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Museum of Chinese in America

Museum of Chinese in America (32)

Founded in 1980 by historian John Kuo Wei Tchen and resident activist Charles Lai, the Museum of Chinese in America, popularly known as the MOCA, is dedicated to preserving and showing the history, heritage and culture of the Chinese community and their descendants in the United States.

The museum organises highly sophisticated educational and cultural programs that make this an innovative and avant-garde museum. Its many initiatives include one by which US residents of Chinese origin can send their photo and personal details, and the museum will try to establish a general map that shows where their ancestors came from and will even try to find other family members in the US and abroad.

The exhibits include a wide range of interesting objects, from household objects to historical documents, ancient Chinese shoes to exceptional works of art, a reversible silk robe to musical instruments. If you are Chinese, or of Chinese descent, this is the place for you.

We highly recommend the following collections. For starters, the Fly to Freedom collection, which contains 123 spectacular paper sculptures created by passengers of the ship Golden Venture. This ship arrived here in 1993 and nearly 300 passengers were detained for more than four years before they were allowed to enter the country. Interestingly, these sculptures were created as gifts for the lawyers who took up their cases. A fascinating story.

Another remarkable collection was donated by the Chinese Musical and Theatrical Association (CMTA) and consists of more than 100 objects, including intricate Chinese opera costumes, the most curious musical instruments and other items and documents. Through this collection, you will be able to relive the glamour of the China opera clubs that flourished in New York in the 1930s.

And finally, make sure you do not miss the Hazel Ying Lee Collection. This woman was born in 1912 in Portland, Oregon, the daughter of immigrants from Shanghai. Despite the obstacles and discrimination she suffered, she achieved her dream of becoming a pilot. In fact, she became the first female Chinese pilot to fly in the US army. The documents in the collection are heart-warming.

As you can see, Chinatown has a lot of exciting surprises in store for you, and this museum will undoubtedly help you gain a better understanding of the past, present and future of this community in the United States.

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