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Popular Museum looks for a New Home


(NewMediaWire) - February 26, 2023 - Burbank, CA – Serving as the capital of movie and television studios, Burbank has been the home to Warner Bros., Disney studios plus the Burbank Studios. Amid these gigantic multi-billion dollar media moguls, for the past 13 years, Burbank has also been home to the world’s first and only museum dedicated to Asian forms of art, the Martial Arts History Museum. Although listed in some places as the number two attraction to visit in Burbank, the museum is looking for a new home in the Los Angeles or San Fernando Valley.

The 24-year-old museum, which provides an educational look at Asian art, history, culture, and tradition and their positive impact of the Asian-American community, has been a unique tourist attraction for the city. A focal point for over a decade, the museum holds events nearly every week in addition to its famed Dragonfest convention which is held every year for 17 years.

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“It’s great to learn about the punch and kick, but it’s also important to learn about where the art came from, what role it played in each country, and how it came to America and changed our way of life, our cartoons, our television shows, and our movies,” notes museum founder and creator Michael Matsuda. “The martial arts plays such a huge part in American history. From Theodore Roosevelt practicing Jiu Jitsu and President Reagan being awarded an honorary black belt to the birth of mixed martial arts. We used to have soccer moms in America, now we have karate moms.”

According to Matsuda, the museum used to have a map on the wall with a red dot to represent someone who has visited from another country. In just five years, they filled that map.

Although Burbank has been heralded for its movie industry, it falls short in its representation of other cultures. The Martial Arts History Museum has been the only permanent connection to different peoples and different cultures. “I think that’s really sad. You have billion-dollar companies, with so much revenue coming in, and yet no real support for an Asian museum. Especially now, in this culture-opposition environment, we are the only standing facility that offers diversity,” adds Matsuda.

First opening in Santa Clarita, Burbank has been their home for 13 years, but Matsuda feels that things need to work both ways. “We bring tourism, we bring people nearly every week to our events, and we host a list of humanitarian efforts such as Anti-Asian Hate day and Anti-Bullying day, and I think that’s so important to be a part of this great community. However, the museum is in need of a bigger place. Staying in Burbank would be ideal but without support, we have to look elsewhere such as Glendale or Los Angeles,” says Matsuda.


“There are always opportunities. If you really want something, you find a way,” adds Matsuda. “We require a bigger facility for one main reason, we are currently not large enough for the Unified School District to bring in a busload of kids. That is a real problem we face. We get requests all the time, but we can only host 30 kids at a time. They require 90 kids for a bus. We cannot grow if we are not big enough to bring in the children. And especially in today’s climate, what better place to learn about other cultures and a cultural museum.”

Cities are always looking for ways to bring in visitors to shop at their stores, dine at their eateries, and especially, visitors staying at their many hotels. The Martial Arts History Museum has been a big part of that. When they hosted their Dragonfest convention in Burbank, over 50 guests would stay at the local hotels each year.

“I think if we were a Star Wars museum it would be different, but we are an Asian museum so we are looked at differently. Hey, if there was a popular museum wanting to come to my city, I would be on the phone talking about different options that may be available. But maybe, that’s just me,” adds Matsuda.


To assist the museum, they have launched a “$5 to $5 Million” fundraising campaign. The goal is to either lease or purchase a facility depending upon the money they raise. “We are not asking for full funding, we are not asking for the world, just a little assistance from the city would be nice. I believe our representatives should be there in office to help us, not ignore us,” concludes Matsuda.

For information about the Martial Arts History Museum, visit them at or call (818) 355-1109 or email The museum is a fully registered non-profit 501(c)(3) organization.

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