Opening its doors to the public in 1996, the San Diego Chinese Historical Society and Museum (SDCHM) is one of America’s foremost institutions dedicated to sharing the Chinese American experience, as well as Chinese art and culture. Over the decades since it was incorporated as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, originally known as the Chinese Historical Society of Greater San Diego and Baja California, the 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 Chinese Historical Society of Greater San Diego and Baja California was incorporated to operate a historical, scientific, literary, and educational organization with emphasis on the contributions and influences of the Chinese in Greater San Diego and Baja California.
At the heart of the CHS’s early efforts were those to protect and conserve the building that currently serves as the SDCHM’s principal location, considering its historic and cultural significance to the local Chinese community. The original home of the Chinese Community Church (1927-1960), and, after having sat vacant at its original site on First Avenue for years, the building was slated for demolition in the mid-1980’s. One might say that the Chinese Historical Society formed to initiate the work that would be necessary to save and, eventually, restore the historic Mission to serve the community as a Museum.
Following relocation and renovation of the Mission building, the San Diego Chinese Historical Museum opened its doors to the public in 1996. Since then, the SDCHM has grown 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