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: Music at MOCA, Past and Present

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.

We loved this old Basement Jazz flyer, especially in light of our upcoming inaugural MOCAMIX concert, featuring Christopher Yahng Jazz Trio and Master Pipa Player Min Xiao-Fen. We hope to see you there!

The flyer for the upcoming MOCAMIX. RSVP now!

A basement workshop flyer circa 1977.

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MOCA Monday: Him Mark Lai’s Study

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.

A wall of books and materials represents a lifetime devoted to the study of Chinese American History.

This photo was taken in the study of Him Mark Lai, known as the “Dean of Chinese American History”. He co-taught the first Chinese American History course in the US (with Phillip P. Choy at San Francisco State College in the Fall of 1969), and is a noted scholar and author. His physical collection belongs to UC Berkeley, and a digital archive is the ongoing project of the Chinese Historical Society of America. Photos of his study are on display at MOCA.

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MOCA Monday: BD Wong, Back in the Day

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.

"M. Butterfly" star BD Wong in a 1989 edition of Asian Week.

A baby-faced BD Wong popped up in the Collections’ archive as our Exhibitions team was doing research for the upcoming June 4, 1989 Exhibition, opening April 26. While not necessarily related to that show, we couldn’t resist sharing this picture. Who doesn’t love a blast from the past? (Also worth clicking through: an interesting article about the play from a feminist perspective.)

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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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MOCA Monday: BAL-LIN

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.

Members of the Chinese Athletic Club pose for a team photo.

In honor of tonight’s program BAL-LIN: Beer and Basketball at MOCA, we present this photo of some old-school players from our collection. Interested in future MOCA events? Check out our website! We’ve got five more basketball game nights scheduled in March and April.

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MOCA Monday: My Circus (Virtual Salon)

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.

Ma Liang, My Circus I (C-print, 2003.)

The Virtual Salon: Chinese Transnational Photographers in the Digital Age (2006) was a photography exhibit of works by the Chinese Artist Network (CAN). Through an examination of CAN’s work, Virtual Salon showed how the digital revolution had affected artists and challenged the discourse surrounding contemporary art at that time. Ma Liang, one of the featured artists (the exhibition also included photographers Felix Tian, Wang Yishu and Xie Wenyue), is known for his theatrical images, filled with costumes and props and shot on unusual sets.

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MOCA Monday: A Virtual Tour

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.

It has recently come to our attention that many of our blog visitors are not NYC locals, and have therefor not yet had a chance to visit the Museum! In a break from MOCA Monday’s commitment to showcasing images from the collections, we’d like to share a virtual tour of the space by artist, MOCA designer and Board of Trustees Co-Chair Maya Lin.

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MOCA Monday: Chinatown through the eyes of Big Brothers Big Sisters

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.

My Beautiful Chinatown, by the Littles of the Asian Mentoring Committee.

 

My Beautiful Chinatown, sponsored by Chinatown Partnership in collaboration with Big Brothers Big Sisters of NYC and the Asian Mentoring Committee. In May of 2010 MOCA hosted BBBS NYC and the AMC for A Night of Dreams. The Dreams Project challenged first generation Chinese-American Littles to openly discuss their dreams for the future and understand who they can strive to be. The exhibit displayed their original artwork conveying those dreams. Participation in the Project opened beautiful dialogue about how they can accomplish their dreams— what goals should be set, what career options are available, what steps should be taken to keep on track for success—and how embracing their cultural heritage is critical for a lifetime of happiness.

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MOCA Monday: The Flying Tigers

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.

The Flying Tigers in Ohio, 1943.

The Flying Tigers held their 68th annual reunion at MOCA in September of 2011. This photo hangs in the core exhibition With a Single Step: Stories in the Making of America, and depicts the first volunteer group to join the US Army Air Corps for service as a dual-language corps for intelligence work behind enemy lines in the China theater. (The volunteers actually signed up in a building on Mott Street here in New York!) The Flying Tigers, so nicknamed for the teeth painted on their fighter jets, are well-known for their exploits during World War II.

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MOCA Monday: Port Arthur

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.

Port Arthur Restaurant publication, New York City, late 1800s-early 1900s. Courtesy of Eric Y. Ng.

Port Arthur Chinese Restaurant, opened in 1897 originally stood at 7-9 Mott Street in Manhattan. The banquet hall was the first Chinese restaurant in the neighborhood to obtain a liquor license, and served diners as a gathering place for celebrations of all kinds for nearly 85 years. Today, nothing remains of the once-opulent two-story building.

If you were going to celebrate with your family in Chinatown, where would you go?

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MOCA on Twitter

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