Gathering: Collecting and Documenting Chinese American History

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Gathering: Collecting and Documenting Chinese American History

October 17, 2019 - March 22, 2020

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Gathering: Collecting and Documenting Chinese American History is MOCA’s Fall 2019 exhibition that tells the origin story of historical societies, museums, and organized projects that document and make public the history of Chinese throughout America. This first-of-its-kind survey exhibition is part of their year-long initiative to commemorate the contributions of Chinese railroad workers in the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad 150 years ago. The exhibition showcases the breadth, depth, and investment of organized documentation and collection of Chinese history in America. Through this project, MOCA hopes to expand the dialogue, strengthen connections, and increase collaborative work among these organizations. For Gathering, MOCA will be working closely with 1882 Foundation and its 50 Objects Project, through the Tenement Museum’s Your Story, Our Story digital platform.

Participating Organizations:

Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation (San Francisco, CA)

Asociacion China de Mexicali (Mexicali Baja California, Mexico)

Belleville Historical Society (Belleville, NJ)

China Alley Preservation Society (Hanford, CA)

Chinese American Museum Los Angeles (Los Angeles, CA)

Chinese American Museum of Chicago (Chicago, IL)

Chinese American Museum of Northern California (Marysville, CA)

Chinese Bunkhouse Preservation Project (Fremont, CA)

Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association of Augusta (Augusta, GA)

Chinese Historical & Cultural Project (San Jose, CA)

Chinese Historical Society of America (San Francisco, CA)

Chinese Historical Society of Memphis and the Mid-South (Memphis, TN)

Chinese Historical Society of New England (Boston, MA)

Chinese Historical Society of Southern California (Los Angeles, CA)

Chinese History Project (Fremont, CA)

Cumberland Chinese Cemetary (British Columbia, Canada)

Hawaii Chinese History Center (Honolulu, HI)

Kam Wah Chung State Heritage Site (John Day, OR)

Locke Foundation (Locke, CA)
Mai Wah Society (Butte, MT)
Mississippi Delta Chinese Heritage Museum (Cleveland, MS)
Portland Chinatown Museum (Portland, OR)
San Diego Chinese Historical Society and Museum (San Diego)
Save Our Chinatown Committee (Riverside, CA)
Temple of Kwan Tai (Mendocino, CA)

Walk of Remembrance (Pacific Grove, CA)

Wing Luke Museum of the Asian American Experience (Seattle, WA)
Wo Hing Museum and Cookhouse/Lahaina Restoration Foundation (Lahaina, HI)

Gathering is accompanied by the exhibition The Chinese Helped Build the Railroad – The Railroad Helped Build America which tells the story of the more than 12,000 Chinese laborers who built a significant part of the Transcontinental Railroad and the resulting backlash against the Chinese after its completion in 1869.


This historical exhibition traces the Chinese contribution to the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad. Starting in 2012, photographer Li Ju visited sites along the route of the Transcontinental Railroad. This exhibition presents historical photographs alongside Li’s contemporary images of significant railroad sites to resurrect these stories and honor the achievements of the laborers. The exhibition is organized by the Adrian and Monica Yeung Arima Fund, Li Ju and the Chinese Railroad Workers in North America Project at Stanford University. The exhibition has received the 2019 California Preservation Design Award.


Gathering is organized by MOCA’s curatorial team (Herb Tam, Curator and Director of Exhibitions, and Andrew Rebatta, Associate Curator) in collaboration with the 1882 Foundation (led by Ali Smith). It was advised by Sojin Kim, Curator at Smithsonian Center for Folk Life & Cultural Heritage, and David Lei, Independent Historian and Chair of the Chinese Performing Arts Foundation.


Gathering: Collecting and Documenting Chinese American History and related programs are made possible with the generous support of the PLUS Charitable Trust Inc. and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council, and the following members of Phi Lambda: Y.P. Chan; Jerry Jianrong Chang and Qing Wang; Brian Chao and Lauren Chao in memory of Mae Eng Chao; Robert and Ann Chao; Ted Chao in memory of Diane Woo; Tom and Sophie Chen; Donald Chu; Phil You-Ling Fan and Roxy Ni Fan; Chung C. Fu; Justin Fung; Josette Lee Greechan in memory of Henry T.S. and Julia T. Lee; Jay Ho; Joseph Ho; Wen-Ning and Betty Hsieh in memory of Dr. and Mrs. Hien-Chee Fang; Carolyn Hsu-Balcer and Yuen Kan Hsu; Marjorie F. Hsu in honor of Richard and Gloria Chen Hsu; Bing Jib Huang; William and Rose Kaung; Patrick and Nancy Kuo; Omar, Christina, Calvin, Caleb and Lydia Lee; John and Mary Liu; Elaine Li Shiang in memory of Frederick Pei Li; The Shiang Family Trust in memory of Si Ta and Flora Shiang; Julian Suez in memory of Anthony T.Y. Wu; Ho Pong Wan in memory of Beau Desiree Wan; James Wong; Richard and Jaime Wong; Robert Wong and Andy Yip. 


Museum of Chinese in America
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Museum of Chinese in America
215 Centre Street
New York, United States
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