Symposium VII - From Invisible to Visible: 150 Years Later

May 9 – 11, 2019 THANK YOU - THIS EVENT HAS ENDED

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Symposium VII

From Invisible to Visible: 150 Years Later

May 9 – 11, 2019

Sponsored by the Chinese American Museum Foundation, please join our sister organization, 1882 Foundation, at the 7th Annual 1882 Symposium, an annual gathering of cultural institutions, museums, and federal agencies to connect and strategize on Chinese American history and culture. This is a special year of collaboration, gathering together to commemorate the sesquicentennial of the completion of the first Transcontinental Railroad (TRR) and to set milestones for registering historical places and affecting public education on Chinese American history.

Register for free on our event page here.

Day 1: Thursday, May 9, 2019

9:00am – 2:00pm — Roundtable on History and Places

Location: National Museum of American History, 1st Floor, SC Johnson Center

Part I: Heritage Tours and Pilgrimages

Part II: Listing Summit Tunnel on National Registry of Historic Places, establishing funding for an Interpretive Center

This year’s Symposium builds on our successful tour of the Chinese RR Worker sites in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California, and looks forward to national commemorations of the Chinese American experience this year and beyond. We will explore options to better define, interpret, and preserve the Summit Tunnel area including considerations to listing it in the National Registry of Historic Places, and strategize for securing appropriations for establishing an Interpretive Center there and for APIA sites in general.

3-5pm – Remarks by Rep. Judy Chu

Location:  Members Room, Library of Congress

Welcome by Phoebe Coleman, Library of Congress

Remarks by Congresswoman Judy Chu on APIA Heritage Month

Comments on the TRR and Summit Tunnel by Ted Gong, 1882 Foundation

Please join us at at the Library of Congress as Rep. Judy Chu remarks on the APA Heritage Month and Transcontinental Railroad. Visitors will also have additional opportunities to view commemorative displays from the Library’s holdings about the railroad and its impact on the United States.

Please RSVP separately to 1882symposium@gmail.com.

Day 2: Friday, May 10, 2019

Location: National Museum of American History, 1st Floor, SC Johnson Center

Symposium Sessions and Public Programming: On the day of the 150th anniversary of the TRR completion, and the second day of the Symposium, we will feature our discussion sessions outlined below, as well as the Smithsonian’s public programs and broader TRR-related activities.

10:00 – 11:15am — Building Collaborations through Digital Storytelling – join a conversation in digital collaboration, building on the 50 Objects Partnership with the Tenement Museum and determining our next steps. Join MOCA’s curatorial team as we strategize the cross-institutional collaboration for the upcoming exhibition “Gathering” (Fall 2019), which is collecting histories of cultural institutions that preserve and interpret Chinese American history.

11:30 -12:45pm — Public Education – Top Down and Grass Roots Efforts to Teach Asian American History. Three activist educators from three states gather together to share their efforts to teach Asian American History. We will exchange ideas and compare efforts in Virginia, California, and Oregon, and share best practices and guidance on how to directly influence standards of learning in your state.

2:00 – 3:30pm — Creative Approaches to History and Storytelling – engage with contemporary artists of varied mediums (photography, poetry, and design) discussing how Chinese American History and APIA identity affects their work. We are excited to welcome Utah Poet Laureate Paisley Rekdal, Photographer Philip Cheung, and Kevin Chao and Kenneth Lian of Made with MSG into conversation for this interactive session. Will also include a viewing of Zhi Lin’s video installation “Chinaman’s Chance on Promontory Summit: Golden Spike Celebration.”

Symposium VII and other programs by the 1882 Foundation comes from Chinese American Citizens Alliance, Chinese American Museum Foundation of Washington DC, Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs, and numerous individual donors including Marcia and Frank Mao, Jean and Li Li, and Carolyn and Tony Chan. Our ability to carry out activities relies on numerous collaborations of people and organizations donating valuable time, well-equipped public venues, creative thoughts, and tireless energies to reach common goals in public education.

Day 3: Saturday, May 11, 2019

Teachers' Workshop: 10:00am – 4:00pm

Join the 1882 Foundation and the Smithsonian Institution on May 11 from 10am-4pm at the National Museum of American History for a series of workshops diving into “teaching the tough stuff.” This is day three of our annual 1882 Symposium collaborative gathering, designed to bring together cultural institutions and federal agencies from across the country together to strategize on methods to amplify Chinese American history and culture.

Activities for the day will reflect on the 150th anniversary of the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad (TRR), with particular focus on the contributions of Chinese, Irish and Mormon laborers. Teachers will have opportunities to learn about the history of Chinese laborers and the railroad from educators and researchers from the 1882 Foundation, a civil rights advocacy organization, lesson ideas for classroom discussions by Teaching for Change, and more non-profit leaders in education. Teachers will also engage with Smithsonian educators and curators from the National Museum of American History, the National Postal Museum, Asian Pacific American Center and Center for Learning and Digital Access.

Teachers can also look forward to:

  • Curator-led tours of new exhibitions about the Transcontinental Railroad

  • Experimenting with object-based learning through the National Museum of American History’s docent carts

  • Creating digital lessons through the Learning Lab education portal

  • Strategies for connecting historical content with current topics

  • Opportunities to connect with peers from the DMV region

  • Take-away materials that can be used in the classroom

You are invited to spend the evening with us at the National Postal Museum from 6pm-8pm for Poetry After Hours: Poetry Im/migration, Labor and Trains a special poetry reading and presentation by poets Paisley Rekdal (Utah’s State Poet Laureate), Regie Cabico, and Marilyn Chin. They will share recent work about the transcontinental railroad, its legacy, and connections to Asian American identities. This event is free and refreshments will be provided

Please send any questions about registering for the Teachers’ Workshop to 1882symposium@gmail.com.

Public Programs

May 10, 2019

12:00pm – 1:00pm | 2:00pm – 3:00pm
“Objects-Out-Of-Storage” Presentation
Wallace H. Coulter Plaza, National Museum of American History

The first part of this presentation (12-1pm) explores the history of Chinese food and restaurants in America with objects from museum’s Chinese food and restaurant collection dating from the 19th century to modern day. The second half (2-3pm) will present coins from the National Numismatics Collection related to the TRR.

1:00pm – 2:00pm
Cooking Up History
Wallace H. Coulter Plaza Demonstration Kitchen, National Museum of American History

A public cooking demonstration by Chef Martin Yan on the kinds of foods the Chinese laborers would have eaten while working on the railroad.

4:00pm – 5:30pm
“Red Altar” Performance by Eth-Noh-Tec
Presidential Reception Suite, National Museum of American History

A performance by the San Francisco-based Kinetic Theater troupe, Eth-Noh-Tec, who seeks to build cultural bridges that create compassionate communities through the performance of Asian and Asian American stories.

 

May 11, 2019

9:00am – 10:00am
Morning at the Museum
National Postal Museum

This event provides early admission to the National Postal Museum and facilitated activities for visitors with cognitive and sensory processing disabilities.

10:00am – 4:00pm
Train Day
National Postal Museum

The National Postal Museum presents its annual “Train Day,” with a full day of free family-friendly activities and demonstrations all about trains and the Transcontinental Railroad. Visitors can learn about the history of mail and the railroads from education carts, open May 10-12. For full event information check: https://postalmuseum.si.edu.

6:00pm – 8:00 pm
Poetry After Hours: Poetry Im/migration, Labor and Trains
National Postal Museum

A special poetry reading and presentation by poets Paisley Rekdal (Utah’s State Poet Laureate), Regie Cabico, and Marilyn Chin. They will share recent work about the transcontinental railroad, its legacy, and connections to Asian American identities.

Refreshments will be provided.