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Newsworks: Philadelphia History Project Maps Chinatown Memories

Philadelphia Public History Project in Chinatown
Philadelphia Public History Project in Chinatown

The Philadelphia Public History Truck, a mobile museum that takes the quirky form of an old ice cream truck, is roaming through Philadelphia’s Chinatown, working to collect its past and present memories.

According to NewsWorks, the project explores local history by asking residents to hand draw three-panel comics about how they came to Chinatown. These comics, as well as prototypes of the project, such as a map that pins memories to specific locations in Chinatown, will be displayed at the Space 1026.

Space 1026, an 18-year-old artist-run gallery and studio, is one of the oldest collectives in the city. Despite being located in Chinatown, the neighborhood’s own residents don’t frequent the space as much as artists, friends of artists, and residents outside of Chinatown.

That doesn’t seem so surprising when we take a closer look at the artists’ space.  We notice that it is overwhelmingly White, almost bourgeois. It is understanding how this space may be alienating to the local residents.

An artist at 1026 said to NewsWorks, that they hope the exhibition, the first Chinatown-specific event at the building, will encourage the neighborhood’s own residents to interact with the space.

The exhibition, entitled Proto and Process, is set to launch in June 2016, and hopes to tell the history of immigration and homelessness in Chinatown.

Learn more about the Public History Truck and the Chinatown project here. Learn more about Space 1026 here.


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