Established in 1996, the San Diego Chinese Historical Museum (SDCHM) is one of America’s foremost institutions dedicated to sharing the Chinese American experience, as well as Chinese art and culture. In its 20 years as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, SDCHM has transformed a historic, abandoned building at the heart of 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.

Each year, tens of thousands of people participate in Museum events. SDCHM education programs strive to honor and uphold Chinese history, as well as the contributions of Chinese Americans from classrooms all across San Diego County. Monthly lectures and docent-led walking tours delve into the intrigues of China’s past and present, piecing together the multicultural history of the San Diego Asian Pacific Historic District.

Renowned scholars and accomplished artists stop by the Museum to present their latest insights and contributions. Original exhibitions celebrate both the history of San Diego Chinatown and its broader heritage. The Museum continues to unite its surrounding diverse community for Chinese holidays, including the New Year and the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival, as well as Veterans Day.

Come join us today to experience Chinese art, history, and culture at the heart of downtown San Diego.


In 1986, the San Diego Chinese Historical Society was established in order to preserve and uphold Chinese and Chinese American history and culture. In the 1990’s, the local Chinese community learned that the building that had served as their church and school was slated for demolition. In response, the Historical Society rallied to save the historic mission building. Finally, the City approved plans to relocate the building to the heart of old Chinatown, at the corner of J Street and Third Avenue.

Following relocation and renovation, the San Diego Chinese Historical Museum was finally born in 1996. SDCHM has grown from its humble beginnings to encompass 3 downtown facilities and a Chinese-style garden. Over the past 20 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 to celebrate multiculturalism, enrich the community, and showcase San Diego as an international and 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