Guided School Programs

Gallery Programs

Browse the our offerings below, and choose a guided experience that's best for your group! For special tours and customized experiences tailored to fit the needs of your group, please email

Customs and Traditions

Recommended: Grades 2-4

What are the origins of some of the major Chinese holidays? What are popular Chinese symbols and designs? What role does language play in Chinese culture? Through a guided  gallery hunt, students will use MOCA’s exhibits and educational resources to explore traditions like the Lunar New Year, Cantonese opera, popular folktales, and other customs and traditions that permeate Chinese American culture.

Family Journeys: The Chinese American Experience

Grades 4 and up

Through an examination of personal artifacts, photographs, and documents from the Museum’s collection, students will explore the Chinese American experience from past to present. Students will learn about successive waves of Chinese immigrants, their motivations for coming, where they settled, how they were treated, how they adapted to their new life, and how they shaped American society. Hands-on activities with primary sources will encourage students to delve deeper into pertinent themes and to make connections with their personal experience.

Core Exhibit Gallery Highlights Tour

Grades 5 and up

Learn about MOCA’s core exhibit, With a Single Step: Stories in the Making of America, in this one hour educator led gallery tour that provides an overview of Chinese in America from the 19th century to present day. Items in the Museum’s collection are used to highlight the major themes of the exhibit.

Where Do Stereotypes Come From?

Grades 8 and up


Students examine and analyze representations of Chinese in America in political cartoons, advertisements, and pop culture ranging from the 19th century to present-day. Through a series of document-based exercises that strengthen critical thinking and visual literacy and analysis, students learn the origins of stereotypes and social fears such as xenophobia and racism in American history, making connections between representations of race and labor relations, immigration and naturalization policies, and international affairs.

Allies and Enemies

Grades 9 and up

Who are America’s allies and enemies and do these definitions ever change? Students will examine the importance of World War II for Chinese Americans and look at how America’s relationship with China affected the condition of Chinese Americans during the Cold War. The program will also ask students to think critically about constitutional rights and the changing notions of what it means to be American. Topics covered will include the Chinese Exclusion Act, McCarthy period, the Red Scare, and the House of Un-American Activities Committee. This program is an excellent supplement to students who are studying World War II, the Cold War, US-China relations, and constitutional rights.

Happy Lunar New Year (Offsite - classroom visit*)

Offered December - March

Recommended: Grades K-6

*Dependent on school location and availability!


Through a guided interactive classroom experience, students learn about one of the most important and long-standing holidays for Chinese communities in America and all over the world. How do people prepare for Lunar New Year? What are the meanings behind the various customs? How have Chinese Americans preserved and adapted these customs? What makes the Lunar New Year celebration unique and what makes it universal?


This Program requires a different reservation process, please click here for more information about MOCA in the Classroom! 


Group Visit Fees Per Participant (Fall 2015):

$3/NYC DOE Title 1 School
$6/NYC Public School/CUNY/SUNY

$10/Independent and Out of State Schools (K-12)
$12/College and University Students

$16+/Weekends, evenings, private tours & customized experiences


Note: For groups that wish to participate in both a Gallery Program and Walking Tour, discounted fees are available.

Walking Tours

MOCA’s historical walking tours give students an inside look at what life was and is currently like in Chinatown. Tours take students through one of New York City’s oldest neighborhoods, introducing them to its long history as an ethnically diverse community comprised of Americans of African, Jewish, Italian, and Irish descent—and its current Chinese residents. The tours transform the physical environment into an organic learning space where visitors can see historic buildings, witness the vibrant street culture, and learn about the daily life of the past and present community firsthand. Educators will stop at 8 to 10 different sites, landmarks, and historic streets and use historical photographs and illustrations to depict how the neighborhood has evolved as well as remained unchanged over the years.

Exploring Chinatown’s Community

Grades K through 2

Offered April through December

Bring students to the Museum of Chinese in America for an in-person exploration of New York City’s vibrant Chinatown. Students will learn about the landmarks, businesses, and people that make up the Chinatown community, and connect them to places and people in their own home neighborhoods. This program includes a 30-minute walking tour, 30 minutes of guided activities in the museum, and 15 minutes of exploration and storytime in the museum’s hands-on Learning Center.

Mapping Chinatown

Grades 2 through 3

Offered April through December

Bring students to New York City’s historic Chinatown for a fun and interactive map-themed trip! Students will explore the landmarks and businesses of Chinatown in person, then create their own maps to record their visits and what they’ve learned about this community. This 75-minute program includes a 40-minute walking tour, a mapping activity, and time for stories and exploration in MOCA’s new hands-on Learning center.

Chinatown: A Walk Through History

Grades 6 and up

Offered April through December


Uncover the history of one of New York City’s oldest neighborhoods! This walking tour focuses on how everyday buildings and places of historical significance reflect and shape a community from its origins as a Native American village of Werpoes Hill in 1600 to one of the fastest growing immigrant communities of present day New York City. Highlighted sites include the oldest streets of Chinatown, a Catholic church, the oldest general store in Chinatown and a Chinese eatery that catered to the needs of Chinatown’s turn-of-the-century “bachelor society.”


From Coffeehouses to Banquet Halls

Grades 6 and up

Offered April through December


Restaurants have always played an essential role in NYC’s Chinatown. Trace the evolution of eateries in Chinatown, highlighting stories of diversity—the flavors of China’s regional cuisines converging in New York City; stories of legacy—Chinatown’s sons and daughters who grow up to be entrepreneurs and restauranteurs; and stories of evolution—a constant weaving between the classic and modern, the old and the new.

Beyond the Frozen Zone: Portraits of Post 9/11 Chinatown
Recommended Grades 6 and up

Offered September through October

Commemorate the anniversary of 9/11 by crossing into the frozen zone. Located just ten blocks north of the World Trade Center, Chinatown was virtually shut down in the wake of the September 11th terrorist attacks. This neighborhood walk aims to provide a portrait of the ways in which the identity of a community, largely neglected by national media following 9/11, has been shaped by that singular day. It draws upon local stories, news articles, and images to show the profound and irrevocable changes Chinatown has undergone since 2001.


Group Visit Fees Per Participant:
$3/NYC DOE Title 1 School
$6/NYC Public School/CUNY/SUNY
$10/Independent and Out of State Schools (K-12)
$12/College and University Students
$16+/Weekends, evenings, private tours & customized experiences

Note: For groups that wish to participate in both a Gallery Program and Walking Tour, discounted fees are available.