HOUSTON – On January 19, 2023, Houston Public Library (HPL) celebrated the Grand Opening of “Our Vibrant AAPI Community: Selections from the Houston Asian American Archive,” an exhibition created in partnership with Rice University’s Houston Asian American Archive (HAAA) and Woodson Research Center. The exhibit includes a collection of oral histories and related items ranging from art in various mediums, photographs and memorabilia that tell the story of the Asian American experience in Houston. The exhibit is on display in HPL’s Julia Ideson Gallery until June 3, 2023.

The Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community in Houston is woven into the cultural tapestry of the metropolis. Asian Americans first settled in the Bayou City and its region in the early twentieth century, and the community grew substantially after the relaxation of immigration laws in 1965. The archival materials displayed in this exhibit represent a sampling of the richness of AAPI experiences, offering a panoramic view of Houston’s AAPI world. Speakers at the event were HPL Director Dr. Rhea Brown Lawson, Rice University President Reginald DesRoches, Rice University Professor and HAAA Program Manager Dr. Anne Chao, and HPL Curator Christina Grubitz. Remarks touched on the significance of contributions made by individuals of Asian descent to advance science and medicine, spur economic growth, and elevate the arts.

“We value our longstanding partnership with Rice University, which affords us the opportunity to host this powerful and informative exhibit. The exhibit illuminates for all of us the significant impact that Asian cultures have had in Houston and on our region,” said Lawson. «In the wake of recent tragedies within the AAPI community and the rise in violence and harassment that Asian Americans have experienced in the last three years, it is important more than ever to amplify the contributions of the AAPI community to the general public. At Houston Public Library, we are very proud to do just that.”

Rice University’s HAAA began in 2010 and continues to grow as a repository of materials documenting the lives and contributions of immigrants and their descendants from all corners of Asia: from East, to Southeast, to South Asia. Most of these materials consist of oral interviews. Rice student interns conduct and curate these interviews, which are housed in the Fondren Library’s Woodson Research Center with the hope that the archive, bearing witness to the role played by Asian Americans, will become the basis for the history of Asian Americans in greater Houston.

HPL programming in celebration of this exhibit is planned through April 2023. All events are free and open to the public; registration is encouraged.

Chinese Classical Music Concert │Saturday, February 4, 2023 – 2:00 p.m.
Dance of Asian America │ Thursday, March 23, 2023 – 6:00 p.m.
An Evening of Chinese Poetry │ Thursday, April 6, 2023 – 6:00 p.m.


ABOUT THE HOUSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY The Houston Public Library (HPL) operates 27 Neighborhood Libraries, five Regional Libraries, three History Research Centers, two Express Libraries, the HPL Mobile Express, three TECHLink locations and a satellite location at the Children’s Museum of Houston. Our downtown Houston flagship facility, Central Library, along with the Barbara Bush Literacy Plaza, anchors this constellation of service points. HPL is committed to excellent customer service and equitable access to information and programs in an increasingly digital age. For further information, visit the Houston Public Library at www.houstonlibrary.org, call 832-393-1313, follow us on Twitter or Facebook @houstonlibrary or on Instagram @houstonpubliclibrary.