Chinese American Museum, Los Angeles

Chinese American Museum, Los Angeles

The Chinese American Museum is an integral part of the El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historic Monument, with a specific focus on preserving and sharing the history and experiences of Chinese Americans in California. It stands as the inaugural museum of its kind in Southern California and occupies the oldest surviving structure from Los Angeles' original Chinatown, known as the Garnier Building. Fortunately, this building managed to survive the destruction of much of Old Chinatown in 1933, when Union Station was constructed.

Built in 1890 by French immigrant Philippe Garnier, the Garnier Building was a central hub for the Chinese community from 1890 to 1940. It housed social organizations, businesses, schools, and religious institutions, fostering connections between Chinese and American societies, especially in the face of prevalent anti-Chinese sentiment in Southern California, exacerbated by events like the 1871 Chinese Massacre and the 1882-1943 Chinese Exclusion Acts. The building continued to serve Chinese tenants until the State of California took ownership in 1953.

In 2003, the museum on the premises was established. Chinese American families and businesses generously contributed their cherished possessions to the museum's collection, including traditional clothing, antique furniture, aged photographs, historical letters, audio recordings of elderly Chinese Americans recounting their memories of growing up in Old Chinatown, children's toys, and more.

The museum features permanent exhibitions on Chinese immigration to Los Angeles, including "Origins: Birth & Rise of Chinese American Communities," "Journeys: Chinese Immigration to the US with a focus on LA," and a recreation of the "Sun Wing Wo General Store and Herb Shop" from 1891-1948. It also hosts temporary exhibits, workshops, events, and publications to foster cultural understanding between Chinese and American communities.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Los Angeles. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from Apple App Store or Google Play Store. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Chinese American Museum on Map

Sight Name: Chinese American Museum
Sight Location: Los Angeles, USA (See walking tours in Los Angeles)
Sight Type: Museum/Gallery
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Los Angeles, California

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