Chinese American History Museums and Historical Associations Make History
First Time National Gathering Held to Establish a National Network
SAN FRANCISCO, California – To better inform the public about Chinese Americans’ history and contributions and promote diversity and inclusion, leaders of several of the nation’s Chinese American museums and historical societies met for the first time to form a network in which exhibits, funding, best practices, advocacy and other resources might be shared.
The recent meeting at the end of September in San Francisco was convened by the Chinese Historical Society of America (CHSA), the oldest organization devoted to preserving and promoting the history of Chinese in the U.S. The Museum of Chinese in America (New York City), Chinese Historical Society of New England (Boston), Chinese American Museum of Chicago, Portland Chinatown Museum, Chinese American Museum (Los Angeles), Chinese Historical Society of Southern California and San Diego Chinese Historical Museum sent executive directors and board members, many of whom had never met in person before.
Dr. Konrad Ng, executive director of the Shangri La Museum of Islamic Art, Culture & Design and former director of the Smithsonian Institution’s Asian Pacific American Center, author-activist Helen Zia and law professor Frank Wu discussed Chinese American demographics and themes and offered suggestions on network structure and outreach.
“Getting these well-established organizations together to talk about how we can collectively accomplish our shared missions and visions at a national level was long overdue,” said CHSA board president Hoyt Zia, who initiated and led the meeting. “We’re all committed to make a national network a reality.“
A steering committee is to develop parameters before the next meeting in early 2020 in New York. Ng, Wu, Zia and Stanford history professor Gordon Chang are advising the network initiative.
The Chinese Historical Society of America (CHSA) Museum is the oldest organization in the country dedicated to the interpretation, promotion, and preservation of the social, cultural and political history and contributions of the Chinese in America. When founded in 1963, there were fewer than 250,000 people of Chinese descent living in the U.S. and CHSA was a lone voice for the study and dissemination of the history of this segment of the U.S. population. Today, as the number of Chinese in the U.S. has risen to nearly 5 million, CHSA strives to be a responsible steward of the remarkable narrative of this rapidly growing and increasingly visible community. For more information about CHSA, see chsa.org.