Jan 16, 2023
Journeys 旅途: Boys of the Chinese Educational Mission is on view at the Connecticut Historical Society (CHS) through July 2023. This exhibition honors the 150th anniversary of the Chinese Educational Mission (CEM), a cultural and educational exchange program from 1872 – 1881. Headquartered in Hartford, the CEM enabled 120 Chinese boys, most of whom were barely teenagers, to study in New England with the goal of modernizing China by educating its future leaders abroad. It is a story of hopes, dreams, sacrifice, and the life-changing experience of international exchange.
In this episode of Grating the Nutmeg, Museum Educator Natalie Belanger talks to Karen Li Miller and Henry Qu about their work on Journeys. The CEM collection at the CHS was a well-known resource, but contained Chinese-language materials that had never been translated....until Henry Qu, himself an international student, made an unexpected stop at CHS on his way from New Jersey to Massachusetts. Three years later, Henry's detour resulted in a fresh telling of the Mission's story, using the boys' newly-translated first-person accounts of their experience in Connecticut. What was it like to be uprooted as a teenager to live in a place that your language didn't even have a word for? What did these teens in the 1870s have in common with teenagers today? And what motivated Henry Qu to make that serendipitous stop at CHS? Listen to find out!
The Exhibition Journeys: Boys of the Chinese Educational Mission will be on view at the Connecticut Historical Society through July, or you can take a 3D tour online at chs.org. Keep an eye on upcoming programming related to this topic at the CHS in spring of 2023!
Read more about the CEM in Connecticut Explored magazine here:
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This episode of Grating the Nutmeg was produced by Natalie Belanger, Museum Educator at the Connecticut Historical Society and engineered by Patrick O’Sullivan of High Wattage Media at https://www.highwattagemedia.com/
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