Museum of Chinese in America starts fund-raising after loss of its archive in a fire

A police officer patrols the scene outside a building that housed the archive of the Museum of Chinese in America, destroyed by fire in New York's Chinatown AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews

Devastated by the loss of its archive in a fire, New Yorks Museum of Chinese in America has begun raising funds for a recovery effort. As of this afternoon it had raised over $62,000 at the charity site GoFundMe.

The fire tore through a building on Mulberry Street in the citys Chinatown neighbourhood Thursday night, likely destroying the 85,000 items stored there, museum officials say. The citys Buildings Department has deemed the structure too unsafe to enter for several weeks, thwarting hopes of retrieving water-soaked objects or sizing up the extent of the damage. The building also housed a dance centre, a senior centre and community groups.

Nine firefighters were injured while battling the five-alarm blaze. A man who was found on the fifth floor of the building also suffered smoke inhalation before being rescued, the New York Fire Department said.

The museum itself, which is located nearby on Centre Street in a building designed by Maya Lin, now faces the prospect of being left solely with what is on display there.

Among the items housed in the five-storey Mulberry Street archive building, a former school that is treasured by the Chinatown community, were antique wedding dresses, restaurant menus from the neighbourhood dating from the early 1900s, identification papers, letters written home to China by young male immigrants, and documents related to the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, which placed strict limits on immigration from China.

“It is the only—the single most important—repository of New Yorks Chinese community,” Nancy Yao Maasbach, the president of the museum, told The New York Times.

Founded in 1980, the Museum of Chinese in America is devoted to preserving the history, culture and experiences of peopRead More – Source