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Museum of Chinese in America

Museum of Chinese in America

The Museum of Chinese in America (abbreviated MOCA) is a museum in New York City which exhibits Chinese American history. It is a nonprofit education and cultural institution that presents the living history, heritage, culture, and diverse experiences of Chinese Americans through exhibitions, educational services and public programs.

Founded in 1980 in Manhattan's Chinatown (紐約華埠), the museum began as the New York Chinatown History Project by historian John Kuo Wei Tchen and community resident and activist Charles Lai to promote a better understanding of the Chinese American experience and to address the concern that "the memories and experiences of aging older generations would perish without oral history, photo documentation, research and collecting efforts."

The museum moved to a new site at 215 Centre Street in 2009. It increased in size by sixfold, in a space that was designed by architect Maya Lin. The curator and director of exhibitions as of May 31, 2011 is Herb Tam. The permanent exhibition, With a Single Step was designed by Matter Practice.

MOCA has amassed a nationally-significant collection of materials documenting Chinese life in America. Beginning as what the Smithsonian Magazine described as "a cultural rescue mission to save a little-known immigrant heritage," MOCA’s collection has grown to document the changing profile of Chinese America—from its humble beginnings in the 19th century to its dynamic presence today. Collections and Research Center houses more than 65,000 artifacts, photos, memorabilia, documents, oral histories, and art work. This expansive array of archival material enriches the history of Chinese in America for visitors in ways both rigorously academic and profoundly personal.

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