Mission & Vision
The Korean American National Museum’s mission is to preserve and interpret the history, experiences, culture, and achievements of Americans of Korean ancestry. The museum is a center for cultural exchange and education, a catalyst for sharing ideas and resources, and a space for promoting and celebrating the diversity of experiences in our society.
It was on the doorsteps of the future museum where tragedy unfolded as the events of Sa-i-gu '92 (04/29/92), or the 1992 Civil Uprising, tore through Los Angeles’s Koreatown neighborhood. Thirty years on, we can reflect upon our history and strive to inspire hope and determination to r. Through this Museum, the Korean American community will be able to celebrate its achievements and acknowledge that great things come from celebrating inclusivity and diversity within society.
The vision for the new museum, the first in the country dedicated to promoting Korean American culture, is the creation of a state-of-the-art, interactive, educational environment that provides a dedicated platform for events, lectures, performances, and exhibitions.
The Korean American National Museum has a unique opportunity to create an institution that lays the foundation for increased cultural capital for Korean Americans. A place where we can finally hold space in a country that has provided so much and yet still challenges its immigrant communities to prove its belonging.
The Korean American National Museum (KANM) was founded in 1991 to plan and operate the nation’s first and only institution devoted to preserving, studying, and presenting the Korean American community’s cultural heritage. In 1993, KANM began developing and presenting its cultural programming, and in February 1995, KANM opened as the Korean American National Museum in a temporary site in the heart of LA’s Koreatown featuring exhibitions on Korean and Korean American history and culture, as well as a wide variety of lectures, readings, discussions, and screenings. Over the past three decades, the Korean American National Museum has partnered with museums, universities, and cultural centers around the country to produce exhibitions and events exploring the Korean American experience.
Discussions of creating a permanent home for the institution began in 2000. KANM’s board of directors decided that this institution should be in Los Angeles’ Koreatown, a community west of downtown Los Angeles that is home to more Korean Americans than any other part of the country. Over the next few years, the board along with the Los Angeles City Council and community leaders began the selection process for the future site of the museum.
In 2014, the City of Los Angeles granted the Museum a long-term lease on a lot in Koreatown for the construction of KANM’s permanent facility, and the Capital Campaign to build the Museum was kicked-off in 2015. The location of the museum was chosen for its significance to past and future Korean Americans; the site is at the heart of Los Angeles’ Koreatown district and for many families the starting point of their Korean American journey.
The new building contributes much-needed greenery, public space, and cultural programming to one of the fast-developing and diverse urban communities in the United States. As the Korean American population continues to grow in the United States, the Korean American identity has taken shape as a cultural force and as an ambassador for a larger awareness around multicultural, multi-ethnic community engagement.