Build the power to educate, inspire, provoke and engage.
The campaign builds on the momentum of the success of raising funds for the restoration of the barracks building at the site. Funds raised will be used to complete the restoration of the Public Health Service Hospital and redesign its space to vividly showcase the experiences of the diverse populations who have immigrated to America. Starting with the Pacific immigrant experience on Angel Island from the past century and continuing into the modern day, exhibits will highlight the political and personal struggles overcome by immigrant groups who have profoundly and positively impacted our nation today.
“Each room will speak to the aspirations and successes that immigrants from diverse cultures have shared to make America great.”
Buck Gee, Chair, Open the Doors campaign
In a series of visioning workshops organized by Daniel Quan and Felicia Lowe in 2000, the mission of the Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation (AIISF) was expanded to include the story of all Pacific Coast immigrants and to use the Angel Island site to explore issues of race, culture, and immigration. The programming for the new Pacific Coast Immigration Center is intended to realize that part of our mission. When completed in 2016, the exhibits in the two-story, 10,000 square foot Hospital will have the power to educate, inspire, and provoke thought.
While the story of Chinese immigrants are perhaps best known at the immigration station, over one million people from over eighty countries were processed through Angel Island before it was closed in 1940. The largest groups included Chinese, Japanese, South Asians, Koreans, Russians, Jews primarily from Russia Mexicans, and Filipinos. More recently, in the past 30 years, over 1 million immigrants arrived from the Philippines, China, India, and Vietnam to ports across the country. The goal of the new center is to represent the stories of all these diverse populations thoughtfully and to make personal stories readily accessible to visitors at both the site and online.
A robust and broad-reaching education and outreach program will include exhibits, performances, cultural and community-building events, resources for ancestry research, and symposia. The historical significance of the site and the comprehensive nature of this new programming will combine to make the hospital and other restored facilities on the site a national center for Pacific Coast immigration. At last, there will be capacity to usher in new thinking that integrates these Pacific Coast immigration stories with those from the rest of the nation.
Of equal importance, and completely integrated with the physical exhibits at the site, funds will be used to build a substantial online presence to reach audiences globally. Unlike exhibits where the online component supports the physical presentation, our digital exhibit will serve as the focal point for the visitor experience.