New Leadership Marks New Era For San Diego Chinese Historical Museum

 

August 9, 2016

SAN DIEGO, CA–The San Diego Chinese Historical Museum (SDCHM) – a cultural landmark located in the heart of downtown San Diego – named a new Executive Director for the first time in two decades. Tiffany Wai-Ying Beres, a California native, comes to SDCHM with wide-ranging international experience in arts administration and fine arts curation related to Asian and Chinese art history. She succeeds the Museum’s founding Executive Director, Dr. Alexander Chuang, who has retired after twenty years of service.

SDCHM is one of a few U.S. institutions dedicated to sharing the Chinese American experience and promoting Chinese art and culture to foster cross-cultural understanding. Today, the number of Chinese in the U.S. has risen to nearly 4 million, and more than 20% of the world’s population is of Chinese descent.

“We have a new talented Executive Director, Tiffany Wai-Ying Beres, who will continue the job that I began,” says SDCHM founder, Dr. Chuang.  “With the three museum galleries and our award-winning education programs, I believe the Museum has a strong future ahead.”

“It is such an honor to build upon the tremendous legacy of Dr. Chuang,” says Beres. “Especially as a bi-racial Chinese American, this work is somewhat personal, too.  My vision is to build upon that legacy and expand the Museum’s footprint regionally and nationally, making Chinese history, art, and culture accessible to everyone who is interested.”

ABOUT THE NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Tiffany Wai-Ying Beres is a distinguished Chinese art specialist and art historian who has worked as an independent curator and exhibition planner with museums and institutions around the world such as the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, the Pagoda Paris, Art Stage Singapore, and the Rietberg Museum in Zürich. For the last ten years she has been based in Beijing, China where she has worked with top artists and published extensively about topics in Asian art, particularly Chinese ink painting.

Beres believes that the role of cultural museums has evolved over the last twenty years.  “It is not enough to display artifacts from thousands of years ago and imagine that people will come to you. Today, institutions like ours have to prove our contemporary relevance and our educational worth, ” she says.

To attract new, younger audiences such as college students and families with children, Beres hopes to create more dynamic programming and interactive exhibits at SDCHM.  A self-proclaimed antique lover, Beres is also committed to the Museum’s mission of preserving and protecting the past.  Her three major initiatives for SDCHM are: 1) to expand the high-quality educational programming inside and outside the Museum; 2) the care, conservation, and digitization of the Museum’s collection; 3) and achieving national-level accreditation through the American Alliance of Museums.

ABOUT THE SDCHM

The San Diego Chinese Historical Museum grew out of the local Chinese Historical Society. 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. This mission building became the San Diego Chinese Historical Museum, which opened its doors in 1996 and has since expanded to encompass three state-of-the-art facilities and a Chinese-style garden. The Museum is a nonprofit organization that is supported by its members as well as the City and County of San Diego. SDCHM is the only museum in the United States dedicated to both Chinese and Chinese American history, which it in the ideal position to facilitate cross-cultural communication and understanding.

For more information, photo and interview requests, contact Tanya Aubin at 619.338.9888 and media@sdchm.org

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