JANM Opens Its Doors to Educators

Taking a class of students on a field trip can be an incredibly stressful process. Over the years, the Education Unit at JANM has fielded virtually every question imaginable from teachers who are dedicated to planning a museum visit for their classes. We know that teachers lead busy lives and spending countless hours in and outside of the classroom planning their visit and preparing their students.

There are so many variables leading up to the perfect field trip. Will the tour be conducive to my teaching strategy? What content does the documentary cover? Will my students have a chance to engage in hands on activities?

To answer these questions and more, on October 10th, JANM’s Education Unit is welcoming teachers to our Educator Open House! From 5 p.m.–8 p.m., the galleries will be open, admission will be free, and museum staff and volunteers will be available to answer questions, engage teachers, and promote JANM’s school visits program and educator resources.

Each year JANM welcomes thousands of students and teachers who are looking to not only learn Japanese American history, but to connect JANM’s content to present-day issues and events. In a tense and polarized political climate, JANM’s mission to promote understanding and appreciation of America’s ethnic and cultural diversity by sharing the Japanese American experience has become exemplified through the school visits program. 

Photo by Tracy Kumono

We welcome educators with a range of wants and needs—from teachers who have a field trip coming up in the Spring of 2020, to teachers who are interested in booking a visit for the 2020–2021 academic year, to teachers who want to use JANM resources inside their classroom. The Education Unit at JANM believes in making the benefits of a visit to the museum accessible to everyone. For us, this not only means running our daily school visits program, but aiding and encouraging classes to use JANM’s self-guided materials, and organizing Digital Speakers Bureau calls between eager K–12 classes and JANM volunteers.

Throughout the evening, JANM’s Education Unit will lead informal workshops that give educators an inside look at all the offerings of the school visits program. Program demonstrations will span what we offer for grade 1 through grade 12. Teachers can learn what sets a Discovery Tour apart from a 1-hour guided tour, how we cultivate a deeper understanding of culture through interactive storytelling, the philosophy that guides our work, and where to plan on eating lunch on the day of their visit. Origami workshops will be held at 5:30 p.m. and again at 7 p.m.

At 6 p.m., make sure not to miss an introduction to JANM’s online educational materials including education websites Enemy Mail and Exploring America’s Concentration Camps. The documentaries Remembering Manzanar (2004) and 9066 to 9/11: America’s Concentration Camps, Then… and Now? (2004) will be screened on loop. 

Photo by Tracy Kumono 

This night will facilitate deeper communication and community between JANM educators and teachers who may be planning trips or looking to expand their in-class curriculum. 

And if you need even more reasons to stop by on Thursday evening, all attending educators will receive a 10% discount in the JANM Store and be automatically entered into a raffle!

Free! JANM’s Education Unit invites educators to drop in to visit current exhibitions, learn about our various tour options for your students, and enjoy light refreshments with colleagues as we welcome the new school year.

Can’t Attend the 2018 Gala Dinner? Show Your Support Anyway!

JANM’s 2018 Gala Dinner is just a few days away, on April 21. Even if you’re not able to attend in person, you can still support an important JANM initiative that is the focus of a portion of the evening: the Bid for Education.

JANM’s Bid for Education program was officially launched at the 2000 Gala Dinner by the late US Senator Daniel K. Inouye in response to state budget cuts that threatened bus transportation for school field trips. Since then, it has become a galvanizing force behind the museum’s School Visits program, making field trips to JANM possible for more than 12,000 primary and secondary school students and teachers every year.

Funds raised by the Bid for Education are earmarked to support bus transportation and museum admission for primary and secondary school students from Title I schools and groups who have demonstrated financial need. Both school buses and public transportation are eligible for funding. Bid for Education funds also support K–12 educator workshops, the development of free resources for educators, docent recruitment and training, and many other educational initiatives.

3rd-grade-students-visit
Bid for Education funds support bus transportation to JANM for primary and secondary school students, like these third-graders. Photo by Gary Ono.

One teacher from Bell Gardens, California, recently shared this with us: “As a Title I school with financial need, your grants have provided us with the opportunity to coordinate a field trip to such a worthwhile institution, which provides our students with an invaluable cultural experience.”

mas-yamashita-tour
The Bid for Education allows students to have docent-led tours of JANM’s Common Ground exhibition, like this one led by volunteer Mas Yamashita. Photo by Tracy Kumono.

Another educator, from Lynwood, California, said, “We thank JANM for the generous Bid for Education scholarship that made our great day possible. We wish you continued success in your mission to educate, enlighten, and inspire.”

Bid for Education receives much of its funding during the annual Gala Dinner, but donations can be made at any time. If you won’t be with us at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel and Suites this Saturday, please consider making a gift online now. Support at any level is greatly appreciated!

Nissan Foundation Celebrates 25 Years of Promoting Cultural Diversity

L to R: Scott Becker, President, Nissan Foundation; Vicki Smith, Executive Director, Nissan Foundation; Andrea Blackman, Division Head for Education Outreach and Special Collections, Nashville Public Library; Tony Conway, Vice President of Development, National Center for Civil Rights; Allyson Nakamoto, Director of Education, Japanese American National Museum; Denise Rolark Barnes, Board Chairman, National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), and Publisher, The Washington Informer; Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr., Interim President and CEO, NNPA. Photo courtesy of the Nissan Foundation.

In addition to receiving a $20,000 grant to support school visits and public programs, the Japanese American National Museum recently had the honor of helping the Nissan Foundation celebrate its 25th anniversary at a luncheon to announce its 2017 grantees, held at the annual convention of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) in National Harbor, Maryland. JANM joined other grantees who are doing phenomenal work, such as the Nashville Public Library Foundation and the National Center for Civil Rights.

The Nissan Foundation happens to have a certain formative experience in common with the Japanese American National Museum, which many people are not aware of. JANM first opened its physical space to the public in April 1992, during the same week that the Rodney King trial verdict was announced, causing widespread civil unrest throughout the city of Los Angeles. That unrest had a profound influence on the shape of JANM’s opening ceremonies as well as its organizational philosophy moving forward.

As a direct response to the deep social injustice that gave rise to the LA Uprising, as many have come to call it, the Nissan Foundation was founded later that same year. For the past 25 years, the foundation has awarded grants to organizations committed to promoting cultural awareness and understanding through arts, education, and social and public programs. JANM has been the fortunate recipient of 15 grants from the Nissan Foundation to support such efforts as our School Visits program.

“I am extremely grateful that the Nissan Foundation, along with so many of JANM’s donors and members, share our belief that more students should have a chance to visit the museum and learn about the Japanese American experience,” said Allyson Nakamoto, JANM’s Director of Education, who represented the museum at Nissan’s luncheon.

During the 2016–17 school year, JANM hosted over 17,000 students; for many of them, the visit to JANM was their very first time at a museum. We strongly believe that all young people should have opportunities to think, interact, and reflect in a safe and stimulating environment. Research has proven that students who participate in school tours of museums gain critical thinking skills, display stronger historical empathy, develop higher social tolerance, and are more likely to visit cultural institutions in the future.

On behalf of over 17,000 students, thank you for your continuing support, Nissan Foundation. Here’s to another 25 years!

Teachers! It’s Time to Book a JANM Visit

Photo by Tracy Kumono
Photo by Tracy Kumono

 

Now that summer is almost over, it’s time for educators to plan their school year. JANM’s outstanding School Group Visits program, which offers a variety of stimulating and customizable activities, should be at the top of everyone’s list. Be sure to book your visit by August 31, as a rate increase will take place after that date.

We are now accepting school group visit reservations for the 2016–17 school year. For Title I schools and other groups with financial need, funding is available to cover the costs of admission and bus transportation. Funding is limited and you must apply in advance.

We offer several different options for customizing your visit. There has been increased interest in our newest tour options, which allow students to interact with our ongoing exhibition, Common Ground: The Heart of Community, in new ways. For example, the Object Analysis Tour (suitable for grades 6–12), encourages students to analyze and interpret specific artifacts and images, while the Self-Guided Tour and Discussion (suitable for grades 9–12) asks students to independently explore Common Ground and then participate in a facilitated discussion on how the Japanese American experience relates to the themes of civil rights and democracy. These tours are often followed by one or two of the following optional activities:

Taiko Drumming (grades 1–12)
Origami Art (grades 2–12)
Story Time (grades 1–3)
Documentaries on the Japanese American experience (grades 6–12)
Object Analysis using the museum’s Education Collection (grades 6–12)

Photo by Gary Ono
Photo by Gary Ono

 

For high school students, we also recommend visiting Fighting for Democracy, our experimental exhibition featuring seven real people whose stories are traced through the pre-World War II, World War II, and postwar periods. Their stories demonstrate how millions of American lives were affected by the war, and how individuals struggled to attain equal rights for their families and communities.

Before bringing student groups to the Fighting for Democracy exhibition, educators are strongly encouraged to sign up for a free professional development workshop. JANM organizes customized workshops to provide an orientation to the exhibition and preparation on facilitating an interactive experience. Please email info@ncdemocracy.org to arrange a Fighting for Democracy educator workshop and visit. Free admission and field trip transportation is provided on a first-come, first-served basis for educators who attend the pre-visit workshop. A free Educator Resource Guide is also available for download!

Be sure to consult all of our free educator resources as you plan your year and your lesson plans. If you have any questions about planning your visit, please contact groupvisits@janm.org.