Pacific Asia Museum

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Fusion Fridays

Pacific Asia Museum Announces Fusion Fridays
Summer Nights 2010, 7:30–10:30

May 5, 2010

Join us every month for a dynamic summertime mix of art, conversation, DJ Tony Cheung, dance performances and demonstrations, cultural activities, drinks in the Courtyard, and some of LA’s most popular gourmet food trucks!

May 14 - Premiere! Bhangra Night - India and Pakistan
Enjoy Bhangra DJ music, dance performances, mehndi, and a miniature art project as we celebrate Beyond the Page: the Miniature as Attitude in Contemporary Art from Pakistan and Indian Miniature Paintings and Drawings. Featuring the Sweets Truck and the Frysmith Truck!

June 18 - Japan
Celebrate Japan in Blue and White with Samurai, Sake tasting and Sumi-e. DJ Tony Cheung will be spinning in the courtyard, Samurai battle demonstrations in the auditorium and Japanese Calligraphy lessons in the foyer. Featuring the Mandoline Grill and Buttermilk trucks!

These events are outdoors and indoors! Cocktail or Asian Fusion dress is highly encouraged. $10 general public, free for members. Free on-site parking, or take the Gold line to Memorial Park. These events are sponsored by Japan Foundation, Los Angeles and Carnivo XO

Stay tuned for upcoming events:
July 23 Thailand
In celebration of Visualizing Faith: Buddhist Art in Thailand.
August 27 China
In celebration of China Modern: Designing Popular Culture 1910–1970

Pacific Asia Museum Education Department Overview 2009

January 6, 2010

The robust Public Programming schedule developed over the past few years continued to provide a diversity of experiences to visitors. By the end of the year, 270 lectures, demonstrations, classes, concerts, screenings, contests, special tours, performances and festivals will have been held, serving an estimated 12,500 people.

Two ongoing series were added this year. A weekly Lunchtime Yoga class, designed in part to serve employees of neighboring businesses, has developed a core of regulars and continues to grow. A monthly Family Tour allowed adults and children to enjoy a docent–led tour of the museum at no cost.

Contests, a new program format, also proved a great tool for community outreach. Sixty local students in grades 6-12 participated in the Silk Road Essay Contest, and the professionally judged Student Animation Contest resulted in many highly creative shorts based on the museum’s popular Samurai exhibition. (Watch the winning films in the " Digital Lounge".)

The summer film program was effectively expanded in 2009. The Anime Film Festival drew diverse audiences all summer long, and the successful Chinese Film Festival received international media coverage. Similarly, increased partnerships with largely Asian theatrical groups brought impressive performances and talented local actors, playwrights and improv artists to the public eye.

This year, the Education Department also introduced an Audio Tour. Delivered via cell phone, the tour provides additional context on the museum’s historic building, permanent collections, and special exhibitions. The inaugural recordings feature original poetry inspired by the museum and its collections - an unexpected but effective way of giving visitors new ways to experience the museum. The audio content and transcripts are also on the museum’s website to increase accessibility for international audiences as well as the hearing impaired.

The success of the museum’s Community Outreach Coordinator, hired in mid-2008, was extremely apparent throughout 2009. Some of the year’s most popular performances, such as martial arts demonstrations and a Chinese Opera performance, came about through partnerships established by the bilingual Coordinator. The museum has also had an increased presence in the community at cultural festivals, city functions, local libraries, and business events.

School Programs were particularly strong this year. Offered free to schools, the demand for this popular museum tour/ hands-on workshop format continues to grow. In fact, this spring student numbers were up a whopping 52%! An entire year’s supply of Family Tickets, given to all students to encourage returning with their families, had to be reordered within just a few months. Increased school partnerships, an exhibition of particular interest to teens, an increased teacher willingness to be flexible in scheduling, staff positions dedicated to community outreach and tour coordination, and the availability of bus funding all played a role – as did the willingness of our docents to meet the demand! In all, an estimated 3,700 students and 950 adults will have participated in the tour program in 2009.

Throughout the year, preparation was underway for the fall kick off of the Docent Training program. Held every other year, docents submit applications and are interviewed. Those who qualify meet weekly for an intense regimen of orientation, lectures and research. Upon successful completion of the course, they will be a welcome addition to the docent corps.

In collaboration with Pasadena Unified School District, Education staff developed and piloted a sixth grade curriculum for the My Masterpieces program. Using the museum’s collection and the Journeys: The Silk Road exhibition to address state standards in art, history, and writing, the program will be further expanded in the 2009-2010 school year, eventually serving all sixth graders in the district.

Finally, to help promote all these exciting happenings, the Education Department began maintaining an active and highly effective social media presence on Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr.

Time Tested

July 1, 2009

We have been researching the early Chinese ceramics in the Pacific Asia Museum collection. A component of this research involves testing the ceramic material to learn when it was created using thermoluminescence (TL) testing. When a ceramic is fired, the heat of the kiln resets the clay’s age “clock” to zero.

The clay contains minerals that absorb radiation from both from the clay’s internal radioactivity as well as from its burial environment. The radiation damage produced dislodges electrons which are then trapped in the clay. Heating a sample in the laboratory releases these electrons which each emit a photon of light, which is thermoluminescence. The amount of thermoluminescence is proportional to the time which has elapsed since the object was last fired in the kiln.

A small sample of the clay was taken from several spots on the objects by Dr. David Scott. This sampling was done in dark working conditions so that light would not alter the sample. Our testing was made possible with funds generously provided by the Carpenter and Getty Foundations, allowing us to work with Oxford Authentication labs, the largest laboratory in the world dedicated solely to TL testing of ceramic antiquities.

We sampled ten objects from the collection and five came back with results consistent with dates of manufacture in the Han (206 BCE–220 CE) and Tang (618–906 CE) dynasties. The other five objects came back with inconsistent results that point to a number of possibilities: the object might have been damaged and then restored at a later time, it might have been made as a later composite from fragments of earlier pieces, or it might be of recent manufacture. These scientific results, in tandem with art historical research, help us refine our understanding of the objects in the collection. In sharing this information with our visitors, we can illustrate the complications in dating objects and establishing authenticity.

Bridget Bray
Assistant Curator and Collections Manager

, China, Han Dynasty (206 BCE-220 CE), Earthenware and pigment,
Pacific Asia Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Robert M. Snukal. 2001.43.71AB.

Dr. David Scott and Bridget Bray prepare to take samples for the testing.
Dr. David Scott and Bridget Bray prepare to take samples
for the testing.

A Look Inside

April 1, 2009

Conducting research in order to learn more about the objects at Pacific Asia Museum is one of our priorities in the Collections Department. As technologies change and improve, so do our methods of analyzing the Museum’s collection. This winter, we have been engaged in fascinating research projects including imaging of one of the treasures of the Himalayan collection using CT (computer tomography) scanning.

After consulting with colleagues in Los Angeles and New York, the Department planned a project that would enable us to look inside our wooden sculpture of the Buddhist deity Amitayus seated with his consort. Many sculptures of deities and revered teachers are carved or cast so that they have a hollow cavity in their interior which can be filled with sacred materials. These cavities are then sealed in consecration ceremonies conducted by Buddhist teachers.

The Pacific Asia Museum sculpture’s cavity has a plug sealing it along its back, not on the underside of the piece, as is common with bronzes. It underwent the CT process much like any patient would, going through the CT scanning tube in order to capture 3-D images of both the exterior and interior of the piece. The images, which are taken in sequential slices, are then reconfigured by the technicians so that an interior view is possible. By looking closely at the CT image included here, a rolled scroll and smaller assorted items appear to be encased in the cavity. Materials such as turquoise, coral, pearls and organic matter are commonly included in these consecrated statues. With the help of the CT sequences, the Pacific Asia Museum staff is able to gain more knowledge about the sculpture without disturbing the seal on the consecrated area.

The Museum would like to thank Dr. Robert Hayward, Abel Sagum, Jerrod Honaker, John Schoeni and all the staff at the Huntington Hospital for their expertise and assistance.

Bridget Bray,
Collections Manager and Assistant Curator

Amitayus with Consort; China, Ming Dynasty, Yongle Period
(140-1424 AD); wood, gesso, pigment;
Pacific Asia Museum Collection,
Gift of the Nancy King Collection, 2001.1.47.

?Patient? entering the ?blue sky? CT scanner at Huntington Hospital, Pasadena.
“Patient” entering the “blue sky” CT scanner at Huntington Hospital, Pasadena.

Huntington Hospital CT technicians analyzing the scan?s data.
Huntington Hospital CT technicians analyzing the scan’s data.

Scan of Amitayus detailing a cavity containing sacred objects and the three separate pieces of wood used to create the sculpture.
Scan of Amitayus detailing a cavity containing sacred objects
and the three separate pieces of wood used to create the sculpture.