For Immediate Release
Friends of the National Asian Pacific American Museum Lauds Appointments to Commission to Support the Creation of a Landmark Museum on the National Mall
January 1, 2023

The Friends of the National Asian Pacific American Museum congratulates Dr. Jay Jie Xu, San Francisco, California, and Mr. Dennis Cheng, New York, New York, on their monumental appointments by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to the Commission to Study the Potential Creation of a National Museum of Asian Pacific American History and Culture, as required by H.R. 3525 (P.L. 117-140).

Enacted on June 13, 2022, P.L. 117-140 established a Commission to, among other objectives, prepare recommendations for a plan of action for the establishment and maintenance of a National Museum of Asian Pacific American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., along with a fundraising plan to support the establishment and maintenance of the museum through public contributions.

Handel Lee and Debbie Shon, Co-founders of the Friends of the National Asian Pacific American Museum, congratulate Dr. Xu and Mr. Cheng on their appointments: “The process of congressional authorization of a national Asian Pacific American museum is challenging and complex, and consideration of museum management, curatorial programming, collecting, exhibition design, and of course, fundraising will be of primary concern. As such, Dr. Xu and Mr. Cheng are eminently qualified to be leaders in the commission. As we continue to garner support for the establishment of a national museum dedicated to Asian and Pacific American histories and contributions as essential to American history and culture, we are appreciative of the leadership and responsibility to our shared commitments that they will bring to the Commission and the efforts to establish the National Museum of Asian Pacific American History and Culture.”

As the first Chinese American director at a major U.S. art museum and first Asian American museum director elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Dr. Xu has been CEO and Executive Director of the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco since 2008 and has served in a variety of capacities over a period of thirty years as a research scholar, curator, and museum director. He earned his MA and Ph.D. in early Chinese art and archaeology at Princeton University and had previously worked in administrative and curatorial positions at the Shanghai Museum, China; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Seattle Art Museum; and the Art Institute of Chicago.

Mr. Cheng currently serves on the Board of Trustees at the American LGBTQ+ Museum, the first history and culture museum focused on queer identities in New York. He has held leadership roles in politics, government, philanthropy, and business, including Senior Advisor for External Outreach for the Biden-Harris campaign in 2020.

In 2016, he also served as National Finance Director of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, where he built and directed a fundraising operation that raised nearly $1 billion. Prior to the 2016 campaign, he was Chief Development Officer of the Clinton Foundation, where he launched and led a $250 million endowment drive to secure the foundation’s future.

The Friends of the National Asian Pacific American Museum looks forward to working closely with Dr. Xu and Mr. Cheng to champion their work guided by a vision of creating a permanent Asian Pacific American museum, worthy of the Smithsonian Institution, with world-class exhibits, immersive programming, and innovative and engaging digital experiences that reach every person, home, school, and community in the world.


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