Portrait of a woman, Socorro, New Mexico
In the nearly 50 years since the Maxwell Museum of Anthropology has been in its present location, the Museum has hosted approximately 150 temporary exhibitions. In recognition of Asian American and Pacific Islanders Month, this month we feature Maxwell Museum exhibitions that looked at AAPI communities and contributions to the New Mexico and the world.
Chinese immigrants first came to New Mexico in in large numbers in the 1800s looking for jobs, particularly building railroads and mining. Because of harsh laws, including the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, and other discrimination, the “first wave” of immigrants were unable to create lasting communities in New Mexico. In the early 1900s, a small but permanent Chinese-American community took root in New Mexico, which later came to include refugees from the Communist takeover of mainland China, along with immigrants from Taiwan. New Mexico’s Chinese Americans are proud to be U.S. citizens, but also remember their ancient heritage.
The exhibition, Chinese Americans in New Mexico was on view in the museum from February 2016 – January 2017, and recounted the story of Chinese immigrants and Chinese American communities in New Mexico through photographs, documents and family heirlooms.
To see a brief video encapsulation of the exhibit and tour through this little known history of New Mexico, visit COMMUNITIES IN CONTEXT: CHINESE AMERICANS OF NEW MEXICO