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Asian Art Museum Oral History Project
About the Project
Interview Transcripts
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Photo of Asian Art Musesum of San Francisco

In 2012 and 2013 the Regional Oral History Office (ROHO) of the Bancroft Library at the University of California Berkeley conducted a new series of interviews on the history of the Asian Art Museum (AAM)—the Chong-Moon Lee Center for Asian Art and Culture. The AAM is the largest single museum devoted to Asian art in the United States and it holds one of the most significant collections of its kind in the world. Opened to the public in 1966, the origins of the AAM can be traced at least to the 1930s when Chicago real estate developer Avery Brundage began collecting rare works of Asian art and when the Golden Gate International Exhibition on Treasure Island displayed an important collection of Asian art. Since 1958 when the Brundage Collection was first promised to San Francisco through 1969 when the Asian Art Commission and the Asian Art Museum Foundation were established to 2003 when the AAM moved to San Francisco’s Civic Center, the museum has transformed from a fledgling collection into a world-class museum. This oral history project documents that transformation.


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