Opening Reception of MOCA Fall 2019 Special Exhibition Gathering: Collecting and Documenting Chinese American History

A Letter from the MOCA Team

Dear MOCA Friends,

The Museum of Chinese in America closed out 2020 by celebrating its 40th anniversary in December. We hope you were able to enjoy the premiere of the MOCA 40 Virtual Special Event which has attracted over 2,400 viewers and counting. In case you missed it, or want to watch it again, you can still do so on MOCA’s YouTube channel and Facebook page.

Throughout our 40-year history, MOCA has served millions of people from New York City and around the world. Our multicultural programming appeals to people of all ages and all walks of life. As part of our core values, we serve people of diverse racial, religious, ethnic, and economic backgrounds. Through it all, we have so much to be thankful for, namely the unwavering support from people near and far who have believed in MOCA’s mission since its founding in 1980. The ongoing grass-roots support following the 70 Mulberry Street fire, together with the Ford Foundation and other leading U.S. foundations and philanthropists naming MOCA as one of 20 “America’s Cultural Treasures”, has encouraged us to carry on.

2020 has been a trying year for all. MOCA also faced multiple crises in 2020: the 5-alarm fire at 70 Mulberry Street that nearly destroyed its archives, the coronavirus pandemic that led to shuttering the Museum’s physical space, the resurgence of racism against Asian American Pacific Islanders and Asians, and heightened tensions between the U.S. and China creating fear and instability within Chinese American communities. Through it all, MOCA has pivoted, adapted and risen to each challenge—thanks to your encouragement and support.

We look forward to welcoming you back to MOCA in 2021!

With sincere gratitude,

Nancy Yao Maasbach, President, and the MOCA Team


Our Reach

We strive to promote a deeper understanding of the Chinese American experience, cultivate a safe learning environment to discuss civil and human rights issues, foster a “sense of home” for Chinese Americans, and provide programming that enriches the lives of all visitors regardless of their identity.

MOCA Spike 150 Launch Race, February 2019

  • 40 Years stewarding the history of the Chinatown and broader Chinese-American Community
  • 4 Million+ unique users from across the world interact with MOCA on Social Media
  • 1 Million+ visitors welcomed to our location at 215 Centre Street
  • 85,000+ historical treasures conserved, making MOCA the largest Chinese-American collection in the world
  • 13,000 students taught by MOCA’s Education Department annually
  • Nearly 3,000 adults and educators attend MOCA Education Department events annually

MOCA Forum—Asian American Allyship for Black Lives Matter featuring Gov. Gary Locke and Prof. Frank H. Wu, June 2020

  • 6,665 community members engaged in public programs in 2019
  • 11,120 tour groups visited MOCA in 2019
  • 450+ media mentions across national and international publications in 2020
  • 15,000+ views for our virtual public programs in 2020
  • 50,000+ viewers attended our virtual education programs in 2020

Our Programmatic Highlights & Initiatives

Despite the challenging circumstances imposed by the pandemic, MOCA has remained dedicated to bringing quality programming to our community. In 2020, we produced an ambitious number of on-site and virtual programs in response to the needs of our community in this difficult moment.

Windows for Chinatown

an outdoor, socially distanced yet publicly accessible exhibition that invites people to reflect on the history of NYC’s Chinatowns, the spike in anti-Asian racism during the COVID-19 pandemic, alongside the recent uprisings for racial justice

The MOCA OneWorld COVID-19 Special Collection

a special initiative documenting and sharing the stories of Chinese Americans and the Chinese diaspora who have been resisting coronavirus-fueled xenophobia with incredible acts of compassion, generosity, and creative and artistic expression

MOCA HEROES

a series of free digital and print non-fiction magazines that enable students to explore the lives of Chinese Americans who have contributed to America’s national narrative in fun and grade-appropriate ways

MOCA Teahouse Reading Club

a monthly reading club encouraging participants to understand Chinese and Asian-American identity and history through open discussions

MOCA Treasures on the Road Series

a monthly conversation about objects of historical importance to facilitate conversations about Asian American and Chinese heritage

MOCA Spotlight Series

a monthly speaker series featuring the life stories of Chinese-American luminaries in an intimate setting

Reflections on the Everyday (谈家常)

a museum tour program aimed at enhancing the quality of life of Chinese language(s) speakers living with dementia and their caregivers


Our Community

MOCA is incredibly fortunate to have friends and partners both at home in Chinatown and all over the world! We also continue to serve as a national anchor for the constellation of Chinese American institutions across the country.

  • 180+ community organizations partner with MOCA, including artist collectives, schools, advocacy groups, other collections, and more!
  • 28 peer Chinese American cultural institutions collaborated with MOCA
  • 33 Institutional Funders this year
  • Nearly 2,000 friends of the MOCA Archive contributed to the MOCA Fire Recovery Fund
  • Hundreds of historians, artists, and advisors have helped us contribute to a more accurate and insightful American narrative

Our Awards & Recognition

  • Named one of 20 “America’s Cultural Treasures” by Ford Foundation in partnership with other leading U.S. foundations and philanthropists such as Abrams Foundation, Alice L. Walton Foundation, and Bloomberg Philanthropies
  • Named one of “25 Best Museums in New York City” by Condé Nast Traveler
  • “The Museum of Chinese in America is [an] institution where collection and community converge.” – The New York Times
  • “‘Where are you really from? How do I fit in here?’ It’s a complicated question and one the museum artfully addresses in both its permanent and temporary exhibitions.” – The Wall Street Journal