Gathering: Collecting and Documenting Chinese American History

October 17, 2019 - March 22, 2020


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 America. This first-of-its-kind survey exhibition is part of our year-long initiative to commemorate the contributions of Chinese railroad workers in the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad 150 years ago. The exhibition showcases the breadth, depth, and investment of organized documentation and collection of Chinese history in America. Through this project we hope to expand the dialogue, strengthen connections, and increase collaborative work among these organizations. For Gathering, MOCA will be working closely with 1882 Foundation and its 50 Objects Project, through the Tenement Museum’s Your Story, Our Story digital platform.


Participating Organizations:

Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation (San Francisco, CA)

Asociacion China de Mexicali (Mexicali Baja California, Mexico)

Belleville Historical Society (Belleville, NJ)

China Alley Preservation Society (Hanford, CA)

Chinese American Museum Los Angeles (Los Angeles, CA)

Chinese American Museum of Chicago (Chicago, IL)

Chinese American Museum of Northern California (Marysville, CA)

Chinese Bunkhouse Preservation Project (Fremont, CA)

Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association of Augusta (Augusta, GA)

Chinese Historical & Cultural Project (San Jose, CA)

Chinese Historical Society of America (San Francisco, CA)

Chinese Historical Society of Memphis and the Mid-South (Memphis, TN)

Chinese Historical Society of New England (Boston, MA)

Chinese Historical Society of Southern California (Los Angeles, CA)

Chinese History Project (Fremont, CA)

Cumberland Chinese Cemetary (British Columbia, Canada)

Hawaii Chinese History Center (Honolulu, HI)

Kam Wah Chung State Heritage Site (John Day, OR)

Locke Foundation (Locke, CA)
Mai Wah Society (Butte, MT)
Mississippi Delta Chinese Heritage Museum (Cleveland, MS)
Portland Chinatown Museum (Portland, OR)
San Diego Chinese Historical Society and Museum (San Diego)
Save Our Chinatown Committee (Riverside, CA)
Temple of Kwan Tai (Mendocino, CA)

Walk of Remembrance (Pacific Grove, CA)

Wing Luke Museum of the Asian American Experience (Seattle, WA)
Wo Hing Museum and Cookhouse/Lahaina Restoration Foundation (Lahaina, HI)

Gathering is accompanied by the exhibition The Chinese Helped Build the Railroad – The Railroad Helped Build America which tells the story of the more than 12,000 Chinese laborers who built a significant part of the Transcontinental Railroad and the resulting backlash against the Chinese after its completion in 1869.


This historical exhibition traces the Chinese contribution to the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad. Starting in 2012, photographer Li Ju visited sites along the route of the Transcontinental Railroad. This exhibition presents historical photographs alongside Li’s contemporary images of significant railroad sites to resurrect these stories and honor the achievements of the laborers.


Download Press Release (English PDF

Download Press Release (Chinese PDF)





"Recording History Before It Is Lost" - written by Roslyn Bernstein, arts and culture journalist, for Medium


On Track: How MOCA Serves Chinatown and Beyond - Jing Travel


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