A Smithsonian and National Park Service affiliate, this 60,000 square foot museum tells the story of Seattle's Chinatown-International District and explores experiences of Asia-Pacific immigrants and refugees in America. It is named after Wing Luke, the first Asian American elected to public office in the Pacific Northwest whose his promising career was tragically cut short in 1965 when a small plane he was riding crashed in the Cascade Mountains. He was only 40 years old. The museum features permanent and changing exhibits and also offers guided neighborhood tours and events. It is the only pan-Asian Pacific American community-based museum in America.
Despite the short tenure of his career, Wing Luke inspired many. In his memory, the community created the Wing Luke Memorial Foundation and eventually built a pan-Asian museum based on his vision. The first version of the museum opened its doors on May 17, 1967 in a humble storefront at 414 8th Ave South in the Chinatown-International District.