MOCA Gives Back To Chinatown And Two Bridges Communities By Providing 'Free Access'

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The Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA), a national cultural institution telling the untold stories in the making of America through the lens of the Chinese immigrant experience, honors and pays respect to its founding community in Manhattan's Chinatown by announcing new community access initiatives for residents, non-profits, community groups, and family associations based in Manhattan's Chinatown and Two Bridges neighborhoods.

MOCA's new initiatives are: 1) a new "Pay What You Wish" admissions policy for residents of Manhattan's Chinatown and Two Bridges neighborhoods; 2) a new Space Grant program in which meeting space in MOCA will be provided complimentary for eligible community non-profit groups based in or serving Manhattan's Chinatown and Two Bridges neighborhoods; and 3) the introduction of Free First Sundays in which museum admission will be free the first Sunday of every month to family association members of the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association of New York (CCBA-NY).

"MOCA began as a community project seeking to preserve the history, stories, and elements of Chinatown that were rapidly disappearing as a way of life. Our institutional roots and history are in Chinatown, and the Museum is a reflection of the tenacity, passion, and beauty of this community," said Nancy Yao Maasbach, President of the Museum of Chinese in America. "These new community initiatives are perfectly timed with MOCA's much-anticipated new exhibit Gathering: Collecting and Documenting Chinese American History which opens this month."

"Due to the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, Chinatowns such as New York's were the only sanctuaries and safe places for the earliest Chinese immigrants to live and work. MOCA is a vital backbone to this community. It is a place where our stories and history can be shared within Chinatown and with the world," said Eric Y. Ng, President of the CCBA-NY.

Founded in 1980 in Manhattan's Chinatown as a grass-roots history research project, MOCA has always recognized that museums at their core are community institutions that serve and engage with the neighborhoods where they reside. As the Museum continues to evolve and fulfill a national need to tell the untold stories, it has been and will remain first and foremost a community-driven organization.

More than 50% of the 75,000 artifacts and items comprising MOCA's Collections have either been donated by residents of New York City's Chinatown or salvaged by MOCA team members from businesses that have closed their doors in recent decades and "bachelor society" apartments.

The newly launched "Pay What You Wish" policy is effective on October 1, 2019 and will continue indefinitely for residents of Manhattan's Chinatown and Two Bridges neighborhoods. Residents of these neighborhoods wishing to be admitted to the Museum on a "pay what you wish" basis should first come to the Visitor Services desk on the day of their visit where a valid ID will be requested. Donations of any amount from pay-as-you-wish visitors will still be welcome. For more information, please email

MOCA's Space Grant program offers up to 20 hours a month of complimentary space at the Museum to eligible community groups, non-profit organizations based in or serving Manhattan's Chinatown and Two Bridges neighborhoods for meetings, leadership training, workshops, and capacity building seminars only. Grantees may use MOCA venues for one hour and for groups of up to 25 people. The awarding of space grants depends on the availability of space on requested days. More information on how eligible organizations can request complimentary meeting space at MOCA will be available at or by emailing

MOCA's Free First Sundays for family member associations that fall under the umbrella of the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association of New York will begin on Sunday, October 6, 2019. Free admission under the Free First Sundays initiative will be given to members of these associations as well as their family members. More information on Free First Sundays will be available at or by emailing

In a broader effort to allow universal access to the Museum's exhibits and programs, MOCA's three new initiatives add to the existing programs under which MOCA provides complimentary admission to the public through: IDNYC members, Cool Culture families, library cardholders using the Culture Pass system, visitors with disabilities and a person accompanying them, and people who visit MOCA on the first Thursday of the month under MOCA's Free First Thursday program generously supported by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the New York City Council and the J.T. Tai & Co. Foundation.

Through these initiatives, nearly 10% of the 50,000 people who visit MOCA annually enjoy complimentary access to the Museum's exhibitions, educational content, collections, and public programs such as MOCA's free monthly Music + Mic Nights featuring emerging performing-arts talent from the local community. Less than 5% of MOCA's total operating budget is covered by Museum admission.

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