MOCA: The Museum of Chinese in America
215 Centre Street
New York City, NY 10013
Telephone: (855) 955-4720
Fax: (212) 619-4720
Hours: Tuesday-Wednesday-11:00am-6:00pm/Thursday-11:00am-9:00pm/Saturday & Sunday-11:00am-6:00pm
Fee: General Admission $10.00/Students/Seniors/Children/Military-$7.00/Free to members and people with disabilities
The Museum of Chinese in America engages audiences in an ongoing dialogue, in which people of all backgrounds are able to see American history and society through a critical lens, to reflect on their own experiences and to make meaningful connections between the past and the present, the global and the local, themselves and others.
MOCA began in 1980 as the New York Chinatown History Project, a community-based organization founded by scholar John Kuo Wei Tchen and community activist Charles Lai to promote knowledge and understanding of the history and contributions of Chinese Americans. Today, the MOCA is a national cultural anchor and a global destination. It is located on the border of Chinatown and SoHo in New York City in its Maya Lin-designed home that was highlighted by Architectural Digest as one of Lin’s most memorable designs.
The entrance to the museum
Our core exhibition, ‘With a Single Step: Stories in the Making of America’, traces more than 160 years of milestones in Chinese American History from the earliest Chinese Immigration to the struggle for citizenship to the development of our contemporary identity.
The core exhibit revolves around the Museum’s historic sky-lit courtyard, which renowned artist and designer Maya Lin has left deliberately raw and untouched as a reminder of the past and to evoke a classic Chinese courtyard house.
The permanent collection shows immigration from the earliest days during the early 1800’s with immigrants working in the mines and on the railroads doing the back-breaking work all while dealing with the problems with racism in the country at that time.
The timeline shows the development of the early Chinatowns in major cities and the growth of industries like restaurants and laundries where they could make a living. This is where the term ‘eight-pound package’ came from with a pile of clean laundry. Even in these industries, the exhibit shows the systematic racism in these fields as well.
It was not until WWII when you saw Chinese Americans fighting for their country did you see a change of attitude, but it never seemed to last long. This ongoing theme is seen throughout the exhibition up until today.
Our rotating galleries showcase a revolving series of MOCA-curated and visiting exhibitions featuring contemporary art, design and historical subjects.
The first time I visited the museum, I saw an exhibition of the modern twist to the ‘Chinese Restaurant’ where the foods we eat are really Chinese American cuisine that was created when immigrants came here and had to adapt to their new homeland. Items like Chop Suey and Chow Mein were inventions of new immigrants with the items they had in their pantries.
The exhibit showed how chefs of the third generation of Americans of Chinese Descent are changing these dishes by adding modern spins to the food. The exhibit featured the chefs, their restaurants and the dishes that they were creating. They were changing the cuisine again.
The current exhibition “Responses: Asian American Voices Resisting the Tides of Racism”, deals with the Xenophobia that came with COVID and the affects that the disease and its thought that it came from Wuhan, China has trickled down to a new hate for Americans of Asian descent. This has led to a series of assaults all over the country. The exhibition shows this type of racism throughout the history of this country and the response from the community itself.
“Responses: Asian American voices Resisting the Tides of Racism” exhibition
The MOCA Shop features select items, including books, ceramics, designs by local artists and children’s gifts.
Using inquire-driven approaches, MOCA provides museum and in-school programs on Chinese American history and culture for K-12 and college students at all levels, as well as professional development workshops for teachers. These programs complement classroom learning and foster expansive opportunities for primary source-based learning and development of 21st Century skills such as critical thinking, visual media literacy and civic engagement. They present diverse layers of the Chinese American experience, using individual stories to highlight what it has meant to be Chinese in America at different moments in time, while also exanimating America’s journey as a nation of immigrants.
MOCA’s family programs bring together parents, grandparents, children and grandchildren alike to participate in fun, hands on activities celebrating Chinese American heritage and history. From our annual holiday Family Festivals to our bi-monthly MOCACREATE workshops, enjoy storytelling, drop-in arts and crafts, teaching artist demonstrations, performances and more!
Through its thought-provoking and multi-disciplinary programming, MOCA’s signature public programs series offers diverse perspectives on the living history of Chinese Americans and gives visitors opportunities to actively engage in shaping and influence the Chinese American cultural landscape.
MOCA offer dynamic educator-led tours of our exhibitions and guided walking tours of New York Chinatown for all ages, designed to encourage meaningful ties between visitors’ lives and the history, culture and diverse experiences of people of Chinese descent in the United States.
Preserve your family Legacy:
As visitors enter the Museum, they are greeted with the Journey Wall, a custom art installation created fro the main lobby of MOCA’s space by Maya Lin.
The wall is composed of bronze tiles through which Chinese Americans can honor and remember their family roots. Each tile is inscribed with an individual’s or family’s name and place of origin with their home in America. The complete wall will highlight the expansiveness of the Chinese American diaspora.
To become a permanent part of the Museum epic narrative, your family can place a tile on the Journey Wall.
For more information or to make a reservation for a tile, please contact the Development department at (855) 955-MOCA or email email@example.com. All gifts are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law.
MOCA’s ever-expanding archives and permanent collections are comprised of more than 65,00 artifacts, letters, written records, oral histories, textiles, photographs and videos. The collections highlight the varied threads of the Chinese American diaspora, exploring how they intersect and diverge, illuminating the ways in which they are intimately interwoven within the broader multicultural fabric of the United States.
Galleries at the museum
Research services are available by appointment on weekdays at MOCA’s Collections & Research Center, located at MOCA’s original site at 70 Mulberry Street, which is housed in a historic public school building dating back to the 19th century. MOCA continues to make the museum’s resources available to researchers around the world through its Collections Online. Currently, researchers are able to search more than 10,000 item records and archival finding aids online via PastPerfect and Archives. Space.
Galleries at the museum
*Presenting relevant historical and contemporary exhibitions.
*Collecting and preserving Chinese American history.
*Transforming how our audience learn, engage and use technology to explore history, identity, culture and community.
*Creating curricula and educational programs for students and teachers and offering resources for researchers.
*Cultivating community-based projects and collecting oral histories.
*Hosting films, festivals, performances, readings, workshops and conferences on topics relevant to MOCA’s mission.
Book your group visit today! (855) 955-6622.
Our beautiful 16,000 square foot space at 215 Centre Street is designed by artist and designer Maya Lin. It is a national home for the precious narratives of diverse Chinese American communities and strives to be a model among interactive museums. MOCA brings to life the journeys, memories and contributions of the enduring Chinese American legacy.
MOCA relies on the generosity of private individuals, corporations and foundations to fulfill its mission to preserve and present Chinese American history and culture. Funding from donations and memberships provides critical support for our collections, exhibitions, educational initiatives, public programs and operations. To learn more about supporting MOCA or to make a specific gift, please visit https://secure.mocanyc.org/donation/or contact the Development department at firstname.lastname@example.org.
MOCA members see it first! Enjoy exclusive benefits, including free gallery admission, invitations to exhibition openings, opportunities to meet curators, artists and performers and discounts at the MOCA Shop, as well as at select community partners. To join or renew your membership, please visit mocanyc.org/membership or call (855) 955-6622.
Interns & Volunteers:
MOCA is always seeking dedicated individuals to assist us in our work. Please visit our website for more information.
N,Q,R,J,Z and 6 trains to Canal Street, M9, M15, M103 buses. The nearest parking lot is located at Centre and Hester Streets. Citi Bike station on Howard and Hester Streets.
MOCA Free First Thursdays: Free gallery admission first Thursday of each month except on major holidays. Made possible through the generosity of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and J.T. Tai & Co. Foundation.
Access & Accessibility:
MOCA is committed to making its collection, buildings, programs and services accessible to visitors of all abilities. For more information, please visit mocanyc.org/visit/accessibility.
*Disclaimer: This information is taken directly from the MOCA pamphlet. Things are subject to change by the organization so please call-in advance for any special services.