The Japanese American National Museum opened its doors in 1992. The museum is located in the Little Tokyo area near downtown Los Angeles, California. It is devoted to preserving the history and culture of Japanese Americans.
The museum is home to a moving image archive, which contains over 100,000 feet (30,000 m) of 16 mm and 8 mm home movies of Japanese Americans from the 1920s to the 1950s. The museum also contains artifacts, textiles, art, photographs, and oral histories of Japanese Americans.
The museum contains over 130 years of Japanese American history, dating back to the first Issei generation. In 1997, the Frank H. Watase Media Arts Center was established by Robert A. Nakamura and Karen L. Ishizuka, to develop new ways to document, preserve and make known the experience of Americans of Japanese Ancestry. In 1999, the Manabi and Sumi Hirasaki National Resource Center (HNRC) was established to provide access to the museum’s information and resources, both at the facility and online, and documents both the life and culture of the Japanese Americans.
When first opened in 1992, the museum was housed in the 1925 historic Nishi Hongwanji Buddhist Temple building. Then in January 1999, the National Museum opened its new 85,000-square-foot (7,900 m2) Pavilion to the public.
The museum currently has Common Ground: The Heart of Community, which focuses on early immigration into the United States to the present day by presenting various art, artifacts, and media.