East Meets West: Interpreting Chinese Historic Architecture In American Museums
Traditional Chinese architecture was introduced to the United States through the flourishing trade with the Far East from the late eighteenth century. However, systematic interpretation of Chinese architecture exhibits in American museums didn't begin until the 1940s. This thesis documents the efforts of two museums to interpret historic Chinese architecture in the United States: the Peabody Essex Museum, where the Yin Yu Tang House, a Huizhou-style vernacular house, is preserved; the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, whose Astor Court is a recreation of a Ming Dynasty-style, Chinese-garden courtyard. The thesis aims to understand how the museums interpret the content, history, and physical appearance of these exhibits to their visitors through on-site interpretation, gallery display and outreach programs. Some feasible ways to improve the interpretations and outreach programs of the two Chinese architecture exhibits are also addressed after reexamining the current limitations.
museum interpretation; Chinese historic architecture; historic preservation planning
Tomlan, Michael Andrew
Campanella, Thomas J.
Historic Preservation Planning
M.A., Historic Preservation Planning
Master of Arts
dissertation or thesis