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: Opening Receptions Past

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.

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We love this photo of the opening reception of Eight Pound Livelihood, the very first show presented by founders Charlie Lai and Jack Tchen and the then-New York Chinatown History Project. We’ve come a long way in 30+ years!

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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: 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: 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 Monday: Civil Rights

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.

In 1963, more than 200,000 people participated in the March on Washington demonstrations. It was there that Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his electrifying “I Have a Dream” speech. On this day, MOCA is proud to honor the many protestors (of every color, class and creed) who have worked together to move this country closer to Dr. King’s dream.

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MOCA Monday: Chinatown Film Project

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 and/or past exhibitions. For more information, visit our website.

A film still from Jem Cohen's New York Night Scene.

 

The Chinatown Film Project tackled the evocative neighborhood’s reputation–true and stereotyped–by creating unique stories for the audience to engage with. The project began by asking ten of New York’s most exciting filmmakers to present a new take on a global icon. Contributors included Miguel Arteta, Patty Chang, Jem Cohen, Cary Fukunaga, Bradley Rust Gray, So Yong Kim, Amir Naderi, Sam Pollard, Shelly Silver, Rose Troche, Wayne Wang and Richard Wong.

More information can be found here, and copies are available for sale in the Museum Shop.

 

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MOCA Monday: Gotta Sing, Gotta Dance

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 and/or past exhibitions. For more information, visit our website.

Jadin Wong: singer, dancer, comedienne and agent.

 

“Gotta Sing, Gotta Dance! Chinese America in the Nightclub Era” was a multimedia exhibition on the entertainers who broke with tradition, defied stereotypes and expectations, and opened doors for the many generations of Asian American artists to come. In 2002, MOCA presented this spotlight on performers of the 1930s-50s including (among others) the performer Jadin Wong, pictured above. Jadin was a pioneering Chinese American actress, singer, dancer (and later in life, talent agent and manager) with a quick wit and an tireless passion for Asian Americans in the arts.

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MOCA Monday: Yellow Peril

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 and/or past exhibitions. For more information, visit our website.

The Master Detective, January, 1911. Yoshio Kishi Collection.

This image was included in the show “Archivist of the Yellow Peril: Yoshio Kishi Collecting for a New America”. Yellow peril is a term for the race-based fear that an influx of Asian immigrants would threaten white standards of living. It was also a frequent theme in pulp entertainment in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, with villains portrayed much in the manner above, where a long-nailed Chinese man is depicted as threatening a white woman. This and other stereotypes are also explored at the Museum in the core exhibition.

MOCA wants to know: how do you respond to this? When you look at an image like this, what thoughts or emotions are stirred? We invite you to share with us in the comments section.

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