If you’ve visited JANM on a weekday morning, chances are you’ve witnessed our onsite School Visits Program in action. Every Tuesday through Friday, JANM opens its doors early to offer specially-designed tours and activities for K-12 school groups from across the greater Los Angeles area. Some of the best learning opportunities happen outside the classroom; here at JANM, and we aim to give students a once-in-a-lifetime learning experience to explore more of the world through a field trip we hope they’ll never forget!
Securing funding is sometimes the biggest obstacle for schools to pursue these experiences and activities. At JANM, many of the student groups we welcome are only able to visit the museum due to our Bid for Education program. The program provides bus transportation and museum admission for primary and secondary school students from Title I schools and groups who have demonstrated financial need. The late US Senator Daniel K. Inouye launched Bid for Education at JANM’s Gala Dinner in 2000, in reaction to budget cuts at the state level that threatened to take away bus transportation for field trips. Since its inception, Bid for Education has provided field trips to over 12,000 primary and secondary school students and teachers every year.
Recently a 12th-grade student told a volunteer docent, “Thank you for speaking to my class during our trip to the Japanese American National Museum. It was a special experience to hear from an actual camp survivor, definitely something not everyone can experience. While it was a great experience, I’m very sorry that you had that story to tell. But I feel very honored to have been able to listen to it. It was definitely a memorable experience that I will never forget.”
The Bid for Education program has grown to include support for K–12 educator workshops, the development of free resources for educators, docent recruitment and training, and many other educational initiatives. Going beyond the doors of JANM, the program helps expand the horizons of students across the country through the museum’s teacher training programs and web-based resources. Through these ongoing educational initiatives, the museum continues its commitment to promote understanding and appreciation of America’s ethnic and cultural diversity by sharing the Japanese American experience with classrooms on a nationwide scale.
Please think about supporting the Bid for Education. The program receives much of its funding during the annual Gala Dinner, which this year is taking place on April 13. However, donations can be made at any time online. We greatly appreciate your contribution of any size.