Transfer of “Chinese American: Exclusion/Inclusion” Exhibit to American Chinese Museum Foundation in Philadelphia

Issue Date: July 26, 2021
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact:
Nathaniel Jue, Communications Coordinator
njue@chsa.org, (408) 712-0025

NEWS RELEASE

Chinese Historical Society of America Announces Transfer of Chinese American: Exclusion/Inclusion Exhibit to American Chinese Museum in Philadelphia

SAN FRANCISCO, California — The Chinese Historical Society of America (CHSA) is pleased to announce the monumental Chinese American: Exclusion/Inclusion (CAEI) historic exhibit that has been on its museum premises will be transferred to the American Chinese Museum Foundation (ACMF) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, this summer. In conjunction, CHSA has created a virtual version of the exhibit that will provide audiences a one-of-kind digital experience. We are excited to help usher in a new era for CAEI, to provide another national destination its own opportunity to honor the past and inform our future through this impressive expression and interpretation of Chinese American history.

In 2016, CHSA received an incredible gift of the CAEI exhibition from the New York Historical Society (NYHS). CHSA was thrilled to take on this ambitious exhibition that featured curatorial quality, historical detail, and hands-on interactive technology unlike anything we had previously displayed. With reproductions from museums across the United States, state-of-the-art immersive media, evocative re-creations, and select artifacts from CHSA’s own archival collection, tens of thousands of visitors have experienced the delight of this exhibit over the course of its tenure in San Francisco. We have been grateful for the responsibility of sharing this chronicling of history with educators, students, and community members of all ages. This exhibition has enabled CHSA to enact its mission to collect, preserve, and illuminate the history of Chinese in America, in a strategic and sustainable way; and while this exhibition travels on beyond its current walls, CHSA is still firmly committed to its mission.

During these current humbling times that call on all Americans to face the realities of the past and own them in the present, CHSA has sought to find another home for CAEI so that the richness of the history of Chinese America could be shared with others. After months of outreach to numerous museums and historical institutions, several expressed interest only in taking pieces of the exhibit. Enthusiastically, the ACMF agreed to take on CAEI in its entirety, to be presented in its newly renovated cultural center and museum. CAEI will serve as the foundation for ACMF’s permanent Chinese American history exhibition.

Founder of ACMF, Mr. Jianxin Lin (Jason Lam), has stated, “ACMF understands, values, and admires the importance of Philadelphia as part of American history. Philadelphia was the site of the first and second Continental Congresses during the Revolutionary War; the first U.S. Capitol; and where both the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were signed. The CAEI exhibit will be housed in and located on the first and second floors of the museum property, and it is ACMF’s greatest hope that in the future, Americans from all backgrounds will congregate and learn more about American history.” CHSA is extremely proud that this exhibit will continue to educate audiences of our experiences. As we face the rise of anti-Asian hatred across the United States, exhibitions such as this one serve to help inform, educate, and build solidarity to combat these negative forces.

While the physical exhibit will depart San Francisco, we are eager to share a virtual version of CAEI. The virtual tour provides amazing digital interaction of the exhibit as it lived in our museum, with augmented navigation and detailed information on the artifacts and historical art pieces. According to the CHSA Executive Director Justin Hoover, presenting a virtual tour of CAEI began as a solution to the social distancing and isolation of the pandemic, but has become an important tool for providing important information and experiences about the history of the Chinese in America to formerly unreachable audiences. This virtual tour effectively expands our scope of impacts, allowing this wonderful exhibition to take on a new phase of its life. CHSA will continue to work with Chinese American artists, scholars, and community members—people of all backgrounds and identities who seek to explore equity and inclusion in America through the Chinese American and AAPI lenses both through real-world exhibitions and through custom virtual experiences such as what we present here with CAEI online.

Finally, it has been a privilege to have CAEI at CHSA as an extension and representation of our community. CHSA would also like to reaffirm our heartfelt gratitude for the generous support from the extended CHSA family—from the exhibit’s conception and curation by New York’s arts community, including the Museum of Chinese America and local artists and activists, to the R.J. Louie Foundation, the Seligman Family Foundation, the Committee of 100, and the loyal members of CHSA. Additionally, we give special thanks to the original underwriters, the Oscar Tang and Agnes Hsu-Tang of the Tang Family Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities, and know they will take pride that the origins of this exhibit on the Chinese diaspora in America will endure, to illuminate, and be told in, a new home to educate, enlighten, and entertain new audiences to come.

Based in San Francisco, California, CHSA is the oldest organization in the country dedicated to the presentation of Chinese American history. Since 1963, CHSA has strived to be a responsible steward of the remarkable narrative of the Chinese American community.

The ACMF is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Once open to the public, the museum will be located at 7345-47 Oxford Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19111, in a beautiful Victorian-era building that was designed and built in 1898 by Mr. Horace Castor, who played a large role in the architecture and city planning of Philadelphia.

Download press release(pdf)
For more information on CAEI, visit www.chsa.org.

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