Chinese American Museum

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Chinese American Museum
Chinese American Museum.jpg
Established 1984
Location 425 North Los Angeles Street
Los Angeles, CA
Coordinates 34°03′21″N 118°14′21″W / 34.055832°N 118.239103°W / 34.055832; -118.239103Coordinates: 34°03′21″N 118°14′21″W / 34.055832°N 118.239103°W / 34.055832; -118.239103
Type Chinese-American experience
and history in Southern California
Website Chinese American Museum official site

The Chinese American Museum (Chinese: 華美博物館; abbreviated CAM) is a museum located in Downtown Los Angeles as a part of the El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historic Monument. It is dedicated to the history and experience of Chinese Americans in the state of California, first such museum in Southern California. It presents exhibits of fine art by Chinese American artists as well as historical exhibits.

Planning for the museum began in October 1984, with the grand opening taking place on December 18, 2003.

The museum is housed in the Garnier Building, the oldest surviving Chinese building in Southern California. The original Los Angeles Chinatown was located here before it was moved to New Chinatown for the construction of Los Angeles Union Station.[1]

It is funded by the State of California, the City of Los Angeles, Friends of the Chinese American Museum, the Chinese Historical Society of Southern California, the Getty Foundation,[2] the El Pueblo Association, the Center for Chinese Medicine, and hundreds of other donors.


A permanent exhibit at the museum is the recreation of the Hing Yuen Hong Chinese Herb Shop of yesteryear. Another permanent exhibit opened on December 13, 2012 is "Origins: The Birth and Rise of Chinese American Communities in Los Angeles", celebrating the growth and development of Cantonese American enclaves from Downtown Los Angeles to the San Gabriel Valley.

Past exhibits have included "Sunshine and Shadow: In Search of Jake Lee", showcasing the 60 watercolor work of prolific artist Jake Lee; "Milton Quon's Los Angeles" (2005-2006); "The Art of Diana Shui-In Wong" (2006); and "Tyrus Wong (Chinese: 黃齊耀): A Retrospective" (2004), who was one of the earliest and most influential Chinese American artists.[3]

The exhibit on "Hollywood Chinese: The Arthur Dong Collection" was opened on October 23, 2009. It was based on Arthur Dong's Hollywood Chinese documentary that was broadcast on PBS on May 27, 2009. The documentary, a study of more than 90 years of Chinese Americans in films, ranging from the first Chinese American film The Curse of Quon Gwon that was produced in 1916 to Ang Lee's 2005 Brokeback Mountain. It closed on November 7, 2010.

  • "Remembering Angel Island", commemorating the centennial anniversary of the opening of the immigration station in California, July 16, 2010 – January 31, 2012.[4]
  • The "Dreams Deferred: Artists Respond to Immigration", December 10, 2010 – December 18, 2011.
  • Breaking Ground: Chinese American Architects in Los Angeles (1945-1980), January 19, 2012 – June 3, 2012


During the Chinese New Year celebration each year, a Lantern Festival is held at the museum, featuring live entertainment, including lion dancers, acrobatics, musical, Chinese knotting, and dance performances.[5] "Long Story Short", a documentary on actress Jodi Long's family, was shown at the 8th Annual festival which was held on February 7, 2009.[6] The 2013 Lantern Festival was held Saturday, March 2, 2013, 12 p.m. – 7 p.m.

Each year, the museum sponsors the annual Historymakers Awards Banquet, which "honors extraordinary individuals who have made a significant impact or contribution towards the advancement of the Chinese American community and beyond." A 2009 honoree was Lisa Lu (Chinese: 盧燕), Chinese-American actress and documentary producer for excellence in film and entertainment.[7][8]

Other Historymakers Awards honorees:

See also[edit]


External links[edit]