Image via Wikimedia Creative Commons by Jim Henderson
The museum, located in Manhattan’s Chinatown, holds historical artifacts and items recounting the history of Chinese people in the United States. About 85,000 of these artifacts were feared to have been lost permanently when a fire ravaged 70 Mulberry Street, where the museum stores its artifacts and archives, in January, according to CBS2.
“For smaller museums like ours, this could’ve absolutely shut the door on us, crippled us, and ended MOCA,” said Nancy Yao Maasbach, president of MOCA.
MOCA is now preparing for its 40th anniversary and a major reopening.
The recovered artifacts have been moved to MOCA’s new archive space, now called the MOCA Workshop. For a limited time, the MOCA Workshop will be open to the public to view the restored artifacts.
“All of our collections were all over the place, 85,000 items. We weren’t sure where they were, if they would be salvaged, and this is the beginning of a new tomorrow for that,” said Yao Maasbach. “Everything is coming back. It has been stabilized, and this space will be open to the public. It’s amazing.”
The museum also hopes to reimagine the way it engages its visitors and create a more interactive space in the workshop.
“This is going to be a place for scholars and researchers to come. And we’re also going to have a screen come down so we can do programming here. And then upstairs will be an oral history place,” Yao Maasbach said.
“People think sometimes museums are passive. The Museum of Chinese in America needs to be urgently and aggressively trying to take down stories, oral histories, collect.”
MOCA was also recently awarded a $3 million dollar grant from the Ford Foundation after being named one of “America’s Cultural Treasures.”
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