Established in 1996, the San Diego Chinese Historical Museum (SDCHM) is one of America’s foremost institutions dedicated to sharing the Chinese American experience, and to promoting Chinese art and culture. In twenty years as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, SDCHM has transformed a historic, abandoned building in what was once San Diego’s Chinatown into a state-of-the-art multi-site museum that plays a critical role in the cultural life of the San Diego community.
In 1986, the San Diego Chinese Historical Society formed in order to preserve and share Chinese and Chinese American history and culture. In the 1990s, when a historic mission building, the former church and school of the local Chinese community was slated for demolition, the Historical Society rallied to save it and the City approved plans to relocate the building to the heart of old Chinatown at the corner of J Street and Third Avenue. In 1996, after the building’s relocation and renovation, the SDCHM was born. From its humble beginnings, SDCHM has grown to encompass 3 downtown facilities and a Chinese-style garden. Over the past twenty years, the museum has welcomed hundreds of thousands of visitors, collected thousands of ethnographic artifacts, and hosted hundreds of educational programs and exhibitions. Today, SDCHM remains a platform for celebrating multiculturalism, enriching the community, and showcasing San Diego as an international cultural tourist destination.
Excellence in Cultural Awareness Award – Asian Culture & Media Alliance, 2018
San Diego’s Best Museum – KFMB-TV Mojo Awards, August 2010
Number Four Museum or Art Gallery in San Diego – DK News Top Ten in San Diego Travel Guide, 2009
Asian Heritage Award for Cultural Preservation – Awarded to Executive Director Alexander Chuang by Asia Media Inc., 2007
Multicultural Heritage Award – San Diego Business Journal, 1999
Award for Historic Preservation – U.S. Congress of History, 1997
Orchid Award for Historic Preservation – Orchids and Onions, 1996
People in Preservation Award – Awarded to then-Board Pres. Tom Hom by Save Our Heritage Organization, 1996