USC Pacific Asia Museum

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46 North Los Robles Avenue
Pasadena, California 91101
Open Wednesday through Sunday 10am to 6pm
Translations Chinese Simple Chinese Traditional Japanese Korean Espanol
USC Pacific Asia Museum


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I have an Asian antique. Can you tell me about it?
While we will investigate proposed donations to the collection, our staff is simply too small to provide information to everyone who would like to know more about their possessions. Museum ethics standards also restrict museum staff from financially appraising items. We recommend finding a specialist at or making an appointment in our research library.

What kind of fish are those in the Courtyard Garden pond?
The fish in our pond are carp, or, in Japanese, koi. During the colder months they will eat very little and might be harder to see as they spend most of their time quietly hiding. They are all well looked after. We ask for your help in making sure no coins, human food, or other harmful objects are thrown into the pond.

Who is Grace Nicholson?
The museum was originally the home and art galleries of an extraordinary woman named Grace Nicholson, who came to Pasadena from Philadelphia in 1901. In 1924, Nicholson commissioned local architects Marston, Van Pelt & Maybury to build a Chinese-style building for “Oriental and Western Art.” She lived in the building with her galleries downstairs and her private apartment upstairs until her death in 1948. (more)

What’s upstairs?
In Grace Nicholson’s time, her living spaces, guest rooms, and lecture hall were upstairs. Today there are staff offices, storage and a meeting room – The Blue Room. Also accessible from the southeast stairs are the public areas: auditorium and research library.

Is there a place to eat on the premises?
While there is no restaurant or food service available inside the museum, the Paseo Colorado Mall and several other restaurants are within easy walking distance from the building. There is no food or drink allowed in the galleries.

What is a docent?
USC Pacific Asia Museum docents are a very special group of volunteers who are dedicated to educating the community about the museum’s collections and exhibitions. After months of training, including classes, writing assignments and presentations, they are ready to share the museum they know and love with others by providing free tours of the courtyard and galleries. For more on booking a docent-led tour for your group click here.

I have damaged artwork. How do I find a conservator?
To find a conservator in your area, visit The American Institute for Conservation at for referrals.