The Visual Communications Archives is recognized as one of the nation’s most comprehensive repositories of 20th Century Asian Pacific American history with unique holdings in historical still and moving images and oral histories. The holdings include over 300,000 photographic images, 1,500 titles in the Media Resource Library, 100 films and videos produced by Visual Communications, and over 1,000 hours of oral histories. The VC Archives is unique due to the diversity of its collections in pan-Asian content, a variety of formats and subjects, and the number of items that are under VC ownership.

The Visual Communications collective documented various Asian American social movements and communities in California. Members of Visual Communications not only captured the impassioned times of the movement; their work became an innovative and natural part of the movement. Films and videos were used for education and organizing work around setting up ethnic studies programs on local campuses, city redevelopment issues, the redress campaign for Japanese Americans interned during World War II, and the declaration of martial law in the Philippines. VC’s own past in all media, narrative films, documentaries and educational projects are intertwined with the Asian Pacific American movements of the 1970s, and in itself represents a rich resource for researchers of the Asian Pacific American movements.

The collections’ focus on Asian Pacific communities here in the U.S., though specific, affirms a culturally pluralistic view of American society. This view resides in the heart of VC’s mission — to promote intercultural understanding through the preservation of our cultures, communities, and histories in America. To date, VC materials have been used in numerous films, videos, educational materials, publications, and major photographic exhibits across the U.S.

We welcome scholars, students, filmmakers and members of the general public to conduct research at the VC office. We are open by appointment on Mondays-Fridays. Please contact to schedule an appointment.

For more information about our collections, please read our Collection Policy.

For more information on conducting research at VC, please read our reference policy. Read about what you should (and should not) bring along.

Written permission to publish or display reproductions of Visual Communications’ holdings must be secured from Visual Communications. Additionally, we request a complimentary copy of the final work using VC’s holdings. For more information on copyrights, please read our reference policy.

Display of our holdings, whether it be classroom use, print publications, films, or exhibits, must obtain permission from VC. We have fee schedules for both still image and moving image use.

Proper credit must be attributed for any and all use of our holdings as specified in the usage agreement between VC and the user. Please contact for licensing questions.

Access to the VC Archives and Media Resource Library is available by appointment. Please contact Helen Kim, Archivist at 213-680-4462 x27 or

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