Visit These Museums to Honor AAPI History, Arts, and Culture

Visiting museums is undoubtedly a great way to seek visual respite—or a dose of fascinating history. With May being Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, it’s the perfect time to visit sites that honor the creations of members of the AAPI community. Below, take a look at our list of museums to visit during AAPI Heritage Month and beyond, which includes sites like the Honolulu Museum of Art, the Japanese American National Museum, and more.

The Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery (The Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art), Washington, D.C.

Together, the Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery make up the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art, in the heart of Washington, D.C. Their respective collections add up to over 40,000 objects in total, including items from Japan, China, Korea, and South and Southeast Asia.

The Japanese American National Museum, Los Angeles, California

Located in the Little Tokyo area of downtown Los Angeles, the Japanese American National Museum is home to various artworks, photographs, textiles, artifacts, and o*** histories of Japanese Americans, spanning across more than 130 years of history. The creation of this museum was conceived by various notable Japanese-Americans, including activist Bruce Kaji. They set out to raise awareness about the injustices their community faced at the hands of the U.S. government amidst World War II.

The Asian Art Museum Chong-Moon Lee Center for Asian Art and Cultur, San Francisco, California

Originally established in 1966 with Asian art from the collection of Avery Brundage, this massive museum of Asian art has since relocated (in a renovation spearheaded by Italian architect Gae Aulenti and funded by a $15 million gift by Korean-American entrepreneur Chong-Moon Lee) to the former San Francisco City Library, where it houses over 18,000 works—including a full Japanese tea house on the second floor.

The Rubin Museum of Art, New York, New York

New York City’s Rubin Museum of Art honors the artwork and cultures of numerous regions, including the Indian subcontinent, the Himalayas, East Asia and other parts of Eurasia. Since its opening in 2004, this site has been home to more than 1,000 sculptures, paintings, ritual objects, and textiles. Plus, there’s a six-story spiral staircase within the museum that certainly makes for a unique design feature—and a very Instagram-able backdrop.

The Seattle Asian Art Museum, Seattle, Washington

The Seattle Asian Art Museum (also known as SAAM) features both historic and modern artworks from Japan, India, Korea, China, the Himalayas, and other Southeast Asian countries. The building it’s housed in is an Art Deco creation constructed in 1933 by Carl Frelinghuysen Gould—and it’s since become both a Seattle landmark with a place on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Crow Collection of Asian Art, Dallas, Texas

Since it opened to the public in 1998, the Crow Collection of Asian Art, which is part of the University of Texas at Dallas, has spotlit the arts and cultures of countries including Nepal, Japan, India, China, Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Myanmar. This museum is part of the Dallas Arts District, which also includes the Dallas Museum of Art, another site that boasts an impressive Asian art collection.

The Honolulu Museum of Art, Honolulu, Hawaii

The Honolulu Museum of Art—previously known as the Honolulu Academy of Arts—is the largest museum of its kind in Hawaii, with over 50,000 artworks in its collection. It also boasts one of the largest collections of both Asian and Pan-Pacific art in the U.S., as well as paintings by Claude Monet, Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, and Andy Warhol.

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