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Archives recovered after fire at Museum of Chinese in America

Photo by Shirley Ng

Fear has turned to optimism at the Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA) in New York City.

One week after a fire gutted a five story building in New York’s Chinatown MOCA has recovered 150 boxes, reported Atlas Obscura.

The museum’s president, Nancy Yao Maasbach says parts of the collection “are very much salvageable.”

“We are so excited to share that it looks like everything we took out of the building this morning is very much salvageable. Very much salvageable,” said Maasbach at a press conference attended by AsAmNews on Wednesday. “So we had about 25 boxes get immediately sent to Allentown, Pennsylvania, where they will be immediately (put in freezers), stabilized and then freeze-dried.” The fire did not reach the archival rooms, but Maasbach had said she was most worried about water damage and mold.

Some of the boxes were found in good condition and only need to be reboxed.

The building also housed the Chen Dance Center, a senior center and other community groups. The building which was owned by the city will be rebuilt, according to Mayor Bill DeBlasio. Others, however, are less optimistic.

“There is some severe and significant fire damage to the building,” Department of Building Assistant Commissioner Yegal Shamash said at the press conference, according to Gothamist. “The structural stability of the building right now is not in jeopardy. But overall we do have concerns with the stability of the building long term.”

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