While SDCHM has a vast assortment of items in its archives, it does not rest on permanent displays alone. Instead, the exhibits showcase experiences or elements of Chinese American life in a more fluid way. Look for these vignettes during your visit:
Calligraphy and Painting
The ancient art of Chinese character writing and painting is explored through examples of this medium. Look at the scrolls to see how styles have changed while the materials stay the same.
Marvel at the dioramas of a Chinese fishing village, old homes, and businesses based in San Diego’s Chinatown. These detailed scale models are fascinating, intricate, and accurate in their interpretations.
Exploring the Diaspora
Documents and photographs tell the story of Chinese Americans who assimilated into their communities yet retained their culture and customs. Some of these examples include the acceptance of Chinese restaurants and laundry services as industries where immigrants thrived.
Walking Virtual Tour
The SDCHM hosts regular walking tours of the Asian Pacific Historic District. You may access a virtual walking tour.
The assortment of artifacts, heirlooms, and objects of historical significance that have been donated to the museum are rotated frequently. Some are from the old country, such as figurines and vases, bound-feet slippers, jade, cloisonne, and a fully restored rickshaw, to items from life in San Diego’s Chinatown, including laundry tools, opium pipes, and busts of honored community members.
Photos of Old San Diego
This display brings together photographs of Chinese immigrant contributions to the growth and development of the city. These images highlight everyday life in Chinatown, immigrants working on the Pacific Railroad, and old fishing junks in the harbor.
True Colors: Student Art Showcase
This exhibit allows students of traditional Chinese art forms to display their work. Some of art may be the result of lectures and programs offered by the San Diego Chinese Historical Museum.
Venture outside to the traditional garden to walk among the sculptures, observe the monument to the Chinese fishermen of La Playa, and enjoy the koi pond and waterfalls.