Location: 70 Mulberry St., New York
The Museum of Chinese in the Americas (MoCA) is the first fulltime, professionally staffed museum dedicated to reclaiming, preserving, and interpreting the history and culture of Chinese and their descendants in the Western Hemisphere. Hailed by the Smithsonian Magazine as a cultural rescue mission to save a little-known immigrant heritage, MoCA documents an immigrant community that arrived in the Americas with few possessions but very big dreams. 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.
The Museum of Chinese in the Americas (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 is 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. Now as Chinatown begins 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 the Americas.