The Museum of Chinese in America

Founded in 1980, the Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA) is dedicated to preserving and presenting the history, heritage, culture and diverse experiences of people of Chinese descent in the United States.

MOCA Monday: Lil Cowboys

The Museum of Chinese in America maintains an extensive archive and collection of Chinese American artifacts and oral histories. MOCA Mondays will briefly highlight one image or item from the collection. For more information, visit our website.

Young cowboy (photo from MOCA archives.) 

What is it about little boys and playing cowboys? In anticipation of the upcoming MOCA exhibition America through a Chinese Lens (opening April 25 – September 10, 2012), a survey of photographs depicting American life as shot by Chinese and Chinese American artists, documentary photographers and non-professionals, we launched MOCA’s tumblr page, Scrapbook MOCA, to expand on the show’s themes and engage with our online audiences. The first image is from the MOCA Collections; the second was originally posted on our tumblog, where we’ve put up a series of submitted photos, including this one from Assistant Curator Ryan Wong. Says Ryan:

This photo was taken in 1990 at a friend’s party in a public park in Los Angeles.

Some combination of Speedy Gonzales, the Autry Museum in Los Angeles, the Marlboro man on Sunset Boulevard, and family trips to the deserts of the Southwest forged a cowboy in toddler me. Regional culture was (and still is) a central part of my identity.

Young Assistant Curator Ryan Wong all dressed up.

I wore a bolo tie before a cloth tie, cowboy hat before a baseball cap, and owned a whole range of bandanas.

My parents tried to keep me away from guns and violent toys. My grandmother, oblivious to this rule, gave me two Old West-style revolvers with functioning hammers and faux-ivory grip for Christmas when I was around four. Naturally they became my favorite toys – after that it was High Noonall the time.

P.S. Those recklessly stylish overalls carried over into my next all-American fascination: railroad conductor.

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