The Legacy Center Archives, formally established in 1999, is the cultural arm of JASC, with over 400 unique collections. The JASC had long maintained a diverse community archive, and as members aged and passed away, large and historically valuable collections were increasingly coming into its possession.
The archive documents all facets of Japanese American life from 1890, through the period of World War II internment and on to present day. Materials include correspondence and photographs about business and social life in the 1940s and 1950s; diaries and journals; sketch books and drawings of life in the internment camps; artifacts made in the camps; rare published materials, such as camp newspapers and high school yearbooks; information pamphlets targeting Nisei (the US-born children of Japanese immigrants) and vital records, such as alien registration cards and US Army service records.
It is arguably the most significant collection of Japanese American history, arts and cultural materials in the Midwest, and the only significant collection documenting life outside of the traditional, west coast population centers. It is a treasure of U.S. history with untapped potential for valuable scholarly work, and a broad array of cultural public programming.