Chinese American: Exclusion/Inclusion

September 26, 2014
April 19, 2015

Watch videos, see objects and artwork, and explore the stories of Chinese Americans on our exhibition website. 

Chinese American: Exclusion/Inclusion explores the centuries-long history of trade and immigration between China and the United States—a history that involved New York from its very beginnings—and will raise the question “What does it mean to be an American?” The exhibit narrative extends from the late eighteenth century to the present and includes all regions of the country, thus interpreting the Chinese American saga as a key part of American history.

Within the exhibition, rich in media and artifacts, will be little-known stories, such as the voyage of the Empress of China, which set sail from New York in the late eighteenth century; how young Chinese boys were sent by their government to study at elite New England schools during the nineteenth century; the unprecedented immigration legislation known as the Exclusion Act of 1882, which barred most Chinese from entering the United States; the nineteenth-century newspaper, called Chinese American, and its founder Wong Chin Foo; and the Chinese American activists who used the American justice system to try to overturn the Exclusion Act.


To illustrate this exhibition, we are highlighting the stories of the lives, achievements, culture, and rich diversity of Chinese Americans. We invite you to share your experience with a personal story and photo. Some submissions may be featured in the exhibition and online. To learn more, click here.

The New-York Historical Society recognizes the leadership support of
Oscar Tang and Agnes Hsu-Tang - Tang Family Foundation
for Chinese American: Exclusion/Inclusion.

Generous funding has also been provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities,
the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the Achelis and Bodman Foundations,
and Harold J. and Ruth Newman.

This program is supported, in part, by public funds from
the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

Additional support provided by Lulu C. Wang.

Creative: Tronvig Group