The mission of the San Diego Chinese Historical Museum is to collect, preserve and display documents, photographs and artifacts relevant to Chinese and Chinese American history and culture and to provide educational programs to share this rich cultural heritage with our diverse communities. For over fifteen years, the museum has been dedicated to preserving and sharing Chinese and Chinese American history and culture. From humble beginnings, the museum has outgrown its original building, welcomed over 800 current members, and launched successful education and community outreach programs to become a landmark in the downtown community.
The museum captures the essence of San Diego’s Chinese history with scale models of old Chinatown homes and businesses, an exhibit on local Chinese hand laundries, archeological remnants from the sites of old Chinatown buildings, a registry of local Chinese American veterans (which became the basis for a 2010 book), and numerous Chinese art and antiques. A garden with waterfalls, koi pond, and serpentine stone path completed the museum grounds. The historic mission building filled with so many donations that the museum had to expand in 2004. The museum purchased and constructed an exhibit space on the ground floor of a new building at 328 J S to house exhibitions that rotate every few months, including museum collections such as cloisonné and jade, works by masters of Chinese painting, and other displays of rare artifacts on loan to the museum. This space also houses the museum library and a lecture hall complete with modern audio-visual equipment and seating for large groups.