Hundreds of Chinatown Museum Archive Boxes Recovered from Mulberry Street Fire Site

Posted on: January 30th, 2020 at 5:04 am by

Photo: Karlin Chan

Recovery efforts began yesterday for the archives of the Museum of Chinese in America many feared destroyed in the five-alarm fire on Mulberry Street last week.

We are told that Department of Citywide Administrative Services contractors rescued approximately one hundred boxes of archival material from 70 Mulberry Street, and that hundreds more remain (in unknown condition).

Photo: Karlin Chan

The museum organized a crowdfunding campaign last weekend to help pay for this recovery effort, and the total collected has soared to nearly $100,000.

The fire last Thursday evening destroyed the roof and upper floors of the historic building, erected as Public School 23 in 1892. It burned hot, and required the efforts of more than two hundred firefighters to extinguish. Nine were injured in the blaze, as well as one civilian evacuated via tower ladder; all with non-life threatening injuries.

The MOCA archives were split between three rooms on the second floor, where the biggest threat was water and smoke damage. It contained 85,000 items ranging from turn-of-the-century Chinatown theater ticket stubs and photo albums to menus documenting Chinatown’s restaurants. About 40,000 pieces of the archives were reportedly digitized.

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