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: Streethaiku in America

We’re pleased to have launched An Xiao’s Streethaiku in America photography series on our chineseinamerica tumblr. Below is one of many photos that An, an artist and design strategist based in Los Angeles, will be posting for the museum as part of the exhibition America Through a Chinese Lens, April 26 – September 10, 2012 (opening reception on April 25, 6-8pm). More information on the exhibition can be found on our website.

Says An Xiao: "To eat at Kogi BBQ in Los Angeles is like an act of supplication, an honoring to the genesis of designer food truck culture."


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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: 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 Monday: Lee Mingwei’s The Travelers

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.

Artist Lee Mingwei commissioned books that asked participants to reflect on the experience of leaving home.

In a break from MOCA Monday’s commitment to showcasing images from the collections, we’d like to share an image from a current exhibition: Lee Mingwei’s The Travelers. This piece was just written up in The New Yorker’s Goings on About Town. We invite you to view it through March 26. From their piece:

Two impressive installations by the Taiwanese-born artist grapple with the meaning of home. In “The Quartet Project” (2005), four video monitors, tucked behind partitions, document musicians performing Dvořák’s Op. 96 in F Major; known as the “American string quartet,” it was written while the Czech composer was on an extended visit to the U.S. The ambient play of light on the wall evokes both domesticity (home fires burning) and alienation (the flicker of TV spied through a stranger’s window). For “The Travelers,” which was commissioned by the museum in 2010, Lee made a hundred blank notebooks and invited participants to write down their thoughts about leaving home and then pass the books on to others and ask them to do the same. An air of distance is evident. One woman notes that in Europe, she says she’s from the U.S., in New York, she says she’s from California, and in San Francisco, she says she’s from Taipei. Even Maya Lin, who designed the museum, admits, “I still see myself as a Midwesterner, not a true New Yorker.” Through March 26.

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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 on Twitter

  • We've moved! Please follow along @mocanyc for Museum exhibitions and programs information and culturally relevant links. 4 years ago