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Museums of Chicago Tour
Item 21 of 37

The Heritage Museum of Asian Art opened in 2014 in Chicago’s Chinatown. Local bookstore owner and third-generation resident of Chinatown, Jeffrey Moy, was motivated to start the museum as a way to expose people to Asia’s ancient history. The exhibits cover most Asian cultures, with artifacts such as jade sculpture, bronze vessels, ornately embroidered robes, folk pottery, and household décor. The mission of the museum is “to preserve and promote the tradition of Asian art for the enrichment of present and future generations.” The museum reopened in much larger facility on 26th Street in 2017.


The Heritage Museum of Asian Art opened in June 2014 on 23rd Street in Chicago’s Chinatown. It was founded by Jeffrey Moy, a successful bookseller and publisher, as well as the grandson of one of the earliest community leaders in the community. Moy’s motivation behind opening the museum was to provide locals and visitors a chance to delve deeper into the ancient history of Chinatown’s residents: "People come to eat and do a little shopping, but there's nothing for them to see relating to Asian culture,” he is quoted as saying. [1]

The focus of the Heritage Museum of Asian Art is broad, covering not just historical Chinese art, but also pieces from Japan, India, and Southeast Asia. [2] The galleries contain artifacts dating from Neolithic pottery to modern painting. A large 18th century alcove bed on display is one of only about six in existence. [1] Artifacts made of precious jade, ceramic, porcelain, paper, and textiles fill the galleries. Past exhibition topics have included Asian mythology, ritual bronzes, empire maps, poetry, and religious icons. The museum also contains a research library with over 10,000 books, a media center, and a gift shop. [3] The museum’s website regularly hosts online exhibitions, with photos and informative resources on a variety of artifacts.

In June 2017, the Heritage Museum of Asian Art reopened in an expanded and renovated facility at 218 West 26th Street. [3] In late 2019, the museum announced that it was facing a deficit in operational funding and may have to close. [4] The museum started a GoFundMe account and waived its admission fee in the hopes of attracting more visitors who may donate.

1.      Cora, Casey. “Heritage Museum of Asian Art Debuts in Chinatown.” DNAinfo News. July 11, 2014. Accessed January 6, 2020. https://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20140711/chinatown/heritage-museum-of-asian-art-debuts-chinatown.

2.      “About.” Heritage Museum of Asian Art Official Website. Accessed January 6, 2020. https://heritageasianart.org/about.html.

3.      DNAinfo Staff. “Heritage Museum Of Asian Art Reopens June 17 In Larger Building.” DNAinfo News. June 2, 2017. Accessed January 6, 2020. https://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20170602/chinatown/heritage-museum-of-asian-art-reopening-jeffrey-moy.

4.      “Chicago Asian Museum In Danger of Closing”. NBC 5 Chicago. November 12, 2019. Accessed January 6, 2020. https://www.nbcchicago.com/local/chicago-asian-museum-in-danger-of-closing/2105744/.

Image Sources(Click to expand)

Heritage Museum of Art: https://www.facebook.com/Heritage-Museum-of-Asian-Art-792910984061402/

Heritage Museum of Art: https://www.facebook.com/Heritage-Museum-of-Asian-Art-792910984061402/

Heritage Museum of Art: https://www.facebook.com/Heritage-Museum-of-Asian-Art-792910984061402/

Heritage Museum of Art: https://www.facebook.com/Heritage-Museum-of-Asian-Art-792910984061402/

Heritage Museum of Asian Art: https://heritageasianart.org/index.html

Heritage Museum of Asian Art: https://heritageasianart.org/index.html

Heritage Museum of Asian Art: https://heritageasianart.org/index.html