Chinese Historical Society of America

Chinese Historical Society of America

Chinese Historical Society of America (CHSA) collects, preserves, and illuminates the history of Chinese in America by serving as a center for community, education, and cultural engagement. Founded in 1963, CHSA pioneered the study and dissemination of the history of the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community in order to

Chinese Historical Society of America

Chinese Historical Society of America (CHSA) collects, preserves, and illuminates the history of Chinese in America by serving as a center for community, education, and cultural engagement. Founded in 1963, CHSA pioneered the study and dissemination of the history of the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community in order to build a more just and equitable society, and continues today to use the ongoing legacy of the Chinese in America to build community. CHSA creates exhibitions, events, public programs, and online content for social justice, diversity, equity and inclusion in the Bay Area and beyond.

About the Organization:

Chinese Historical Society of America (CHSA) collects, preserves, and illuminates the history of Chinese in America by serving as a center for community, education, and cultural engagement. Founded in 1963, CHSA pioneered the study and dissemination of the history of the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community in order to build a more just and equitable society, and continues today to use the ongoing legacy of the Chinese in America to build community. CHSA creates exhibitions, events, public programs, and online content for social justice, diversity, equity and inclusion in the Bay Area and beyond.

organizational budget

$1 MILLION - $2 MILLION

existence for

31+ YEARS

The Issue:

CHSA is a museum and learning center that faces two main issues: The first is the need to create a more just, diverse, inclusive, and equitable society. The second deals with expanding relevance in a shifting technology and cultural landscape. The issue of creating a more diverse and equitable society begins with our mission. CHSA operates the first and only museum in the Bay Area dedicated to the interpretation, promotion, and preservation of the social, cultural, and political history and contributions of the Chinese in America. Founded in 1963 CHSA stives to represent the interests and history of a community of over 5.4 million Chinese Americans nationally. We tell the story of Chinese Americans as champions of social justice, speaking out and fighting for the rights of all Americans through intercultural solidarity, social engagement, civic protest, and civil disobedience when necessary. We achieve this by curating exhibitions, managing one of the nation’s leading Chinese American historic archives, and working with local artists and cultural producers to host special events, workshops, book talks, film screenings, and discussions about AAPI/BIPOC issues.

The Solution:

One solution is the adaptation to technological and cultural expectations. During Covid CHSA, made the shift to virtual programming. This helped jumpstart our goals of using new technology to address the demands of a new generation of consumers. Our solution was to digitize our museum and move beyond the in-reach model in which CHSA encourages members of the public to physically visit the museum. While we still offer this as a primary means to participate with our content, CHSA also is breaking out in the XR (augmented reality and virtual reality) community. During Covid we transformed our museum into a fully immersive virtual reality gallery. Next, we received an award from the National Archives and Records Administration to launch a major funding initiative for CHSA to create a series of XR experiences in public space, using Augmented Reality to relocate historic artifacts for our collection into the places of their respective origin. This enables public consumption of our content in the public realm and in a way that has layers of gamification and social participation. CHSA sees programming in new media, both in public space, and online in new ways as one major component in the future of museum programming.

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