Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience

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East Kong Yick Building shortly after re-opening as the new Wing Luke Asian Museum in May 2008.
Wing Luke Asian Museum, 2007. This was the second location of the museum from 1987-2007.

The Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience (informally, The Wing[1]) is located in Seattle, Washington's Chinatown-International District. A Smithsonian Institution affiliate, it is dedicated to engaging the public to explore issues related to the culture, art and history of Asian Pacific Americans. It is the only pan-Asian Pacific American community-based museum in America, highlighting the issues and life-experiences of one of the fastest-growing racial groups in the United States[2] In February 2013 it gained recognition as one of two dozen "affiliated areas" of the U.S. National Park Service.[1]

The museum is named in honor of the late Seattle City Council member Wing Luke, who was the first Asian American elected to public office in the Pacific Northwest. Luke suggested the need for a museum in the C-ID in the early 1960s to preserve the history of the rapidly changing neighborhood. After Luke died in a small plane crash in 1965, friends and supporters donated funds to start the museum he envisioned. The Wing Luke Memorial Museum, as it was first named, opened in 1967 in a small storefront on 8th Ave.

Initially the museum focused on Asian folk art, but soon expanded its programming to reflect the diversity of the local community. Almost from the beginning art was integral to its programming and the museum served as a venue for emerging local artists. By the 1980s pan-Asian exhibits generated by community volunteers became central to the museum.

In 1987 The Wing Luke moved to a larger home on 7th Ave and updated its name to Wing Luke Asian Museum. It achieved national recognition in the 1990s under the direction of local journalist Ron Chew, a pioneer of the community based model of exhibit development that placed personal experiences at the center of exhibit narratives. Today the museum continues to present exhibits and programs that promote social justice, multicultural understanding and tolerance.

In 2008 the museum relocated to its new much larger home at 719 S King St, housed in the renovated 1910 East Kong Yick Building. The new Wing Luke Asian Museum continues its work addressing civil rights and social justice issues while also preserving historic spaces within the building including the former Gee How Oak Tin Association room, the Freeman SRO Hotel, a Canton Alley family apartment, and the Yick Fung Mercantile.[3][4]

In 2010 the museum changed its official name to the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience, informally "The Wing."[5]

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  1. ^ a b Jack Broom, National Parks to recognize Wing Luke Museum , Seattle Times, 2013-02-06. Accessed online 2013-02-09.
  2. ^ Cao, Lan; Novas, Himilee (1996). Everything You Need to Know About Asian American History. New York: Penguin Books. p. xvii. ISBN 978-0-452-27315-3. 
  3. ^ Broom, Jack (May 19, 2008). "Visitors to walk through time at new Wing Luke Asian Museum". The Seattle Times. 
  4. ^ Pearson, Clifford A. (June 2009). "Wing Luke Asian Museum". Architectural Record (McGraw Hill). Retrieved November 21, 2010. 
  5. ^ "Wing Luke Asian Museum expands name to Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience, with 'The Wing' as its nickname" (PDF) (Press release). Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience. April 22, 2010. Retrieved November 21, 2010. 

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Coordinates: 47°35′54″N 122°19′22″W / 47.59833°N 122.32278°W / 47.59833; -122.32278