Pasadena’s Beautiful “Chia”

Chia, known today as the Pacific Asia Museum, was founder Grace Nicholson’s nickname for the Pasadena building that her ideas and research developed in 1924. The building was brought to life by a well-known local architectural firm, and became a center for the arts. Chia is a word with distinct meaning in two cultures closely associated with Grace, Chinese and American Indian. In Chinese the word means ‘sacred vessel’ and in American Indian it’s the name of a highly nutritious, life-sustaining seed.

Pacific Asia Museum (1)

My quick visit to the Pacific Asia Museum, which recently partnered with the University of Southern California (USC), left me longing for more. I arrived just about an hour before closing, stopping by after my tour of the Gamble House, also in Pasadena. I’ll definitely be returning to the museum soon; the exhibits are fascinating and I had little time to fully appreciate them. The exhibit rooms are arranged around a central courtyard, and flow beautifully from one to the next.

Loving fabric as I do, I was fascinated by the Ralli Quits, contemporary textiles from Pakistan. They’re just gorgeous!

The gallery below highlights just a few of the many beautiful, interesting pieces in the museum. I was thrilled to see Netsuke on display, having learned about them during a visit to LACMA a few months back.

After touring the exhibit rooms, I made a quick walk through the courtyard, and a very brief stop in the fabulous Gift Shop before they closed, and that was it for the day. I highly recommend a visit; maybe we’ll bump into each other as I’ll definitely be returning soon! ~SueBee (photos by SueBee)

Available in the Gift Shop!

Available in the Gift Shop!


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Categories: Art, Museums


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11 Comments on “Pasadena’s Beautiful “Chia””

  1. Jan 06, 2014 at 5:21 pm #

    What a delightful look at USC Pacific Asia Museum! I was impressed that you knew about “Chia” as the name for the building. I would like to share this on the museum’s Facebook if that is OK with you.

    • Jan 06, 2014 at 5:28 pm #

      It’s a beautiful museum. I’m looking forward to a return visit, and Kat for her first. We’d be honored to have the article on the museum’s Facebook page. Thank you! ~SueBee
      Re “Chia” – it was so interesting to learn about that, and what’s funny, I shopped at Mother’s Market yesterday and saw a box of cereal with Chia as main ingredient. Of course I had to buy it!

      • Jan 07, 2014 at 9:35 am #

        The next time you and Kat visit the museum, please let me know and I will have guest passes waiting for you. Or (shameless plug here) come on Jan. 18 for Lunar New Year Festival for a full day that includes acrobats, hands-on activities, food trucks and the galleries and it is free!

      • Jan 07, 2014 at 10:25 am #

        Will do, Carol! I’m going to put Jan 18 on calendar for myself for sure, and if Kat is scheduled at work then she and I will come another time as well. We’ll be sure to let you know. Thanks so much! ~SueBee

    • Jan 06, 2014 at 5:31 pm #

      Carol, I meant to mention, the link to Grace Nicholson in my article is where I read about the history and the story of Chia. The museum has a wonderful, interesting website! ~SueBee

  2. Jan 05, 2014 at 7:52 am #

    looks cool 🙂
    Wishing you a fabulous 2014 🙂

    • Jan 05, 2014 at 8:21 am #

      Thanks for visiting our blog. The museum is indeed cool! Fab 2014 to you as well 🙂 ~SueBee

  3. Jan 04, 2014 at 9:09 pm #

    Pretty good images, and the way you have cropped the images in circles adds to the charm.

    Have a nice day.

    • Jan 04, 2014 at 9:12 pm #

      Thank you. Please Click on the images and they open larger, as a gallery. We didn’t crop them. The exhibits are so pretty, wouldn’t want you to miss them!! ~SueBee

  4. Jan 04, 2014 at 2:44 pm #

    Those quilts were certainly worth a look.

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