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Last Thursday -on the eve of the Chinese New Year- fire ripped through a building On New York City’s Chinatown where the Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA) stored the majority of its collection. As MOCA is set forth in 2020 to celebrate its 40th anniversary -and recovers from last week's fire emergency- we're featuring an encore broadcast of excerpts of a conversation I had in 2016 with its president, Nancy Yao Massbach. You'll hear about the Museum of Chinese in America, its ongoing mission and how you can help at this challenging time.
The fire at 70 Mulberry Street -a former public school in Chinatown- did not appear to send flames into the museum's second-floor storage area, but damage from water sprayed on upper floors could be irreparable, said Nancy Yao Maasbach, the museum's president. The museum used its portion of the building to store donated collections of Chinatown postcards, Chinese American newspapers, family albums, documents about the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and letters home from lonely bachelor immigrants and much more. The 40-year-old museum is located a few blocks away from the burned building and often used copies of documents and artifacts in its exhibits to keep the originals safe at 70 Mulberry. The extent of the damage wasn't immediately clear because firefighters and city officials aren't letting museum workers on the property. She said this will worsen damage to items that might be salvaged if conservators could get to them quickly.
The Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA) is a nonprofit educational and cultural institution in New York City that presents the living history, heritage, culture and diverse experiences of Chinese Americans through exhibitions, educational services, and public programs. Starting in 1980 as the community-based New York Chinatown History Project, it was founded by historian John Kuo Wei Tchen and Charles Lai.
MOCA's mission is "to celebrate the living history of the Chinese experience in America, to inspire our diverse communities to contribute to America's evolving cultural narrative and civil society, and to empower and bridge our communities across generations, ethnicities and geography through our dynamic stories." We learned about the founding of MOCA, its location on Centre Street that was designed by Maya Lin-who came to fame as the designer of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.- about MOCA's amazing programs, educational services and collections, and much more!
Today, February 1, 2020 enjoy zodiac arts and crafts, lively dance performances, festive snacks, and timeless tales inspired by Chinese and Chinese American New Year’s traditions at the Museum of Chinese In America, 215 Centre Street in Manhattan in New York City. Buy your tickets for the Morning Session (10am – 1pm) or the Afternoon Session (2 – 5pm. Both sessions will have the same awesome lineup of special guests and fun activities. Tickets are $12/person; $8 for all MOCA Individual Level Members. FREE for MOCA Family Level Members & above, children under 2, and Cool Culture families. You can purchase your tickets online by going to MOCANYC.org