Los Angeles's Japanese American National Museum, established in 1992, remains the only museum in the United States expressly dedicated to sharing the story of Americans of Japanese ancestry. The National Museum is a unique institution that operates in collaboration with other institutions, museums, researchers, audiences, and funders. In this collection of seventeen essays, anthropologists, art historians, museum curators, writers, designers, and historians provide case studies exploring collaboration with community-oriented partners in order to document, interpret, and present their histories and experiences and provide a new understanding of what museums can and should be in the United States. Current scholarship in museum studies is generally limited to interpretations by scholars and curators. Common Ground brings descriptive data to the intellectual canon and illustrates how museum institutions must be transformed and recreated to suit the needs of the twenty-first century.
Akemi Kikumura-Yano is senior vice president of the Japanese American National Museum. Lane Ryo Hirabayashi is The George and Sakaye Aratani Professor of the Japanese American Incarceration, Redress, and Community at UCLA, and author and editor of numerous titles, including Reversing the Lens (UPC), Common Ground (UPC), The Politics of Fieldwork: Research in an American Concentration Camp , Teaching Asian America: Diversity & the Problem of Community, and Japanese American Resettlement through the Lens. James A. Hirabayashi is chief project advisor for the International Nikkei Research Project at the Japanese American National Museum.