The museum in 2015
|Location||215 Centre Street |
New York, NY 10013
|Type||Art, Cultural, History museum|
|Director||Nancy Yao Maasbach|
|Public transit access||Subway: Canal Street, 2 blocks away ( trains)|
The Museum of Chinese in America (traditional Chinese :美國華人博物館; simplified Chinese :美国华人博物馆; pinyin :Měiguó Huárén Bówùguǎn; Jyutping :Mei5gwok3 Waa4jan4 Bok3mat6gun2; abbreviated MOCA) is a museum in New York City which exhibits Chinese American history. It is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) education and cultural institution that presents the living history, heritage, culture, and diverse experiences of Chinese Americans through exhibitions, educational services and public programs. Much of its collection was damaged or destroyed in a fire in January 2020.
Founded in 1980 in Manhattan's Chinatown, the museum began as the New York Chinatown History Project by historian John Kuo Wei Tchen and community resident and activist Charles Lai to promote understanding of the Chinese American experience and to address the concern that "the memories and experiences of aging older generations would perish without oral history, photo documentation, research and collecting efforts."
In 2005, the museum received part of a $20 million grant from the Carnegie Corporation, made possible through a donation by then-New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg.
The museum moved to a new site at 215 Centre Street in 2009.The space was designed by architect Maya Lin and was six times as large as the old site. The permanent exhibition, With a Single Step, was designed by Matter Practice. In May 2011, Herb Tam became curator and director of exhibitions.
In 2019, the museum relaunched their gift store with a new partner, the Asian American retail brand Pearl River Mart. Called MOCA Shop by Pearl River, the store is a "curated collection of items that hold great meaning in Chinese American culture."
In January 2020, a fire damaged the building at 70 Mulberry Street, where the museum's collection was held, with about 85,000 items potentially affected by water damage.While it was initially believed that nearly all of them might have been lost, a substantial part was determined to be "very much salvageable" several days after the incident. Around 35,000 items had been digitized and backed up before the fire. Much of the collection was restored by disaster-relief specialists who worked to prevent mold growth and preserve structure.
The core exhibition With a Single Step: Stories in the Making of America discusses over 160 years of Chinese American history and is augmented annually with two to four rotating exhibitions on thematic, historic, and artistic subjects.
The Museum in January 2015 presented Waves of Identity: 35 Years of Archiving.The title of the exhibit was inspired by a Chinese proverb, “Each wave of the Yangtze River pushes at the wave ahead.”
As of early 2020, MOCA's Collections and Research Center contained more than 85,000 artifacts, photos, memorabilia, documents, oral histories, and art work.The collection covers a timespan of 160 years and includes e.g. historical Chinese restaurant menus, boat tickets, family photographs, and wedding dresses.
The Museum's previous gallery space on 70 Mulberry Street is used as an archival center and serves as a research center. The Research Center contains applications, such as Web-based versions of gallery exhibitions and an interactive timeline of Chinese American history. The Center also provides resources on topics such as immigration and diversity.The Research Center was damaged by fire in 2020.
Special collections include:
|Name of Collection||About Collection|
|Recovering Chinatown: The 9/11 Collection||Recovering Chinatown: The 9/11 Collection includes images, videos, oral history, brochures, posters, reports, books, scrapbooks, T-shirts, and other artworks that the museum began collecting shortly after September 11 attacks, which occurred near Chinatown.|
|Fly to Freedom Collection||MOCA's Fly to Freedom Collection includes 173 paper sculptures created by passengers of the ship Golden Venture , which ran aground on June 6, 1993. Many of the nearly 300 passengers, most of whom were illegal immigrants from China, were held in detention by the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service, some for up to four years. Detainees created sculptures first as gifts to pro-bono lawyers who took up their cases, and later, to pass time during their days spent incarcerated.|
|Oral History Collection||MOCA conducted approximately 350 interviews that make up its 7 oral history collections. The conducted between 1980 and 2013, documenting memories and narratives related to the Chinese American experience.|
|Marcella Dear Collection||Donated in 2006 by a longtime museum supporter and area resident, the Marcella Chin Dear collection includes dozens of textiles, hundreds of imported books, numerous boxes of old records, posters, game sets, instruments, family photographs and letters, store signs, ceramics, pieces of furniture, and tools from the family's home and businesses. The Chin family had remained in Manhattan's Chinatown for five generations.|
|Qipao/Cheongsam Collection||MOCA's first qipao/cheongsam collection, donated by Pamela Chen, includes 77 Chinese dresses that were custom-tailored in the 1930s and 1940s and once owned by her mother, Phoebe Shou-Heng Chen (1917–1993). MOCA's second qipao/cheongsam collection, donated by Angela King and her sister Fern Tse, includes 367 family dresses. Angela King's mother was a fashion designer and was involved in the designs of her dresses, usually ordering specific requirements from China. MOCA donated 262 pieces from this collection to the New York Chinese Cultural Center in 2012.|
|Hazel Ying Lee Collection||Comprising primary artifacts including original personal photographs, family letters, documents, newspaper articles, and memorabilia, the collection describes Hazel Ying Lee's experience as a Chinese American woman aviator during the 1930s and 1940s. It was donated by Hazel's sister, Frances M. Tong, as well as filmmaker Alan H. Rosenberg.|
|CMTA Collection||The Chinese Musical and Theatrical Association (CMTA) collection is composed of approximately 26 intricate opera costumes, 24 rare musical instruments, 20 pairs of shoes, 20 hats, 41 fabric samples, 6 shawls, 21 stage props, and numerous related documents. These items depict the Cantonese opera clubs in North America's Chinatowns from the 1930s to the present. These items also reveal how Chinese immigrants adapted opera to modern settings, as well as how opera clubs became culturally important to immigrants.|
At MOCA's 2015 Legacy Awards Gala, the museum honored several people and organizations for their roles in Chinese-American culture. Honorees were the C.V. Starr Scholars, Hong Kong-born American actor Nancy Kwan, and Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates founding design partner William C. Louie.
2014 honorees included:
2013 honorees included:
2012 honorees included:
2011 honorees included:
2010 honorees included:
2009 honorees included:
Manhattan's Chinatown is a neighborhood in Lower Manhattan, New York City, bordering the Lower East Side to its east, Little Italy to its north, Civic Center to its south, and Tribeca to its west. With an estimated population of 90,000 to 100,000 people, Chinatown is home to the highest concentration of Chinese people in the Western Hemisphere. Manhattan's Chinatown is also one of the oldest Chinese ethnic enclaves. The Manhattan Chinatown is one of nine Chinatown neighborhoods in New York City, as well as one of twelve in the New York metropolitan area, which contains the largest ethnic Chinese population outside of Asia, comprising an estimated 893,697 uniracial individuals as of 2017.
Wayne Wang is a Hong Kong–American director, producer, and screenwriter. Considered a pioneer of Asian-American cinema, he was one of the first Chinese-American filmmakers to gain a major foothold in Hollywood. His films, often independently produced, deal with issues of contemporary Asian-American culture and domestic life.
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Chinatown is a neighborhood in Downtown Los Angeles, California that became a commercial center for Chinese and other Asian businesses in Central Los Angeles in 1938. The area includes restaurants, shops and art galleries but also has a residential neighborhood with a low-income, aging population of about 20,000 residents.
The Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience is a history museum in Seattle, Washington, United States, which focuses on the culture, art and history of Asian Pacific Americans. It is located in the city's Chinatown-International District. Established in 1967, the museum is a Smithsonian Institution affiliate and the only pan-Asian Pacific American community-based museum in the country. It has relocated twice since its founding, most recently to the East Kong Yick Building in 2008. In February 2013 it was recognized as one of two dozen affiliated areas of the U.S. National Park Service.
The Chinese American Museum is a museum located in Downtown Los Angeles as a part of the El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historic Monument. It is dedicated to the history and experience of Chinese Americans in the state of California, the first such museum in Southern California. It presents exhibits of fine art by Chinese American artists as well as historical exhibits.
Lara Schnitger is a Dutch-Americans sculptor and painter, living and working in Los Angeles and Amsterdam. Schnitger studied at the Royal Academy of Art from 1987 to 1991 and spent a year on a residency at the Kitakyushu Centre for Contemporary Art in southern Japan.
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Arthur Dong is an American filmmaker and author whose work centers on Asia America and anti-gay prejudice. He received a BA from San Francisco State University and a Directing Fellow Certificate at the American Film Institute Center for Advanced Film Studies. In 2007, SFSU named Dong its Alumnus of the year “for his continued success in the challenging arena of independent documentary filmmaking and his longstanding commitment to social justice."
Rodarte is an American brand of clothing and accessories founded and headquartered in Los Angeles, California, USA by sisters Kate and Laura Mulleavy.
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