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Museum of Chinese in America Opens Doors

Picture it: a monolithic testament to Chinese culture in America, ensconced in the middle of New York’s Chinatown and built by one of the leading Chinese-American designers in the world.

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This MOCA isn’t in LA, Massachusetts, Miami, Cleveland, Jacksonville, or Tucson. And it doesn’t showcase contemporary art. It’s the Museum of Chinese in America, an organization founded over thirty years ago as a historical society that collected documents and objects in a cramped community center on Mulberry Street.

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The scenery is a bit different these days. On September 22nd, the two Maya Lin-designed entryways to the museum will be flung open, symbolizing the museum’s twin missions: to foster understanding of the Chinese to Americans and vice versa. The new location, at 211-215 Centre Street in a converted industrial machine repair shop that spans two floors, is six times the size of the old MOCA space. Lin’s sculptural contribution is a 2D installation in the lobby called “The Journey Wall,” a collection of bronze tiles that pay homage to Chinese families, their origin, and their place of emigration.

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