(CLOSED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE DUE TO A FIRE ON 9/19/08)
Located a half-block west of Chinatown's main drag on Wentworth Avenue, the Chinese-American Museum of Chicago is an education and exhibition center of Chinese-American history in the Midwest. "People are used to visiting Chinatown for food and shopping," said Andrea Stamm, board member and volunteer curator at the museum. "We want to also bring them a little culture, to spark their intellect."
In 2005, the museum found a permanent home at a four-floor brick warehouse building that once housed the headquarters of Quong Yick Trading Company, a hub of wholesale Chinese groceries in the Midwest.
The volunteer-staffed museum currently features two floors of exhibition space (the top two floors are under renovation with future plans for a library and collection storage area). The ground floor features a temporary exhibit that rotates every six months to a year. Past exhibits have explored Chinese-American contributions to Chicago's two world fairs in 1893 and 1933-1934, and the early 1900s phenomenon of "paper sons," young Chinese immigrants who attempted to enter the U.S. with false identity papers.
The second floor features a semi-permanent exhibit, "From Great Wall to Great Lakes," a small but enlightening collection that documents the journey of Chinese-American immigrants to various cities in the Midwest. In addition to historical photos and documents (many donated by or on loan from neighborhood residents) the exhibit features detailed replicas of vintage Chinese laundry, restaurant and grocery store interiors. The museum also hosts regular public lectures and workshops with artists, historians and other experts on Chinese-American history.
Suggested Donation: Adults: $2; Seniors and Students: $1; Members: Free
Centerstage Reviewer: Keidra Chaney