First-Ever Korean American National Museum Gets $4M to Break Ground on Permanent Location

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Koreatown, LA – For more than a century, the Korean American community in Los Angeles has been growing and thriving; knitting itself into the cultural fabric of one of the most populous cities in the nation. Though the Korean American National Museum was founded in 1991 – it has never had a permanent location to put the community’s rich history on display. That will change, finally, with the recent infusion of $4 million from the state budget.

“The Korean American community has flourished in this country because of their hard work, rich cultural contributions, and incredible sacrifice,” Assemblymember Santiago (D-Los Angeles) said. “Finally, after almost thirty years, there will be a central location – this museum – where the world can come and see what it really means to be a Korean American.”

"This museum will stand as a vital institution for the millions of Korean Americans who have made this country their home,” said Jae Min Chang, Board Co-Chair of the Korean American National Museum. “We appreciate the State’s recognition of the value of this museum to our community and are grateful for the support shown by our State and local representatives. ”

This year, after introducing a bill and submitting a budget request, Assemblymember Santiago led his colleagues in the Assembly to prioritize and secure $4 million in the 2019-2020 state budget to build the museum. With this funding boost, museum leadership expects the permanent location to open by the end of 2020.                                       

Senator María Elena Durazo, who submitted a budget request for the museum in the Senate said, “I’m proud to have taken a lead role to secure this funding for the Korean American Museum to help foster a deeper understanding of our diverse heritage of Los Angeles. The museum strives to preserve and interpret the history, culture and achievements of Americans of Korean ancestry.”

Senator Holly J. Mitchell, added, “As chair of Senate Budget and Fiscal Review, it is a privilege and honor for me to approve $4 million in state funding for the Korean American National Museum to contribute to its establishment in Koreatown, Los Angeles.”                                                                                                                 

Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva said, “Museums are educational gateways for Americans and the world to see the United States’ rich history. With the $4 million the California State Budget awarded for the Korean American National Museum, we are all able to recognize the rich narrative of the Korean American culture and ensure an eye opening experience for all.  As my Assembly District is home to many Korean Americans, I have seen directly the wonderful contributions they have offered in all facets of our community and excited for that to be reflected in this Museum.”

Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson added, "Los Angeles is home to the largest and most vibrant Korean American community in the world. I'm so proud the Korean American National Museum will finally have a permanent home in the heart of our Koreatown. This museum will give Angelenos and our visitors the opportunity to better understand the Korean American lived experience and celebrate Los Angeles' rich cultural diversity."

Eui-Sung Yi, an architect with Morphosis, added, “The museum will be a landmark for the City of Los Angeles and will show the dynamism of Korean immigration history. It is an honor to be part of a project aimed at venerating and amplifying this community, in a location so important to generations of Koreans.  ” 

Assemblymember Miguel Santiago is the Chair of the Assembly’s Communications and Conveyance Committee, and a member of both the Assembly Public Safety Committee and the California Latino Legislative Caucus. He represents the 53rd District composed of the cities of Los Angeles, Huntington Park, and Vernon.