by Michael Hsu, 01/29/2013 [Updated 12/21/2015]
Courtesy, Maya Lin Studio/MoCA
Museum of Chinese in America
215 Centre St., 212-619-4785
Since reopening in 2009 in a converted industrial space designed by Maya Lin, this museum of the Chinese-American experience, founded in 1980, has become Chinatown's most refined tourist attraction. The permanent exhibition space is devoted to telling the turbulent and relatively short history of the Chinese in this country, from the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 to the influence of Bruce Lee right up to today. The exhibitions are slick (floating projections and beautiful photographs abound) and interactive (sit in a worn wooden chair to hear the questions Chinese immigrants were subjected to upon arrival to this country). On the first Thursday of each month, the museum stays open till 9pm and admission is free.