Take the Museum Back to School

Yes, it’s September already. Long, lazy, unstructured days are about to become regimented schooldays full of homework, standardized tests, and organized after school activities. Sure, teachers do everything they can to make learning exciting and productive, but there is only so much they can do with the curriculum and resources they are given…

Do not despair! The San Diego Chinese Historical Museum is ready and willing to come into classrooms and welcome students into its galleries to brighten up schooldays with authentic ethnic flair. About 3,000 students experience Classroom Exhibit Programs or visit the museum in person each year.

"But my kids go to great schools with awesome teachers," you say? "Why should I talk to these educational rock stars about museum education programs?" you wonder. Well, here are a few things we offer to complement your kids’ education:

New Faces

Even when students love their teachers, new voices and teaching styles can help to recapture their attention. They also appreciate it when someone working in the “real world” takes time out of his or her day to come talk to them. Even Confucius himself said, “When friends come from afar, isn't it a joy?”


Kids love Halloween, and not just because of candy. They just enjoy the fun of acting like someone or something else. SDCHM lessons use kids’ natural inclination towards theatricality to put them in the shoes of important historical figures. Instead of just learning names, dates, and deeds, they get a feel for the motivations and experiences of real people.

Hands-on Activities

Any parent knows that kids love to touch things, get their hands dirty, and then touch even more things. Paint, scissors, magnets, and glue all play various roles in our education programs. Even big kids enjoy using these traditional supplies for more advanced projects like making “wood” blocks to print Chinese characters. Our museum tour includes several things we want them to touch to give kids a tactile learning experience. 

Arts and Creativity

It’s unfortunate that there is no standardized test for art or federal benchmark for creativity, so these skills tend to be de-emphasized and under-funded in today’s schools. But the museum has discovered how to smuggle some creativity into the curriculum through having students recreate ancient Chinese inventions, try their hands at Chinese calligraphy, or plan their own voyages of exploration.  


American history and Western Civilization are important topics, but a Eurocentric education cannot prepare our children for a globalized world. SDCHM takes a global approach to history, reveals the troublesome history of Asian immigration to the U.S., and shares the contribution Asian Pacific Islanders have made to the San Diego community since its earliest days. We also teach about pan-Asian cultural traditions like the Lunar New Year and the Moon Festival.

Local Community

The San Diego Chinese Historical Museum is a local nonprofit dedicated to collecting, preserving, and sharing artifacts relevant to Chinese American and Chinese culture and history. Booking an education program not only enriches your children’s education, it also supports a cornerstone of the local Asian American community.

Learn more about SDCHM’s education programs here: http://www.sdchm.org/education/school-programs/


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