Academic, Event

Young Historians, Living Histories Project

AALEAD Students at the RACE Exhibition, National Museum of Natural History.

The Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center is launching the Young Historians, Living Histories Project to engage underserved young people in Asian Pacific American communities to explore, contextualize, and deepen their understanding of their own history and their community.  During a one-week workshop, participants will learn about the Asian Pacific American experience through the exhibition I Want the Wide American Earth as well as other related resources.  Participants will also learn the basics of storytelling, conducting research and oral history, and using technology such as filmmaking and editing, to produce short videos that will be shown on the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center’s website.

Participating Museums and Organizations

  • Wing Luke Museum of the Asian American Experience (Seattle, WA)
  • Institute of Texan Cultures (San Antonio, TX)
  • Western Reserve Historical Society (Cleveland, OH)
  • The Sonoma County Museum (Santa Rosa, CA)
  • Pacific Aviation Museum (Honolulu, HI)
  • Greensboro Historical Museum (Greensboro, NC)
  • Riverside Metropolitan Museum (Riverside, CA)
  • Littleton Museum (Littleton, CO)
  • Historic Arkansas Museum (Little Rock, AR)
  • Oklahoma History Center ( Oklahoma City, OK)
  • Asian American LEAD Program (Washington, DC)

Partner Organizations

Smithsonian Affiliations (SA)

The Smithsonian’s unparalleled collections, scholarship, and exhibitions document the world in all of its beauty, diversity, and complexity. The mission of Smithsonian Affiliations is to share these resources with Americans in their own communities by developing collaborative partnerships with museums, cultural and educational organizations.  The Smithsonian Affiliations brings the Smithsonian, in all of its breadth and scope, to local communities and create lasting experiences that broaden perspectives on science, history, world cultures and the arts.

Center for Asian American Media (CAAM)

The Center for Asian American Media (CAAM) is a non-profit organization dedicated to presenting stories that convey the richness and diversity of Asian American experiences to the broadest audience possible.  CAAM funds, produces, distributes and exhibits works in film, television and digital media.

Project Funding

Funding is provided by the Smithsonian Youth Access Grant administered by The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Education and Access.

Event, Food

Gourmet Intersections: Asian-Latino Food Crossings

Wednesday, July 24, 2013
7:00 p.m. — 8:30 p.m.

Rasmuson Theater
National Museum of the
American Indian

4th and Independence Ave, SW
Washington, DC 20560
Google Map

Closest Metro: L’Enfant Plaza
and Federal Center

Free and open to the public
Eventbrite ticket required

Update 07/12/13:

This event has sold out of free tickets, but it will be webcasted live on our Ustream page from 7-8pm (Eastern Time). The video footage will  be archived and posted on our Ustream page a few days after the event.

“Asian-Latino Fusion” has been a popular restaurant industry concept for over two decades. But Asian and Latino food cultures have a much longer and richer history of intersection, stretching from the farm to the home table, from the mercado to the food truck. “Gourmet Intersections” considers Asian-Latino foodways through a broad lens, tracing connections across a range of histories, geographies, and cultures.

The Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center and the Smithsonian Latino Center will be hosting a lively discussion about the changing shape of shared food traditions, touching on the restaurant industry, the space of the home, and the migration and evolution of sushi from Japan across the Americas.



Click here to read full bios of the panelists.

The discussion is from 7-8pm with a book signing from 8-8:30pm. Books will be available for purchase. The Mitsitam Coffee Bar will be open until 7pm serving refreshments, beer, wine, and light snacks for purchase.

This event is free and open to the public, but seating is limited. We encourage everyone to register on Eventbrite and check-in between 6:00-6:45pm guarantee your seat. Please bring your ticket print-out or download the Eventbrite mobile app.

Thank you to the following individuals, organizations and corporations for their generous support.

The Smithsonian Asian-Latino Project is supported by: The Smithsonian Consortium for Understanding the American Experience and the Latino Initiatives Pool

With additional support from:

  • Robert N. Johnson
  • Southwest Airlines
  • Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center
  • Smithsonian Latino Center
  • Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage
  • National Museum of African American History and Culture
  • Americans All: The Immigration/Migration Initiative at the Smithsonian
Event, Film

Film Screening: Grace Lee Boggs

Activist Grace Lee Boggs, center, at an Asian Political Alliance (APA) Vietnam War protest in April, 1971 at the base of the Washington Monument. Photo courtesy Corky Lee

Sunday, June 23, 2013
2:15 pm

Warner Bros. Theater
National Museum of American History
14th St. & Constitution Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20560
Google Map

Closest Metro: Federal Triangle

Tickets required. Purchase here.

American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs

When Korean American filmmaker Grace Lee set out in search of other Asian American women bearing the same name in THE GRACE LEE PROJECT, little did she know that she would stumble upon a woman so extraordinary as to warrant a film all her own.  Grace Lee Boggs is a 95-year-old Chinese American philosopher, activist and force of nature whose remarkable life and work traversed the major social movements of the last century.

Grace Lee Boggs is also featured in the exhibition I Want the Wide American Earth on banner 21. The exhibition is now on display at the National Museum of American History, third floor.

This film screening is part of AFI Docs (formerly Silverdocs). Click here for more information about the film festival.

Click here to view the trailer.

Chinese American, Event, Performance

Hazel Ying Lee: Fighting for Gender Equality

Hazel Ying Lee

Although she lived during an era when the world told her that as a Chinese American female, the best she might hope for was a job as an elevator operator at a local department store, Hazel Ying Lee (1912–1944) had higher aspirations. Born in Portland, Oregon, she took her first airplane ride at age 20 and resolved to learn to fly. She joined a flying club and took lessons, earning her pilot’s license in 1932–becoming one of the first Chinese American women to enter the profession–in which more than 99% of aviators were male.

After Japan invaded China in 1931, Hazel offered her services to the Chinese government, but the authorities rejected the notion of a female aviator. For a time, she worked for a commercial airline, eventually returning to the U.S., where she set about acquiring war material for China. After Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, a shortage of qualified pilots led to the creation of the Women Airforce Service Pilots or “WASPs,” in 1943. WASPs flew military aircraft from factories to ports of embarkation and military training bases and transported cargo, freeing male pilots for combat. Hazel lost no time in applying, and when she was accepted into the fourth class (43-W-4), she became the first Chinese American woman to fly for the United States military.

Hazel flew the PT-19, BT-13, C-47, and P-63. The work was taxing and often quite dangerous, but she was described as “calm and fearless,” even in the face of several brushes with disaster. During a November 1944 mission to deliver a new P-63 aircraft to Great Falls, Montana, in bad weather, Hazel’s plane collided with another aircraft and crashed on the runway. She survived the accident, but later died of her injuries – the last of 38 WASP heroines to give her life in the service of her country. A pioneer in her field, Hazel Ying Lee proved that neither race nor gender need be a hindrance to realizing one’s dreams.

Click to enlarge

To find out more about Hazel Ying Lee, come to the National Museum of American History on Thursday, June 6 for an original performance by the National Constitution Center about the real–life experiences of a diverse group of seven Americans who bravely fought for equality, freedom, and justice overseas and at home during World War II. Click here to learn more about “Fighting for Democracy: Who is the “We” in “We the People”?”

Event, Literary

Book Reading with Ru Freeman

Ru Freeman and her new book On Sal Mal Lane. Photo by Peter Hurley.

Monday, May 20, 2013

1 — 2 p.m.

Smithsonian Latino Center
Conference Room, Suite 7042
Capital Gallery, 7th Floor

600 Maryland Ave SW
Washington, DC 20024
Google Map

Metro: L’Enfant Plaza

Free and open to the public.

Ru Freeman’s new novel On Sal Mal Lane is a tour de force imagining of a quiet street in Sri Lanka just before the start of the country’s tumultuous civil war. Named “Best New Book of the Week” by Publisher’s Weekly, called “stupendous” by Smithsonian’s own BookDragon reviewer Terry Hong, the novel is a crucially important contribution to our understanding of the war and the human lives within it. Come hear Ru Freeman read from her novel for a Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center special Asian Pacific American Heritage Month seminar.

Event, Performance

Event: Live Performance – Fighting for Democracy: Who is the “We” in “We the People”

Click to download the PDF flyer.

Thursday, June 6, 2013
Performance Times:
11:00 am
2:00 pm
4:00 pm
6:30 pm

Warner Bros. Theater
National Museum of American History
14th St. & Constitution Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20560
Google Map

Closest Metro: Federal Triangle

Free and open to the public.
No tickets or reservations required.

America is a story that is being written everyday in the lives of its people. What is the story? And what do we learn from it?

In conjunction with the exhibition, I Want the Wide American Earth: An Asian Pacific American Story, currently on view at the National Museum of American History, the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center presents “Fighting for Democracy: Who is  the ‘We in ‘We the People’?” This compelling stage performance created by the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia and produced collaboratively with Philadelphia’s premier theater artists, explores the themes of civil rights and democracy through the perspectives of seven diverse individuals whose lives and communities were forever changed by World War II. Fighting for Democracy reveals how World War II was a pivotal time in developing a broader understanding of our nation and its people.

Each 35-minute performance will include a post-show discussion with the audience and artists.

Meet the seven stories. Click to enlarge image.

People portrayed in the performance:


The Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center presents Fighting for Democracy, an original performance by the National Constitution Center in partnership with the National Center for the Preservation of Democracy, an educational program of the Japanese American National Museum funded in part by the U.S. Army Center of Military History.

The National Constitution Center in Philadelphia is a hands-on museum, national town hall, and civic education headquarters celebrating the United States Constitution and the story of “We the People.” Learn more at

Lead Sponsor:

Partnering Sponsors:

GW Law’s Asian American Law Alumni Association (AALAA) is proud to support the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center.

Underwriting/Sponsorship Opportunities:
Starting at $250. For sponsorship information, please contact Amy “Emiko” J. Hever at (202) 633-2812 or

Video: Fighting for Democracy exhibition trailer. This performance was inspired by this exhibition.

Photos in the flyer courtesy of Library of  Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, U.S. Army Center of Military History, U.S. Army Signal Corps, U.S. Air Force, the national Center for the Preservation of Democracy and the Japanese American National Museum, Collection of Domingo Los Baños, the Frances Slanger Collection in The Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center at Boston University, Mary S. Tominaga, Japanese American National Museum, The Woman’s Collection, Texas Woman’s, Dr. Héctor P. García Papers, Special Collections & Archives, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi Bell Library, ASSOCIATED PRESS, Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images

Event, Social

Google+ Hangout for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

3:00 p.m. — 3:45 p.m.

What happens when you bring together Lisa Ling, Angry Asian Man, the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center? A seriously amazing conversation about Asian Pacific American Heritage Month! We’re going to chat about the significance of APA Heritage Month and this year’s theme, I Want the Wide American Earth, and we’ll take questions from you – our supporters and fans.

Send us questions by including #may1apa in your tweet or by emailing us at Join us on May 1 from 3:00pm – 3:45pm (EDT) for the Smithsonian’s first Google+ Hangout.

The video link will go live at the start time. You can watch via YouTube as these panelists participate in the Hangout. The video will be archived on YouTube following the Hangout.

Panelists include:

  • Konrad Ng, Director of the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center.
  • Kiran Ahuja, Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (WHIAAPI).
  • Phil Yu, the blogger behind Angry Asian Man.
    Lisa Ling, journalist, writer, and host of “Our America with Lisa Ling” on OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network.

Gautam Raghavan, Associate Director of Public Engagement at the White House.

This Google+ Hangout is a partnership between the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center and the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

You may be wondering: What is a Google+ Hangout?
Google+ Hangout is a free video chat service from Google that enables both one-on-one chats and group chats with up to ten people at a time.