On January 23, 2020 a five-alarm fire raged through the Museum of Chinese in America‘s Collections and Research Center. Only a few months later, the museum shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. After a tough year, MOCA recently received some positive news; the museum was recently awarded a $3 million grant from the Ford Foundation.
The grant is part of a Ford Foundation’s initiative to support Black, Latinx, Asian, and Indigenous art spaces. The “America’s Cultural Treasures” initiative awards 20 national grants to organizations that represent the cultural heritage of marginalized communities and have a proven legacy of sustaining cultural traditions and training future artists.
MOCA plans to use its Cultural Treasures grant to help in its COVID-19 recovery and stabilize general operations. The total amount of the grant represents more than a the museum’s entire yearly operating budget. In a press release, Nancy Yao Maasbach, President of the Museum of Chinese in America, described the critical work the grant will allow the museum to do.
“Ford’s leadership gift is not just a much-needed funding allocation, it is the gift of a new arts and cultural paradigm in America—one that looks at untold stories, forgotten histories, remarkable contributions, missed celebrations. At a time of public health crises, political volatility, and economic uncertainty that have contributed to anti-Asian racism, there is an urgent need for MOCA’s work now more than ever,” Yao Maasbach said.
MOCA also recently brought its archive containing more than 85,000 objects back after the January fire. After months of restoration, the objects will be moved to a new storage space on Howard Street one block away from MOCA.