The San Diego Chinese Historical Society and Museum is pleased to announce Jiātíng gùshì (“Family Stories”): Intergenerational Oral History Project at the SDCHM, which will involve the community in exploring innovative ways to engage visitors with the history of the San Diego Chinese community.  Through this project, the SDCHM will invite museum community members to share stories with their family through oral history interviews to take place via a series of public workshops. Workshops will take place at the Pei Chen Liu and Tsuan-Nien Chang Library at the Museum’s Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Extension (328 J Street, San Diego 92101) starting July 27, 2019.

Each workshop will see Museum stakeholders share stories related to one of six different themes, inspired by objects of the Museum’s permanent collection. The themes include:

      • Ah Quin: a founding father of San Diego
      • Chinese markets in downtown San Diego
      • The history of the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association as a community-based organization in San Diego
      • Stories of Chinese-American veterans
      • The Chinese Mission Church
      • The creation of the Asian-Pacific Thematic Historic District in downtown San Diego

Workshops will take place in English, Standard Chinese (Mandarin) and/or Cantonese, depending on the language preferences of participants.  

These workshops will mark the start of an ongoing oral history program here at the Museum. Interview conversations will be recorded as audio, transcribed, and made available for public consultation at the Museum starting November 2019. We are excited to watch the project develop.


Get more information about upcoming Oral History Workshops on our events calendar


  •  July 27, 2019, featuring guest, Murray K. Lee (historian, WWII Veteran, career civil servant, and advocate for Chinese-American Veterans in San Diego).
  • August 31, 2019, featuring guests Dr. Alexander Chuang and Agnes Chen (engineer and medical researcher, who both became involved with the Chinese Historical Society, starting in 1987, and who helped to organize the San Diego Chinese Historical Museum Planning and Management Committee in 1992 to raise funds for relocating and renovating the Mission church building at its current site)
  • September 28, 2019featuring guest, Tom Hom (civic, business and community leader in San Diego, who has played an important role advocating for the protection of structures that are significant to the history of the local Chinese American community). 
  • November 2, 2019, featuring guest, Peter D. Chu (attorney at law, president of the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association)
  • November 10, 2019featuring guest, Amie Lee Garapich (long-term resident of San Diego and docent for the Asian-Pacific Historic District walking tour, hosted each month at the Museum).  Through an oral history interview, Amie would like to share anecdotes from her participation in activities in the historic San Diego Chinatown during her childhood, making note of the changes that she’s witnessed through the years.

Oral History Project Internships

If you are a college or university student with basic knowledge of digital video editing processes and/or with fluency in Chinese and English, perhaps studying anthropology, ethnic studies, communications, or visual/media arts, we’d love to enlist your help preparing a repository of the video recordings and transcripts that will be a central part of the oral history project at the Museum.

If you’d like to assist as a Media Intern, your duties will include:

  • Providing technical support for editing video clips of the oral history interviews realized through phase I workshops, using OpenShot, an open-source software for video editing.
  • Learning to conduct oral history interviews and participating in interview workshops with community members and Museum staff

Or, if you’d prefer to provide support as a Project Transcriptionist, your duties will include:

  • Providing support for the work involved in preparing interview transcripts (in English, Chinese (Mandarin), and Cantonese)
  • Learning to conduct oral history interviews and participating in interview workshops with community members and Museum staff

We’re excited to invite students and younger community members to play an integral role in launching the Museum’s oral history project. Through an internship with the Museum, you’ll have the chance to learn about best practices in the field of oral history, while getting to know community members and learning about their contributions and achievements through their own words, as you participate in work to construct a more inclusive historical narrative of the city and the region.

We’re able to offer a modest ($250) stipend to interns supporting the Oral History Project, thanks to support from the San Diego County Board of Supervisors.

You may apply for the Oral History Internship at the SDCHM by:

  • Emailing your resumé, a cover letter, and an unofficial copy of your academic transcript as ONE PDF FILE to
  • In the subject line of your email, include your FULL NAME and the phrase Application for the Oral History Internship at the SDCHM
  • In the cover letter, please elaborate on the following:
    • Describe your interest in, exposure to, and experience with oral history.
    • How would an internship at the SDCHM apply to your studies and future research?
    • What skills and experience do you bring to the table that would be beneficial to the SDCHM?
November 30, 2019 Oral History Library unveiling event (details to be confirmed)

This project was made possible with support from California Humanities, a non-profit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Visit

The Humanities For All Quick Grant is a competitive grant program of California Humanities that supports locally initiated public humanities projects that respond to the needs and interests of Californians, encourage greater public participation in humanities programming, (particularly by new and/or underserved audiences), and promotes understanding and empathy among all our state’s peoples in order to cultivate a thriving democracy. The $3,665 received from California Humanities will go toward the purchase of equipment and supplies for project workshop sessions.  

Some support was also received from the San Diego County Board of Supervisors, through its Community Enhancement Program, for FY19-20.  Thank you to District 1 Supervisor, Greg Cox, and to District 4 Supervisor, Nathan Fletcher, for your recommendations!

Additional support will be needed to fund staff time dedicated to the project. If you would like to make a tax-deductible donation in support of this project, you may do so online (using the “Donate” link to the left of this text), via the phone (619-338-9888) or by mail (404 Third Avenue, San Diego, CA 92101).

Our Tax Identification Number is: 33-0179740.