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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Reopening of Museum of Chinese In America

The Musem of Chinese in America in New York formally reopened last Sept. 22, sporting a new look and a new interesting exhibit you might want to check out.

Other than displaying the successes of prominent American-Chinese, it is also interesting to watch out for the 2 themes presented: The transition in the Chinese-Americans' own vision of their place in America, and other Americans' evolving perceptions of the Chinese.

Prof. James Bergquist wrote a Wall Street Journal article analyzing these as can be learned from the Museum. He tells of the conflicts earlier Chinese Americans experienced, such as stereotyping from other Americans. He also notes that internal conflicts have also risen inside Chinese American communities, especially in relation to siding with the politics in the Mainland.

I'm imaging it would be interesting to go there and see the stories for yourself. The new building is at 215 Centre St. in New York (the former one, at 70 Mulberry St., continues to hold research archives). Prof. Bergquist notes "The Museum of Chinese in America exhibit gives us a better understanding of many of these complexities of the Chinese-American story, although it perhaps softens its account of the internal tensions within Chinatown by focusing instead on those issues which united Chinese Americans."

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