About Us

Our Approach

Our goal in the creation of this AAPI History Museum is to foster a space where the community can come together and learn about AAPI history, cultures, and impacts on Rhode Island. This space will be the AAPI History Museum & Culture Center (brick & mortar version).

We want to create exhibits that appeal to different learning styles, so that anyone can form a connection with the subject, AAPI History, in front of them. The museum exhibits are created with four main learning styles in mind: visual learning, kinesthetic learning, auditory learning, and classic learning through reading and writing. There are other learning styles, such as
logical/analytical, social/linguistic, solitary, nature, etc., but we generalize our exhibits to encompass the four main categories of learning styles. By opening to a wide audience variety, we are also striving to get more members of the youth community involved through this museum, to convey an understanding of history and an appreciation for museums.

The name of the museum is subject to change, depending on the outreach to people of Pacific Islander descent (an issue asked about in our interest form). Completing the AAPI History Museum is an ongoing process and project that may last for years, but we will have a product to show in the interim.

Source: Museum Audience Report, November 2018: What Audience Finder says about audiences for Museums.

Above is a graphic of much of the knowledge we currently possess regarding most museum statistics. Older learners are well-represented; 41% of museum audiences are over the age of 55, and this same age group is only a third of the nation’s population, according to the study.

We cannot wait until the end product is finished to use it for learning; the mobile museum stands as the source of learning while the brick-and-mortar museum is being built. Thus, we use re-created objects to illustrate historical concepts; artifacts aren’t a concern of ours, though we are open to receiving any to showcase for the museum. 

What's Next

We want to create more exhibits, which are hands-on activities that people can feel and interact with. Music and sounds are some potential tools to use with exhibits and embody the spirit of the history being communicated. Participation among museum-goers is key, as many museums rely heavily on visual learning such as looking and watching. This museum aims to engage audiences with their five senses, and perhaps even their sixth sense: writing! It is also our intention to have every exhibit translated into its respective ethnic language, i.e. Chinese American Journey website will be translated into Chinese, Cambodian American Journey will be translated into Khmer, Vietnamese American Journey into Vietnamese…etc. so we can bridge the gap between the first and second generations, especially when the first generation whose English may not be proficient. Visiting the AAPI History (website, mobile or brick-and-mortar versions) can be something that unifies the family despite their English proficiency.

Advisory Council Board

We have a list of scholars on the Advisory Council Board in which they lend us their expertise. 

Dr. Diego Luis of Tuft University, studies the colonial histories of Latin America and the Pacific World, race-making, and Afro-American diaspora convergences.  He is the author of The First Asians in the Americas: A Transpacific History, Harvard University Press.

Dr. Jason Oliver Chang of University of Connecticut (UConn), is the Associate Professor in Asian American Studies, History and Ethnic Studies and is also the Director for Asian/Asian American Studies Institute in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Dr. Chang teaches courses that bring together the fields of Area Studies, with emphasis on the Pacific and western hemisphere, and Comparative Ethnic Studies that stresses the dependent and continguent nature of race and its intersection with class, gender, and sexuality.  His classes address topics such as global capitalism, transnationalism, diaspora, identity and community formation, indigeneity, inter-racial contact zones, governmentality, and the environment, as well as, the legal, cultural, and political economic foundations of colonism, imperialism, and nationalism in the Americas.

Dr. Elaine Stiles is an Associate Professor of Historic Preservation in the Cummings School of Architecture at Roger Williams University, Rhode Island where she teaches courses in preservation practice and the history of the built environment. Before entering academic, Elaine worked as an architectural historian, historic preservation planner, and preservation advocate, engaging in projects from the rural reaches of northern Maine to the streets of San Francisco. She is also the Faculty Director of RWU Public Humanities and Arts Collaborative (Co-Lab). 

Dr. Hongyan Yang is an interdisciplinary activist-scholar who enters the built environment in the research, teaching, and empowerment of marginalized communities in the United States. She explores the intersections of race, ethnicity, and space, and asks how Asian immigrants’ identities and culinary practices shaped and were shaped by the spaces they designed and inhabited. Her work is guided not only by historical methods but also by her engagement with local communities through field documentation, oral history and preservation efforts. Dr. Yang is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor of History at Boston College where she is working on her first book Landscapes of Resistance: Chinese Placemaking across the Pacific.

Dr. Sohyun An is a Professor of Social Studies Education at Kennesaw State University. Her research and teaching centers on curriculum, pedagogy, and movement of K-12 Asian American studies and social studies education. Her recent works include Teaching Asian America in Elementary Classroom co-written with Dr. Noreen Naseem Rodríguez and Dr. Esther June Kim; “Our folks Were Badass!” Learning and Dreaming in Basement (Rethinking Schools, 2023); Who’s Behind the Camera? Anticolonial Visualization of “Westward Expansion” (Social Studies and the Young Learner, 2024); Representation of Asian Americans in 50 states US history standards (The Social Studies, 2022)She received many awards including the Distinguished Professor Award from Kennesaw State University,  Distinguished Researcher Award from American Educational Research Association’s Research on the Education of Asian Pacific Americans Special Interest Group, as well as the Outstanding Paper Award from American Educational Research Association’s Social Studies Research Special Interest Group. As a co-founder of Asian American Voices for Education, she works alongside Asian American youth, educators, and community organizers to advance Asian American studies and ethnic studies in Georgia’s K-12 schools. Before becoming a teacher educator and researcher, Sohyun was a middle and high school teacher in South Korea.

Dr. Esther June Kim is an Assistant Professor in Curriculum and Instruction and affiliate faculty for Asian Pacific Islander Studies at William and Mary. Her research focuses on how racial and religious identities (or different origin stories) might shape student understandings and embodiments of citizenship. She also explores how religious and racial narratives are taught (or not) primarily in secondary classrooms with particular attention to Asian American communities. Currently, her work includes collaborations with undergraduate students adapting archival research on Asian American histories to resources for K-12 students and educators. Dr. Kim is a former high school humanities and history teacher who taught in both South Korea and California.

Dr. Noreen Naseem Rodriguez is an assistant professor of elementary education and educational justice. Her research engages critical race frameworks to explore the pedagogical practices of teacher of color and the teaching of so-called difficult histories through children’s literature and primary sources. Her current study is funded by the Spencer Foundation, examines grassroots efforts for Asian American studies teaching and learning in K-12 classrooms in Georgia, Texas and Virginia. She is co-author of “Social Studies for a Better World: An Anti-Oppressive Approach for Elementary Educators” (W W Norton and Co, Inc., 2021) with Katy Swalwell, and co-editor of “Critical Race Theory and Social Studies Futures: From the Nightmare of Racial Realism to Dreaming Out Loud” (Teachers College Press, 2022) with Amanda Vickery. Her newest book is “Teaching Asian America in Elementary Classrooms” (Routledge, 2023) with Sohyun An and Esther Kim. Before becoming a teacher educator, she was a bilingual elementary teacher in Austin, Texas for nine years.

Dr. Noreen Naseem Rodriguez and Dr. Sohyun An’s award winning page on Social Studies here.

Our Priorities: RICCC

Respect: Respect people no matter where they are intellectually, emotionally, financially, and geographically.

Inclusion: We want to include as many people, perspectives, and viewpoints as possible. If you don’t see your viewpoint being represented, please let us know so that we may rectify the oversight.

Compassion: We know that dealing with a subject such as history can bring up sensitive subjects. In some situations, content may even regard incidents of violence. It is important to have compassion in our hearts for those involved in these occurrences. We ask that when you come to this juncture, embrace the opportunity to discuss, not ignore. Take a deep breath and self-reflect before you speak and share your thoughts. Make sure to do so with compassion!

Community: Community is the thread that ties all our humanities together. What we do, what we say, and how we respond impacts how another person feels. We embrace community for all these reasons, and more.

Collaboration: We are always in the hope and spirit of collaboration. There is still much to learn from other people and organizations; we must accept this knowledge with a sense of humility, in cooperating and learning from each other and with each other. We hope that through collaboration, we may produce something much greater than what could be achieved separately, resulting in an exponential return!

We value your thoughts! Provide your feedback through this form. Thank you!

AAPI History Museum Prototype

The prototype is currently on a rotating display throughout different locations in Rhode Island. Please see the schedules and locations below.

The Prototype's Schedules & Locations

1/16/24 to 2/15/24 –  Rochambeau Library on 708 Hope Street, Providence, RI 02906

2/16/24 to 3/10/24 – Cranston Central Public Library on 140 Sockanosset Cross Road Cranston, R.I. 02920.

3/11/24 to 4/7/24 – Two Different locations at Johnson & Wales University (JWU). From 3/11 to 3/21 – It will be displayed at Friedman Center Library, located at 321 Harborside Blvd., Providence, RI. From 3/22 to 4/7 –  It will be displayed at Bridge for Diversity, Equity & Social Justice, located at 259 Pine Street, Providence, RI. (For JWU Community to View only). 

4/8/24 to 4/29/24 – Mt. Pleasant Library on 315 Academy Ave, Providence, RI 02908

5/6/24 – 5/31/24  – John Brown House Museum,  located on 52 Power Street, Providence, RI 02906

6/1/24 – 6/30/24 – Museum of Work & Culture, located at 42 S. Main St., Woonsocket, RI 02893 0289

7/1/24 – 8/3/24 – West Warwick Public Library, located at 1043 Main Street, West Warwick, RI 02893

The images here provide different angles of view of the prototype.

The prototype is funded by a grant from the following organizations.