Burbank, CA – The Martial Arts History Museum is known by many as the world's first and only museum of its kind. It is an educational facility that enlightens visitors about Asian art, history, culture, and tradition as it connects with the martial arts. However, many are unaware of the many humanitarian programs the museum has been bringing to the city of Burbank for the last dozen years.
“We are a great museum. People really enjoy coming here and seeing all our unique items. We have done a great job putting this museum together, and our events, people, really enjoy them as well,” notes museum president Michael Matsuda. “However, very few are aware of the many humanitarian efforts we have done and continue to do for the community of Burbank. Although we are a museum, we need to reach out and make a difference.”
Matsuda refers to several ongoing programs that have stretched across the time they have been located in Burbank. For example, the museum has been gathering used uniforms and working with a supply company to distribute them to those who cannot afford them.
Recently, the museum provided an all-day event to combat Asian hate and provide lectures, and self-defense moves and gave away nearly 1,000 free finger stun devices for protection. Coming up this October 15, with the assistance of Eric the Trainer, the museum will be hosting a special anti-bullying day.
“We have applied for grants and tried to get funding from various city sources and political figures, but so far, we haven’t received any funds, but still, we cannot let that stop us. There is so much happening, and we need someone to step up and make an impact. And, if that is us then it’s us,” says Matsuda.
Although the museum does not receive city resources and depends completely on donations, they continue to host special classes for free. Another example is their employment opportunity programs, where they bring in experts from different fields to provide a new direction to make a living. “Covid has taken a toll on all of us, and new technology has eliminated many jobs, so, I feel since we have the people, we should have classes on learning how to be a photographer, how to make money on youtube, how to write a book, things that will have an immediate impact,” says Matsuda.
The museum also provides free tours for groups who are physically or mentally challenged and for senior centers as well. “People need to get out, minds need stimulation, and we have the place, so I think we can make a difference. My relative suffered from dementia, and stimulating the brain is important. You never know what impact just our little museum can make,” notes Matsuda.
Women's empowerment classes taught by Michelle Manu, confronting child obesity, and how one can protect themselves are all part of the museum's agenda to make a difference.
The museum, however, faces a new challenge: its need to expand to a larger location. School buses require around 90 kids to visit a museum, and unfortunately, the museum’s current size will not enable a visitation from any of the schools. “This is a huge problem and now, as we face Asian hate; what better way to impact a new generation than providing a tour to learn about the positive impact of the Asian community than this museum? Without a large number of school visitors, we cannot grow,” the museum president adds.
The museum is trying to raise at least $5 million to purchase a 10 to 15,000-square-foot facility so that it could not only host the schools but provide a theater for lectures, film festivals, and documentaries and continue to provide more humanitarian programs.
“All of us are going through a hard time right now, and if we can do something that will change lives and open new doors, then we will. But, we need everyone’s help to allow us to continue investing in the community,” concludes Matsuda.
For information or to make a tax-deductible donation, visit their website at MAmuseum.com or visit them at 2319 W. Magnolia Blvd., Burbank, CA 91506. (818) 478-1722.
© Martial Arts Museum, 2022