Did you know that the historic Chinatown used to be in Downtown San Diego? The GQA Staff recently went on a tour of the San Diego Chinese Historical Museum, located at 404 Third Avenue, to learn more about the history of Chinese Americans in this area.

SDCHM-Garden-Koi-Pond-1 gaslamp san diego

Established in 1996, the San Diego Chinese Historical Museum is one of America’s foremost institutions dedicated to sharing the Chinese American experience, and to promoting Chinese art and culture. The group originally formed to preserve and share Chinese and Chinese American history and culture with meetings in the Horton Grand Hotel. In the 1990s, when a historic mission building, the former church and school of the local Chinese community, was slated for demolition, the San Diego Chinese Historical Society rallied to save it. The City approved of the plans to relocate the building to its current location at the heart of old Chinatown at the corner of J Street and Third Avenue.

SDCHM-Statue-350x350 gaslamp san diego
SDCHM-Garden-1-350x350 gaslamp san diego

After the relocation and renovation of the Mission Building, the San Diego Chinese Historical Museum opened its doors in 1996 with close to nothing. Today, the Museum is home to a permanent collection of Chinatown artifacts that were all donated throughout the years by members of the community. The Museum has now grown to encompass 3 downtown facilities and a Chinese-style garden. They also host a variety of special exhibits, lectures, and events throughout the year.

SDCHM-Bridal-Carriage-350x350 gaslamp san diego
SDCHM-Buddha-350x350 gaslamp san diego
SDCHM-laundromat-350x350 gaslamp san diego
SDCHM-Bed-350x350 gaslamp san diego

Fun Facts and Events:

  • Guests can practice Taichi in the Museum Garden every Saturday.
  • If you are interested in learning Mandarin, the Museum also has free Mandarin Meetups every Wednesday.
  • The Kois in the pond in the Garden are over 20 years old.
  • The oldest artifact they have in the Museum is a Buddha head that is over 1500 years old!
  • The Gilt Red-lacquered Alcove Bed is said to be once owned by General Feng Yu-hsiang, a warlord of the early Republic of China. None of the decorations on this bed are glued together, but are all designed in a way that allows it to be broken down into over forty pieces in about thirty minutes.
  • For just $8, you can tour both the San Diego Chinese Historical Museum and the Gaslamp Museum at the Davis-Horton House! Joint Tickets are available for purchase at either location.


Upcoming Exhibitions:

SDCHM-Tom-Hom-Portrait-350x435 gaslamp san diego

Unseen Portrait: The Art of Tom Hom

May 20 – August 20, 2017

Many in San Diego have heard of longtime Chinese American leader and political legend, Tom Hom, but only his family and close friends are aware of his artistic talents. For the first time ever, Tom Hom is going public with his art! This exhibition will highlight Hom’s dedication to documenting the Chinese American experience in artistic form.

Fifty works on display capture over seventy years of artistic creation, including sketches, cartoons, watercolors, and oil paintings. SDCHM is proud to celebrate the achievements of this inspirational community figure for his 90th birthday.

Opening Reception: May 20, 2017 | 2:00 pm -4:00 pm 

Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Extension Building | 328 J Street, San Diego, CA 92101

San-Diego-Chinese-Historical-Museum gaslamp san diego

San Diego Chinese Historical Museum

Location: 404 Third Avenue, San Diego, CA 92101

Website: www.sdchm.org

Phone: (619) 338-9888

San Diego Chinese Historical Museum