Chinese American Museum of Chicago
Chinatown Museum Foundation
|Location||Raymond B. & Jean T. Lee Center 238 West 23rd Street|
Chicago, Illinois 60616
P: (312) 949-1000
|President||Soo Lon Moy|
|Owner||Chinatown Museum Foundation founded in 2002 by Dr. Chuimei Ho, Dr. Kim K Tee, Sam Ma, John S Tan, Dr. Tao Luo & Wai Chee Yuen.|
The Chinese American Museum of Chicago seeks to commemorate and interpret the experiences of Chinese immigrants to the American Midwest. The museum opened in 2005 in Chicago's Chinatown neighborhood. Although it suffered a damaging fire in 2008, it reopened its renovated quarters, the Raymond B. & Jean T. Lee Center, in 2010.
The museum building was built in 1896 as a warehouse, and was later home to the Quong Yick Co. After a devastating fire in September 2008, the museum was closed. Raymond B. Lee, whose family ran a food wholesale business in the museum building, donated $660,000 to buy the building to start the museum. Lee, who as a teen slept on the third floor, has donated another $250,000 for renovations since the fire. It reopened its renovated quarters, the Raymond B. & Jean T. Lee Center, in 2010.
- A permanent exhibit at the museum is the " Great Wall to Great Lakes: Chinese Immigration to the Midwest ", it tells the stories of immigrant journeys to the Chicago area and beyond; when, how and why the Chinese who came to America made their way across the country to settle in the Midwest.
- Another exhibit "My Chinatown: Stories from Within", A 16-minute video, about the stories of the people of Chinatown- their journeys, their customs, their work, their families- from within Chinatown borders. It is a collaboration between Chinese American Museum of Chicago and the Chicago History Museum.
- The temporary exhibit " The Way We Wore: Celebrating Chinese Fashion Heritage" displays Chinese fashion heritage with donations and loans from the Chinese community. Many of the objects in the museum came from donations or loans from community members and people in the surrounding areas, and that shows in what is displayed, from family photos to personal jewelry sets. The exhibition closed February 10, 2019 to make way for the Railroad exhibition.
- Another temporary exhibit, "The Chinese Helped Build the Railroad–The Railroad Helped Build America" focuses on the important role Chinese immigrants had when constructing America's first Transcontinental Railway in the 1800's. The bilingual exhibit, which features photographs by Li Ju, pays tribute the approximately 12,000 Chinese workers who completed the railway and also includes recreations of their day-to-day life. The project was organized through contributions by the Chinese Railroad Workers in North America Project at Stanford University, Li Ju, and the Chinese Historical Society of America. The exhibition opened on March 2, 2019 and will be available for the following year.
Chinese New Year Celebration
Each year a Chinese New Year Celebration is held at the museum, featuring live Chinese traditional music, lion dancing, Chinese chess, calligraphy design and delicious food.
Screening of Documentary
- "A Village Doctor's Choice": It portrayed the challenges that faced a Shanghai Medical College student when he was sent to the wild and savage Tibetan prairie to work as their one and only doctor "Manba" in the late 60s.
- "Dancing Through Life: The Dorothy Toy Story": 100-year-old Dorothy Toy Fong is a living dance legend. During the 1930s, 40s and 50s she teamed up with Paul Wing to become the most famous Asian American dance duo in this country's history. Toy and Wing were pioneers, performing on Broadway and in Hollywood films.
- "Finding Samuel Lowe: From Harlem to China": Three successful black siblings from Harlem discover their heritage by searching for clues about their long-lost Chinese grandfather, Samuel Lowe.
- "Journey of a Paper Son": a paper son (one who illegally immigrated to the U.S., using fake documents and claiming he's the son of an American citizen) and asks them for a final wish to change back his name.
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- "Chinese American Museum of Chicago". Open House Chicago. Chicago Architecture Foundation. Retrieved 2013-05-30.
- "Chinese American Museum of Chicago". Chicago Chinatown Chamber of Commerce. Retrieved 2013-05-30.
- "IN THE NEWS: Chinese American Museum". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2013-05-30.
- "A House of Memories The Chinese-American Museum of Chicago reflects the community's past, present, and future". South Side Weekly. Retrieved 2018-08-09.