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.

Each year, tens of thousands of people participate in Museum events. SDCHM’s education programs share Chinese history and the contributions of Chinese Americans in classrooms around San Diego County. Monthly lectures delve into the intrigues of China’s past and the art of China’s present, and monthly walking tours uncover the multicultural history of San Diego’s Asian Pacific Historic District. Renowned scholars and accomplished artists stop by to present their latest insights and achievements. Original exhibitions share both the history of San Diego’s Chinatown and highlight aspects of the broader heritage from which it sprung. The Museum also brings our diverse community together to celebrate holidays like Chinese New Year, the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival, and to commemorate Veterans Day. Come join us today to experience Chinese art, history, and culture in the heart of downtown San Diego!


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