Newly-Renovated USC Pacific Asia Museum Reopens to the Public Friday Following Year-Long Closure

Published : Thursday, December 7, 2017 | 6:28 AM

Pasadena’s USC Pacific Asia Museum is set to reopen its doors Friday morning following a seismic retrofitting project which closed the museum’s doors for over a year and brings new gallery features and a refreshed 21st century look to the historic site.

To celebrate the grand reopening, the museum will offer free admission until December 17 for art lovers and locals who want to soak in the exotic artifacts, new exhibitions, and other fresh features you can now experience at the new and improved Museum.

“We are the art center for East Asian art and also arts from Pacific Islands and we want the museum to be the place where people want to learn about Asia, its culture, and its history,” said USC Pacific Asia Museum Director Dr. Christina Yu Yu. “In this era, we talk about the importance about global exchange of understanding and embracing different cultures and I think that’s the way our museum can play a role,” Yu Yu added.

The museum underwent a $5 million overhaul for phase 1 of a seismic retrofit process which strengthened the building’s foundation and added additional gallery space for special exhibitions.

The striking building was originally built in 1924 by the city’s famed “merchant princess,” Grace Nicholson, who used the Chinese Qing Dynasty-inspired home to house exotic art she brought back from foreign travels.


For more about Grace Nicholson and the building’s early history, click here


Now, nearly one hundred years later, much-needed repairs in the form of seismic retrofitting and temperature controlled systems to better preserve the museum’s trove of precious artifacts are among the features that give the aging building new life.

“These exhibitions, a lot of them are one of the first, introducing a relatively unknown topic to our audience and also have some scholarship support and also showing some never seen before pieces to the public,” said Yu Yu.

Phase 1 is expected to be the museum’s only intrusive renovation process and it was the cause of the year and a half closure to the public.

Museum staff had to move its entire collection of 17,000 objects containing pieces representing over 5,000 years of history offsite during the renovation.

Phase 1 also included a new climate control system for the basement art storage.

“We reinstalled all of our galleries so when you walk in the museum, you’ll see some pieces that you’re familiar with probably but also that haven’t been on view for a while and also newly acquired pieces,” said Yu Yu.

Friday’s grand reopening brings the exhibition, “Winds From Fusang: Mexico and China in the Twentieth Century,” which is a partnership with the Getty’s Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA program and explores the influence of Mexican art and artists on the development of contemporary muralism in China.

The USC Pacific Asia Museum will reopen its doors Friday at 11 am at the museum site located at 46 N Los Robles Ave.

Admission to the museum will be free Friday through Dec. 17.

For more information, go to http://pacificasiamuseum.usc.edu.

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