Ramada Burbank

Visit the Martial Arts History Museum in Burbank!


Since it opened in 1999, the Martial Arts History Museum has been the home of important pieces of cultural and social heritage – all relating to the popular stories of martial arts in America and its roots across the world. Since moving to its current location in Burbank in 2008, the Museum has gone from strength to strength. Rather than a simple timeline of important figures, the Museum explores the role that ancient Asian cultures have come to play in contemporary American society and its complex interactions with societies on an international level. Visitors travel from all over the country and indeed the world to visit the Museum and enjoy its celebrated collection of permanent and temporary exhibitions.

Highlighting the individual impact of the Asian countries, including Japan, China, Korea, Thailand and the Philippines, the Museum’s story shows how important martial arts have been through history and their changing significance in the modern world. From ancient traditional pieces drawing on the legends and realities of the Japanese Samurai through the symbolism of Chinese lions and up to martial arts in Hollywood and the Olympic games, there is something here for the whole family to enjoy. Understanding the diversity in these cultures allows visitors to leave with a greater knowledge about global variation, from an accessible and familiar standpoint. There’s even mention of Theodore Roosevelt and his famous study of Judo!

In addition to the historical elements, martial arts have come to play an increasingly important role in film and television. Props from big hits including The Karate Kid as well as original animations from Kung Fu Panda and Hong Kong Phooey draw attention to the way that these martial arts are seen today. Moreover, artists from Disney and the Simpsons contributed to displays of the artistic heritage, painting and musical life of the Asian world. Displays look at Bunraku, the Chinese operas and Philippine bamboo dances, with which martial arts often had a similar performance role. Regular seminars and events, from Samurai histories to sushi sessions, fill a busy calendar at this unique and popular Museum, open Thursday to Sunday, 11am to 6pm. No matter what time of the year you visit, there are always fun events going on in Burbank!