The Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center brings history, art and culture to you through innovative museum experiences and digital initiatives.
From our establishment in 1997 as an initiative critical to the mission of the Smithsonian until today, the vision for the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center has been to enrich the American Story with the voices of Asian Pacific Americans.
Asian Pacific America is the story of a vibrant, diverse, and resilient set of communities that have been part of the American experience for more than two hundred years. It is the story of two continents and a constellation of islands joined by the migration, exchange, and competition of people and ideas. Yet, across museums and galleries in the nation’s capital and around the country, we find only fragments of America’s rich Asian Pacific heritage.
There are more than 23 million people of Asian or Pacific Islander descent in the United States. In less than 50 years, nearly one of every ten people in America will trace his or her heritage to Asia and the Pacific--a region that covers more than one third of the earth--including the Far East, Southeast Asia, the Indian subcontinent and the Pacific. This region is also home to nearly half of the world’s population, natural life, nations, economies, major faiths and languages. America is—and has been—a Pacific Rim nation. Our understanding of America and America’s standing in the world is richer, more compelling, and more powerful when it includes the Asian Pacific American story. The Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center serves as a dynamic national resource for discovering why the Asian Pacific American experience matters every day, everywhere, and all of the time.
Curator of Hawai’i and the Pacific
Lawrence-Minh Búi Davis
Curator of Asian Pacific American Studies
Curator of Digital & Emerging Media
Andrea Kim Neighbors
Head of Education
Director of Operations
Our Advisory Board
Debbie Shon, Chair
Harry Gee, Jr
Congresswoman Doris Matsui, Emeritus