L.A.'s Global Cultural Museums

LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes
Photo courtesy of LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes, Facebook

Los Angeles is one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the world, and there are spectacular museums throughout the city that reflect this global influence. L.A.'s global cultural museums are ready to bring take visitors on an unforgettable journey through the history of Los Angeles and cultures from around the world.


LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes offers interactive exhibits and dynamic programs for visitors to explore as well as contribute to the ongoing story of Mexican Americans in L.A. and beyond. Located near the site where Los Angeles was founded in 1781, LA Plaza’s beautiful 2.2-acre campus houses a facility comprised of two historic and newly renovated buildings - the Vickrey-Brunswig Building (c. 1888) and Plaza House (c. 1883) - surrounded by 30,000 square feet of gardens, lawn, patio and an outdoor stage.

The California African American Museum (CAAM) is located in Exposition Park, just five minutes south of the Los Angeles Convention Center, and is conveniently accessed via the new Metro Expo Line’s Expo/USC Station. CAAM exists to research, collect, preserve and interpret for public enrichment, the history, art and culture of African Americans. The museum conserves more than 3,500 objects of art, historical artifacts and memorabilia, and maintains a research library with more than 20,000 books and other reference materials available for limited public use.

Founded in 1971, the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center (JACCC) is one of the largest Asian American cultural centers of its kind in the U.S. and a prominent presenter of Japanese, Japanese American and Asian American arts. JACCC is home to a number of civic and arts organizations and serves as the cultural and community focal point of Japanese Americans throughout Southern California.

Located in Downtown’s historic Little Tokyo, the Japanese American National Museum (JANM) is internationally recognized for its commitment to exploring the meaning of America’s ethnic and cultural diversity by presenting and sharing the experience of Japanese Americans. JANM is the first museum in the United States dedicated to sharing the experience of Americans of Japanese ancestry as an integral part of U.S. history. Through its comprehensive collection of Japanese American objects, images and documents, as well as multi-faceted exhibitions, educational programs, documentaries and publications, the National Museum shares the Japanese American story with a national and international audience.


Taper Courtyard at Skirball Cultural Center
Taper Courtyard at Skirball Cultural Center | Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The Skirball Cultural Center has established itself as one of the world's most dynamic Jewish cultural institutions, and among the leading cultural venues in Los Angeles. Its mission is to explore the connections between four thousand years of Jewish heritage and the vitality of American democratic ideals. The Skirball features an exemplary museum, changing exhibitions, engaging music, theater, comedy, film, family, and literary programs, and an interactive family destination inspired by the Noah's Ark story. Designed by renowned architect Moshe Safdie and nestled on 15 acres in the Santa Monica Mountains, the Skirball has been admired for its intimate scale and sensitivity to the natural environment.


Teahouse at Suiho En | Photo courtesy of Balbir Bassan, Flickr

Suiho En (“Garden of Water and Fragrance”) is a 6.5-acre authentic Japanese garden fashioned after “stroll gardens” constructed during the 18th and 19th centuries for Japanese Feudal lords. This San Fernando Valley hidden gem was created by Dr. Koichi Kawana to provide beauty, relaxation, inspiration and a better understanding of Japanese culture using reclaimed water. Dr. Kawana designed more than one dozen major Japanese gardens in the United States, including the botanical gardens at LACMA.


USC Pacific Asia Museum
USC Pacific Asia Museum | Photo courtesy of Michael Locke, Flickr

Established in 1971, the Pacific Asia Museum is one of only four U.S. institutions dedicated to the arts and culture of Asia and the Pacific Islands, serving the greater Southern California region. The museum’s mission is to further encourage intercultural understanding through the arts of Asia and the Pacific Islands. The outstanding permanent collection of more than 15,000 works of art tells compelling stories about the lives of people across Asia and the Pacific region, from ancient times to today. The Pacific Asia Museum is housed in a Qing Dynasty inspired mansion, with galleries that surround a courtyard garden. The Pacific Asia Museum building is a California State Historic Landmark and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.


Museum of Latin American Art | Photo courtesy of Omar Omar, Flickr


The Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA) is the only museum in the United States that exclusively features modern and contemporary Latin American Art. The museum is located in the East Village Arts District of Long Beach and serves the greater Los Angeles area. Since its founding in 1996, MOLAA has doubled its size, added a 15,000 square-foot sculpture garden and expanded its permanent collection, ranging from works by Tamayo and Matta to Cruz-Diez, Los Carpinteros and Tunga. 

The Watts Labor Community Action Committee (WLCAC) is a non-profit, community-based, human social services organization dedicated to improving the quality of life of South Central Los Angeles residents. The heart of the WLCAC is “The Center,” a seven-acre cultural theme park that houses an interactive community space, special event venues, exhibition tourism facilities and administrative headquarters. Highlights of the WLCAC’s Civil Rights Museum journey include “Countdown to Eternity” (an exhibit on the civil rights movement of the 60s as led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.) and a full-scale replica of a Mississippi Delta Road, which doubles as a backdrop for the Bones & Blues at the Boneyard concert series.

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