photo credit: Margaret Su

photo credit: Margaret Su

The Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience, in Seattle’s Chinatown-International District, is developing a year-round cultural model for sustainable neighborhood revitalization, using arts and culture as a way to attract people to the neighborhood. In one of Seattle’s poorest areas, it is working to be an economic driver for district businesses and build positive associations with the neighborhood through a combination of tested and experimental programming.

Hand-cranked noodles, a symbol of longevity in Chinese culture, and the primary product of the Tsue Chong Co., the Wing Luke Museum’s neighbor across 8th Avenue. The largest manufacturing facility in the Chinatown-International District, Tsue Chong Co. collaborated with The Wing in developing their latest exhibition From Fields to Family, the story of Asian Pacific Americans and food. Wing videographers had to photograph the production facilities running in the middle of the night to avoid interrupting business.

Four generations of the Louie family started the business in 1917 with a hand-operated rolling machine, and continue today, providing 40 jobs now operating modern equipment but still in the heart of the city. The Tsue Chong Co. welcomes The Wing’s neighborhood tour visits into the facility, sharing the process of 19 kinds of noodles and their secondary product fortune cookies, all manufactured on-site.

Pleased for their family’s story and business to be portrayed and shared with the public in a museum setting, the Louies had a chance at the exhibition opening to educate a city councilmember on the challenges of manufacturing in a city location. The councilmember thanked them for providing jobs and keeping them in the city. He took a personal tour of the factory, which he hadn’t known about until the tour. This member also chairs the council’s transportation committee, which is examining the impacts of a planned streetcar maintenance line running down 8th Ave., affecting the delivery zones of our two active businesses.

A museum and a factory, unlikely partners, and a long-time relationship worth building.

 

photo credit: Margaret Su

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