitative and qualitative data capture. While tallying the number of visitors is an important measure, equally, if not more important, is what happens to our guests when they leave the museum. JANM is more than just a museum and cultural institution. It has become an important voice for the Japanese American community and more broadly for all communities that have been impacted by issues of race, religion, and immigration status. Because of this, it is vitally important that JANM understands how this work has helped visitors and program participants engage with the historical context of the personal experiences and artistic expressions it presents. What change has the Museum brought about in their understanding of similar issues facing society? How much closer are we to achieving the mission of bringing about greater understanding and appreciation for America’s ethnic and cultural diversity? These are all questions that the museum seeks to understand and where we measure impact and success. Prior to COVID the museum received close to 100,000 general visitors a year. Through surveys and anecdotal information, comments indicate that people learn something new about the experience of Japanese Americans when they visit JANM galleries. They take away new and/or deeper understanding of the challenges faced by immigrant communities. For school tours, JANM hosts more than 20,000 students and written comments and feedback indicate that students leave with a new awareness of the Japanese American experience and violations of our Constitution after touring the Common Ground exhibit. This awareness helps spark deeper discussions and explorations within their classrooms long after their visit to the Museum. JANM is working with on developing an enterprise-wide performance management system that will include a more in-depth impact measurement strategy. These measures will align with institutional priorities and department goals, which will allow us a more accurate and sophisticated measurement of JANM's impact. The system is expected to be in place in early 2023.

organizational budget

8 MILLION - 15 MILLION

existence for

26-30 YEARS

The Issue:

The history of Japanese Americans and other Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities is one that has been marked by bigotry, xenophobia, and racism. But it is also the history of a people determined to succeed and to contribute to the rich history of the United States. It is the story of adversity and triumph from the first Issei generation that came to here in the 1800, through the unjust incarceration during World War II, to Civil Rights and Redress activism. Recent events, particularly those around anti-immigrant and anti-Asian hate, remind us that the work of our cultural institutions in securing equity and inclusion must always be guarded and protected. It has been eighty years since 120,000 Americans were incarcerated simply because they were of Japanese descent. It has been nearly sixty years since the Civil Rights Movement dismantled the final piece of the Chinese exclusion act paving the way for equitable immigration policies and the ability for Asian immigrants to become US citizens. Thirty years have passed since reparations were made to those families incarcerated during World War II. And yet today, the community finds itself battling many of these same issues. Sadly, what has impacted the Japanese American community is not unlike what has affected other communities. Anti-Muslim rhetoric after September 11, the Muslim travel ban, and the incarceration of young children at the border in recent years are examples of the intersectionality of discrimination. These examples when added to the anti-Asian hate that has arisen during the COVID crisis are clear signs that the work of equity and inclusion never goes away. That is why the Japanese American National Museum sees it role not only as a cultural institution but also as a protector of the past so the generations of the future can learn.

The Solution:

JANM believes in the importance of remembering our history to better guard against the prejudice that threatens liberty and equality in a democratic society. JANM strives to provide a voice for Japanese Americans and a forum that empowers all people to explore their own heritage and culture. Its mission has evolved to enhance appreciation for America’s ethnic and cultural diversity in all its forms. JANM uses as a lens the experiences of Japanese Americans to bring a deeper appreciation for the integral role they and other immigrant groups played in creating the America of today. By raising visibility of experiences from everyday people, JANM has been able to be the connecting point for a panoply of communities, not only Japanese Americans. The Museum embodies its mission through various programming efforts. The Education Unit is responsible for the School Visits Program, educator professional development, youth programming, volunteer training, and educational elements that share the Japanese American story while fostering cultural participation, appreciation of diversity in background and opinion, and critical thinking about past and contemporary events. Incorporating hundreds of objects, documents and photographs collected by the museum, JANM presents exhibitions that explore issues in the community; foster cultural connections among visitors of all backgrounds; as well sharing contemporary work by emerging and established artists. This dynamic series of public programs celebrates cultural traditions; complements the museum’s changing exhibitions; fosters new connections among visitors of all backgrounds; and presents events of interest to all age groups, including family-oriented programming, lectures, book readings, film screenings, workshops, and performances. JANM is always seeking new and bold innovations to help capture the imagination of museum goers and to inspire deeper inquiry and action. The Museum understands that cutting-edge technology is an important part of any real life or virtual museum-going experience. JANM has made important investments in advanced technology such as StoryFile, whose artificial intelligence algorithm allows visitors to have conversations with Lawson Iichiro Sakai, a World War II veteran.

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