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Rebuilding a Landmark

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Thu, 2013-06-06

By: Noelle Ito, AAPIP Senior Director of Community Philanthropy

After a fire ravaged the Chinese-American Museum of Chicago – Raymond B. & Jean T. Lee Center (CAMOC), the community was left shocked and saddened.  Photos, artifacts, and pieces of history contributed by community members as a way to leave a legacy for future generations were lost.  Having only opened in 2005 and then struck with disaster in 2008, it took nearly two years for CAMOC leadership and the surrounding community to recover from the devastation that claimed 90% of the museum’s collection.

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Rare Venomous Snakes Mark the Chinese New Year at Nature Museum

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Rare Venomous Snakes Mark the Chinese New Year at Nature Museum

February 8, 2013 8:21am | By Paul Biasco, DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

LINCOLN PARK — The Year of the Snake is lurking just days away, and the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum is celebrating by bringing in a special display of venomous snakes, including one of the rarest King Cobras in the world.

"It's not very often through one of the years that you can get live representation," said Soo Lon Moy, board president of the Chinese-American Museum of Chicago. "I think it's really fabulous."

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Museum to celebrate Chinese New Year

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Museum to celebrate Chinese New Year

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Mark your calendars for a big party on New Year\'s Eve as the Chinese New Year is coming up next month.

The most revered holiday in Chinese culture would not be the same without the iconic lion dance. It is believed to bring good luck.

At the Chinese American Museum of Chicago, organizers are planning a performance and a deconstruction of the lion dance. Patrons will get to hear the history as well as the meaning behind the rhythm and moves.

\"At the end, we bow,\" said Master P.C. Leung, who leads the lion dance. \"We bow three times because it symbolizes the heaven, the earth and the people.\"

Twenty-thirteen is the year of the snake. The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum will be on hand to help celebrate. The museums have joined in a year-long partnership to exchange knowledge and culture.

\"We have a number of snakes in our living collection so it\'s very easy for us to develop programming around snakes,\" said Celeste Troon, Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. \"But we don\'t have the wherewithal to talk about the cultural side, the significance of the Chinese New Year.

The Chinese museum\'s mission is to educate the public about Chinese culture. It does so with numerous exhibits and displays.

The collaboration with the nature museum is just one more way to broaden its audience. Museum president Soo Lon Moy says she looks forward to ending the year of the dragon and teaching others the significance of the snake.

\"They usually have different meanings for each animal,\" she said. \"People who are born in those years are supposed to take on the characteristics of that animal. I think snake is loyal and smart and quiet.\"

The Chinese New Year\'s eve festivities will be held on Saturday, February 9. The event is part of a monthly concert series featuring traditional Chinese instruments and traditions.

For more information:

Chinese American Museum of Chicago

Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

Story posted 2013.01.19 at 10:58 PM CST

The Big Draw Chicago 2012 By Chelsea Leu

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The Big Draw Chicago 2012

By Chelsea Leuc -- As rain spat outside, Chinatown residents and other interested Chicagoans gathered in the cozy basement of the Chinese-American Museum for a simple purpose: to draw. As a part of The Big Draw Chicago, a month-long and city-wide festival, visitors were asked to transform their personal impressions of Chinatown into drawings. For most people, Chinatown means food—Crayola drawings popped up depicting a traditional dim sum table setting, a steaming bowl of noodles, and a cup of bubble tea. One monochromatic drawing, a scene from the restaurant Lao Hunan, was hastily rendered in thin brown marker, complete with a large cartoon of Chairman Mao on the wall and a small waiter garbed in a military uniform on the corner of the page. Another was a study in green and black crayon that suggested, more than delineated, the interior of a dim sum restaurant with light, shaky lines. The museum collected the finished drawings of those willing to donate their artwork, which are to be presented at the Museum’s fundraising gala in early November. The gala’s theme is “Beyond the Centennial,” in reference to the 100-year anniversary that the neighborhood is celebrating throughout this year. The idea behind The Big Draw was conceived twelve years ago in the United Kingdom, and has since migrated to cities like New York and Los Angeles. This year, for the first time, it reached Chicago. The Big Draw and its parent organization, the Campaign for Drawing, has a clear and humble purpose: to encourage people to draw by creating supportive, lively environments where the only requirement is enthusiasm. Anita Luk, executive director of the Chinese-American Museum, told me that she first heard about The Big Draw when a UIC student named Sandy recommended that she submit the Museum for consideration as a venue. It immediately made perfect sense. “It was like killing two birds with one stone,” Luk said—with this event, Chinatown residents and others could engage in a positive, community-building gathering, and the Museum could attract more Chicagoans to Chinatown in honor of its centennial. Young couples and small groups trickled in throughout the afternoon. Luk said, with a tinge of regret, that they had initially hoped to hold the event outside, in the Museum’s parking lot, but the weather hadn’t permitted. Instead, the event was tucked away inside the Museum’s basement—an intimate space lit with warm recessed lights that was welcoming after the narrow stairs we took to reach it. This room contained tables covered in bright red and green tablecloths, bearing sheets of printer paper and buckets of crayons. Ensconced in this inviting space, safe from the pouring rain, we drew.

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