Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders can trace their histories to a region that spans more than half the globe. They have played key roles in shaping America's past, leaving an enduring impact in areas such as work, politics, culture, and law. They have done so as immigrants, sojourners, settlers, refugees, citizens, aliens, U.S. nationals, and members of overthrown sovereign kingdoms. Join us in exploring the rich and complex histories of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders through NMAH's collections, exhibitions, archives, and scholarly research.

Photo above: Pro skater Judi Oyama skating downhill at the Capitola Classic, 1980. Photo by Richard Oyama. Learn more.

Page from comic book highlighting Asian Americans with words, Shaping the American Future
“Shaping the American Future” by G.B. Tran, from the e-comic “I Want the Wide American Earth” produced by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center. The comic tells the Asian Pacific American story in graphic narrative, featuring work by seven exciting Asian Pacific American comic artists.

Support Asian Pacific American History

Join us in ensuring that the stories and artifacts of millions of Americans of Asian and Pacific Islander descent are preserved for future generations. Your support of initiatives such as the Japanese American History Endowment will have a lasting impact on the museum and its millions of visitors of all backgrounds who will benefit from the extraordinary objects, vast research, and compelling programs presented. To learn more, contact the Office of External Affairs at 202-633-1841 or

Object Groups

These pages highlight selected areas of the museum's collection that relate to Asian Pacific American history.

Events and Programming 

The links below highlight past museum programming on Asian Pacific American history topics.


The links below offer resources relating to Asian Pacific American history for K-12 education.