In-Person Walking Tours

MOCA’s Chinatown walking tours take students through one of New York City’s oldest neighborhoods, introducing them to its long history as an ethnically diverse community. Educators will stop at 8 to 10 different sites, landmarks, and historic streets, and will use photographs and illustrations to show the ways the neighborhood has evolved–as well as remained unchanged–over the years. All walking tours are 75 minutes. Click here to book a neighborhood walking tour!

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Exploring Chinatown’s Community | Grades K-2

Offered April – 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.

Mapping Chinatown | Grades 2-3

Offered April – 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.

Chinatown: A Walk through History | Grades 6 and up

Offered April – 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 the Native American Lenape village of Werpoes Hill in 1600 to its present status as one of NYC’s most active and vibrant Chinatowns one of the fastest-growing immigrant communities in New York City. Highlighted sites include the oldest streets in Chinatown, a bustling neighborhood park with a layered history a Catholic church, Chinatown’s oldest general store, and a Chinese eatery that catered to the needs of Chinatown’s turn-of-the-century “bachelor society.”

In-Person Gallery Tours

MOCA’s gallery tours offer students a wide range of experiences in our permanent exhibit With a Single Step: Stories in the Making of America. All gallery tours are 75 minutes. Click here to book a gallery tour!

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Customs and Traditions | Grades 2-4

Curious about lion dance, Cantonese opera, and other traditions that permeate Chinese American culture? Pack your suitcase, and follow along! On this guided gallery experience, students will explore Chinese American customs and traditions through the lenses of performing arts, language, food, and daily life. Students will have opportunities to share their own cultural traditions and make connections with the Chinese immigrant community.

Special Exhibition Tour: Five Senses of Chinatown | Grades 2-8
Five Senses of Chinatown captures the unique character of Manhattan Chinatown through artwork by students from local schools, historical artifacts from MOCA’s Collection, and interactive sense stations. Explore the exhibit’s diverse range of works inspired by Chinatown spaces like homes, public parks, street life, businesses, eateries, grocery stores, and bubble tea shops. Activate your senses with fun educator-led activities as well as a Chinatown-themed craft!

Family Journeys: The Chinese American Experience | Grades 4-7

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.

Where Do Stereotypes Come From? | Grades 8-12

Students examine and analyze representations of the Chinese in America in political cartoons, advertisements, and pop culture ranging from the 19th century through the 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 U.S. society. Students make connections between representations of race and labor relations, immigration and naturalization policies, and international affairs.

Core Exhibit Gallery Highlights Tour | Grades 6-Adult

Learn about MOCA’s core exhibit, With a Single Step: Stories in the Making of America, in this educator-led gallery tour that provides an overview of the Chinese in America from the 19th century through the present day. Items in the Museum’s collection are used to highlight the major themes of the exhibit. (60 minute option available)

Self-Guided Visits

Explore the museum at your own pace! Self-guided groups are welcome to visit our core exhibit, With a Single Step: Stories in the Making of America, as well as our special exhibits and the Our Chinatown Learning Center. K-8 self-guided groups must bring at least 1 chaperone for every 8 students. Age-appropriate worksheets are available upon request.

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Virtual School Programs

MOCA is excited to offer virtual, educator-led programs for school groups from grades K-12, as well as college groups. Virtual programs engage students with primary sources from the museum’s collection through close looking exercises, guided discussions, and interactive activities. Click here to book a virtual program!

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Customs & Traditions: Arts | Grades: 1-4

Students will gain an appreciation of performing arts by learning about Chinese opera styles and lion dancing. Students will practice deep looking and critical reasoning skills through activities including comparing and contrasting lions and dragons, discussing the symbolism of costumes and gestures, and thinking about how the arts impact people’s lives both during celebrations and as part of their everyday activities.

Customs & Traditions: Dimsum, Dumplings & Duck | Grades: 1-4

Through an exploration of a selection of popular Chinese and Chinese American foods, students will learn about the diversity and adaptability of Chinese food culture and make connections to their own food customs and traditions. Students will investigate how differences in geography and climate in China have created diverse, regional cuisines. Students will also explore the food customs and traditions Chinese immigrants brought with them and how these customs and traditions have been preserved, changed, or adapted to new circumstances.

Family Journeys: Meet Kenneth | Grades: 3-5

Through an examination of personal artifacts, photographs, and documents from the Museum’s collection and others, students will explore the Chinese American experience through the lens of Kenneth, a young Chinese boy who emigrated to the United States via Angel Island. Students will consider what the journey was like, learn about the specific challenges Chinese immigrants faced, investigate the conditions on Angel Island, and reflect on immigration laws like the Chinese Exclusion Act. Interactive activities coupled with close looking will encourage students to make connections between past and present experiences of immigrants to the U.S., and even their own.

Family Journeys: Finding a Way | Grades 6-8

Through an exploration of a selection of primary and secondary sources about two Chinese Americans — Kenneth Ang and Hazel Ying Lee — students will learn about the impact of race and gender discrimination in the past and be guided to make contemporary connections. In particular, students will look closely at how the Chinese Exclusion Act affected would-be immigrants and Chinese Americans.

“I am Not a Virus”: Revisiting the Perpetual Foreigner Stereotype in the Time of COVID-19 | Grades: 8-12

Using primary and secondary sources from MOCA’s collections and others, students will analyze the history and impact of the perpetual foreigner stereotype, with an emphasis on how that stereotype has affected, and continues to affect, people of Chinese heritage (or perceived as being Chinese or of Chinese heritage) in the U.S. during the COVID-19 pandemic.