The Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA) is the leading museum dedicated to reclaiming, preserving and presenting the history and culture of Chinese people in the United States. Through its thought-provoking exhibits and programs, MOCA encourages dialogue among people of all cultural backgrounds.
After more than 20 years of collecting artifacts, archival and library materials, we are proud to be stewards of one of the most important national archives of materials about Chinese life in America. From rare papers to priceless artifacts, we hold many unusual and unique items indispensable for understanding this contemporary history.
MOCA began as a community-based organization founded in 1980 by Jack Tchen and Charlie Lai and Chinese American artists, historians and students who felt that the memories of first-generation "old-timers" would be lost without oral history, photo documentation, research, and collecting efforts. Now a focal point of the community's cultural life, the Museum has evolved into not only the keeper of the community's documented history, but the community's cultural history as well.
MOCA was located downtown in the heart of Manhattan's Chinatown on the second floor of the historic, century-old school building that was once Public School 23. Opened in November 1, 1893, and closing almost exactly 83 years later in October 1976, Public School 23 was built during the great tides of reform activity of the late 19th century, as New York struggled to educate the new waves of immigrants entering the city. As Chinatown continues to recover from the events of September 11th, MOCA envisions itself to be the cultural and historical cornerstone, curator, educator, exhibitor and research center of not only Manhattan's Chinatown, but for all Chinese of many nationalities located in America.
Responses is an offering to our country in a moment of crisis. Chinese and Asian Americans are being blamed as the genesis of the coronavirus and targeted in assaults across the country, harming their bodies as well as their sense of belonging. To…Read More »
An unlikely photojournalist: Emile Bocian in Chinatown is a virtual exhibition, co-curated by MOCA and the Center for Jewish History (CJH). The show explores the life and photographs of European Jewish photographer Emile Bocian during his time…Read More »
The Chinese Helped Build the Railroad – The Railroad Helped Build America is an historical exhibition that traces the Chinese contribution to the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad. Starting in 2012, photographer Li Ju visited sites…Read More »
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…Read More »
Interior Lives: Photographs of Chinese Americans in the 1980s By Bud Glick In 1981, the New York Chinatown History Project (now the Museum of Chinese in America) commissioned photographer Bud Glick to document the street life, people, and domestic…Read More »
Fold: Golden Venture Paper Sculptures As a way to actively engage visitors in a conversation about immigration issues, FOLD: Golden Venture Paper Sculptures will present the story of the passengers of the Golden Venture, a ship carrying 286…Read More »
Sour, Sweet, Bitter, Spicy: Stories of Chinese Food and Identity in America Join us for conversations around a dinner table with 33 Chinese and Asian American chefs. Sour, Sweet, Bitter, Spicy weaves together complex stories through a dynamic video…Read More »
In this survey exhibition, architectural historian Kerri Culhane documents and explores Poy Gum Leeâ€™s (1900-1968) nearly 50-year long career in both China and New York and examines Leeâ€™s modernist influence in New York Chinatown. This project…Read More »
An award-winning anthropological case study by designer Stephen Fan, SUB URBANISMS explores the controversial conversion of suburban single-family homes into multi-family communities by immigrant Chinese casino workers in Connecticut. Addressing the…Read More »
Yu Lik Wai: Itâ€™s A Bright Guilty World, co-presented by WhiteBox, will feature a recent series of photographic prints, and a 3-channel video holographic installation titled Flux (2008) by the Hong Kong-born, Beijing-based artist, who has…Read More »
Waves of Identity transforms the Bloomberg Special Exhibitions gallery into an archive environment encouraging open exploration of MOCAâ€™s rich collection of Chinese American history. This exhibition will present over 200 objects and stories,…Read More »
Memory Prints is a solo exhibition by Phillip Chen, a visual artist from the Midwest. In fifteen relief etchings centering around his family, Chen reckons with significant moments in Chinese American history. These prints unearth the emotional…Read More »