On May 18, 2020, International Museum Day, the Overseas Chinese Historical Museum of China held an opening of the “Exhibition of San Francisco Chinatown Historical Postcards”. The large exhibit hall was filled with two hundred artifacts and rare postcards relating to the history of early Chinese laborers and immigrants who had settled in the oldest and biggest Chinatown in Northern America. Roughly 100 postcards are from the private collection of Mr. Herby Lam (Chinese name: Lin Kaibin) a Chinese American from San Francisco. He is a retired museum curator, numismatist, philatelist and a life-long collector of vintage postcards.
Collaboration and design of this special exhibition has spanned two years. Mr. Lam was involved in the accumulation of artifacts, research, cataloging, photography and planning of the displays. Chief curator, Mr. Zang Jiebin, and his team at the Overseas Chinese Historical Museum of China in Beijing have worked tirelessly to create a beautifully presented exhibition, including at the entrance, an entire replica of the San Francisco Dragon Gateway to Chinatown.
All of the postcards exhibited are over one hundred years old starting from the late 19th century. Many Chinese immigrants to America began their lives as gold miners, contract laborers and builders of the Transcontinental Railroad through the treacherous Rocky and Sierra Nevada mountains. However, they and their descendants went on to further contribute to their newfound communities as doctors, scientists, lawyers, US military personnel, civic leaders, physicists, designers and inventors, despite tremendous hardships and discriminatory legislation spanning the mid-1800s through the 1950s. There is a vast amount of interesting information and historical treasures contained in each postcard. The visitors can see the early life of Chinese immigrants, in terms of their culture, employment, trading, clothing, festivals, religion, hardships, family life and contributions to society. Mr. Lam is currently gathering information about both New York and Los Angeles Chinatowns for his future exhibition and publication.
The Overseas Chinese Historical Museum of China is a national museum located in the heart of Beijing, and visitors can easily get there through public transportation. It is the first museum solely focused on documenting the experiences, resiliency and contributions of overseas Chinese spanning from the time of the Silk Road to present. The Museum contains detailed and immersive dioramas, whole replicas of neighborhoods, hundreds of artifacts, inspiring stories of unsung heroes and English translations throughout. The Museum has conducted over 15 special exhibitions from 2018 to 2019 with subjects covering history, cultural exchange, educational projects and contributions of the Chinese diaspora from around the world.
This exhibition will last until July 19, 2020. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the museum was temporarily closed for 90 days and it has just reopened for this new exhibition. Visitors to the Museum are required to wear masks, present their health pass, and have their temperatures assessed before entering. It is free to all visitors. For a virtual showing and gallery please visit http://www.ocmuseum.cn/index.html The Overseas Chinese History Museum of China is located at: 1 Beixinqiao 3rd Alley, Dongzhimen, Dongcheng, Beijing, China
Company Name: Overseas Chinese History Museum of China