About Us

Founded in 1926 by renowned scholars and educators, including Dr. John Dewey, China Institute is the oldest non-profit organization in America solely dedicated to advancing a deeper understanding of China. The Institute is chartered by the Board of Regents of the University of the State of New York as a school of continuing education, and its School of Chinese Studies, founded in 1933, is the oldest educational center of its kind in the United States.

1926

1926
5/25, China Institute is Founded. Trustee P.W. Kuo is elected Director.China Institute installs an exhibition on Chinese education at Sesqui-Centennial International Exposition in Philadelphia, winning grand prize.

1928

China Institute is reorganized as a membership corporation. Chih Meng appointed honorary secretary for reorganization.

1929

China Institute relocates to 119 West 57th Street.

1930

China Institute becomes a membership corporation with Ms. W Murray Crane and C.F Yau as major supporters. Chih Meng becomes Institute’s Associate Director. Paul Monroe is elected President of Institute’s Board of Trustees.

1931

China Institute begins to offer basic courses on China for public school teachers in New York City, and expands its educational programs for Americans. Trustees K.C. Li and Chih Meng raise funds to send speakers across the U.S. in order to publicize Japan’s aggressions in China.

1932

Henry L. Stimson becomes a trustee of the Institute.

1933

China Institute obtains New York City Board of Education approval to offer in-service credit courses for public school teachers. Tsinghua University President Y.C. Mei appoints Chih Meng honorary director of the Chinese Educational Mission in the United States.

1936

At the request of Tsinghua University and the Chinese Ministry of Education Chih Meng travels extensively in China, interviewing 2,400 graduates of American colleges and universities in order to evaluate effectiveness of American-trained Chinese students in serving China’s needs upon their return. Meng produces the documentary film “Glimpses of Modern China,” which details this process.

1937

China Institute administers China Foundation emergency relief funds to Chinese students stranded in the United States by Sino-Japanese War.

1938

Through Eleanor Roosevelt and Lauchlin Currie, Chih Meng obtains scholarship-in-aid for Chinese students in America from U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Intercultural Relations.

1939

China Institute recruits Chinese student volunteers to train as mechanics for maintenance of the Burma Road and of vehicles carrying supplies to wartime China.

1940

China Institute is instrumental in Chinese Government’s decision to provide additional funds o Chinese students through its Committee on Wartime Planning for Chinese Students in the United States.

1942

China Institute helps organize China reconstruction forums on American campuses between 1942 and 1947 and publishes the proceedings.

1943

Walter H. Mallory succeeds Paul Monroe as president of the board of Trustees. Chih Meng organizes summer workshop on China for public school teachers at Montclair State Teachers College, New Jersey. Workshops evolve into the China Institute of New Jersey and continue for 15 years.

1944

Henry R. Luce presents Institute with former Frederick S. Lee House at 125 East 65th Street as a gift from the foundation established and named in honor of his father Henry Winters Luce. China Institute dissolves as a membership corporation and reincorporates as a tax-exempt educational institution chartered under the University of the State of New York. 8/27, China House opens with a public celebration at Town Hall and a private dedication ceremony. December, formal opening of China House, after altercations, is celebrated for three days.

1945

China Institute and the Chinese Students Activities Council of Greater New York hold victory banquet to celebrate Victory over Japan Day and Sino-American collaboration during World War II.

1946

China Institute asked to administer Chinese Ministry of Education scholarships offered to American GIs for the study of Chinese culture, a gesture of appreciation for U.S. assistance to China during World War II.

1948

Chairman of United China Relief Charles Edison joins China Institute and serves as chairman of its Finance Committee. Chih Meng organizes workshops on China at a number of American colleges and universities between 1948 and 1961.

1949

Henry R. Luce is elected President of the Board of Trustees.

1950

The C.T. Loo Educational Fund entrusts China Institute with the selection of recipients of its grants-in-aid to Chinese graduate students majoring in science and engineering at American universities.

1951

Following passage of China Area Aid Act by the 81st Congress in January, China Institute undertakes a survey of Chinese students and professionals in the U.S., and sets up a placement service to help qualified individuals find jobs. Institute expands its hospitality and counseling services to new immigrants by opening Pacific Coast headquarters in San Francisco.

1952

China Institute opens a student hospitality center in New York City

1954

China Institute opens a student hospitality center in Cambridge, Massachusetts, similar to its hospitality center in New York City.

1955

China Institute and the University of Maryland inaugurate annual conferences on Chinese-American cultural relations. Conferences evolve into the American Association for Chinese Studies in 1966.

1962

Virginia Runton, a core staff member who joined the Institute in 1930, retires after 32 years of loyal service.

1964

Dr. Ho-ching Yang, elected President of the Board of Trustees in May, passes away in November.

1965

Institute forms an Art Committee with Myron S. Falk, Jr., Mrs. Edwin F. Stanton, and Mrs. Edward M. Pfluger as co-chairmen. Founding of China Institute Women’s Association. Alexander D. Calhoun is elected President of the Board of Trustees.

1966

November, China Institute marks its 40th anniversary with the establishment of China House Gallery, which holds its first exhibition. 11/15-/66- 2/15/67, Gallery Exhibition: Selections of Chinese Art from Private Collections in the Metropolitan Area.

1967

James V. Pickering is elected President of the Board of Trustees. William Henderson is appointed Director of China Institute. John M. Crawford, Jr. succeeds Myron S. Falk, Jr. as Co-chairman of the Art Committee. 4/5-6/11, Gallery Exhibition: Art Styles of Ancient Shang. 10/25/67-1/28/68, Gallery Exhibition: Animals and Birds in Chinese Art

1968

William Henderson resigns as Director in August. K.Y. Ai, Head of the School of Chinese Studies, becomes Acting Director. 3/21-5/26, Gallery Exhibition: Gardens in Chinese Art. 10/24/68-1/26/69, Gallery Exhibition: Chinese Jade through the Centuries.

1969

F. Richard Hsu is elected Director of China Institute. Institute inaugurates Annual Labor Day Weekend Convention as part of its Chinese Student Services program. 4/27-5/25, Gallery Exhibition: Foreigners in Ancient Chinese Art. 10/23/69-2/1/70, Gallery Exhibition: Chinese Painted Enamels

1970

John M. Crawford, Jr. is elected Chairman of the Art Committee. 3/26-5/30, Gallery Exhibition: Album Leaves from the Sung and Yuan Dynasties. 10/29/70-1/31/71, Gallery Exhibition: Ming Porcelains: A Retrospective

1971

James V. Pickering is elected Chairman of the Board of Trustees. F. Richard Hsu assumes the title President of China Institute. Wan-go H.C. Weng is elected Co-chairman of the Art Committee. 3/24-5/27, Gallery Exhibition: Chinese Silk Tapestry: K’o-ssu. 10/21/71-1/30/72, Gallery Exhibition: Early Chinese Gold and Silver

1972

10/26/72-1/28/73, Gallery Exhibition: Wintry Forests, Old Trees: Some Landscape Themes in Chinese Painting

1973

Institute inaugurates Chinese-American Community Research and Action Project. 3/15-5/28, Gallery Exhibition: Ceramics in the Liao Dynasty: North and South of the Great Wall. 10/25/73-1/27/74, Gallery Exhibition: China Trade Porcelain: A Study in Double Reflections

1974

Annual Labor Day Weekend Convention moves to Silver Bay, Lake George. 3/14-5/24, Gallery Exhibition: Tantric Buddhist Art. 10/24/74-1/26/75: Friends of Wen Cheng-Ming: A View from the Crawford Collection

1975

China Institute launches its Bilingual Vocational Training Program, which prepares recent Chinese immigrants for careers in the Chinese restaurant industry. 4/3-6/15, Gallery Exhibition: Ancient Chinese Jades from the Buffalo Museum of Science. 10/29/75-2/1/76, Gallery Exhibition: Art of the Six Dynasties: Centuries of Change and Innovation

1976

Henry Luce III is elected Chairman of the Board of Trustees. 4/8-6/13, Gallery Exhibition: China’s Influence on American Culture in the 18th and 19th Centuries. 10/27/76-1/30/77, Gallery Exhibition: Chinese Folk Art in American Collections: Early 15th Through 20th Centuries. November, Institute celebrates its 50th anniversary with a benefit dinner at the Plaza Hotel hosted by Vice President Nelson Rockefeller and the Institute’s Board of Trustees.

1977

Gordon B. Washburn is elected Chairman of the Art Committee. 3/16-5/29, Gallery Exhibition: Chinese Folk Art in American Collections: Early Chinese Miniatures. 10/28/77-1/29/78, Gallery Exhibition: I-Hsing Ware

1978

3/17-5/28, Gallery Exhibition: Embroidery of Imperial China. 10/25/78-1/28/79, Gallery Exhibition: Origins of Chinese Ceramics.

1979

C.T. Shen is elected Chairman of the Board of Trustees. 3/14-5/27, Gallery Exhibition: Art of the Han. 10/25-11/25, Gallery Exhibition: Treasures from the Metropolitan Museum of Art

1980

China Institute forms a Medical Exchange Committee, chaired by trustee Dr. Shyh-Jung Yue. Robert L. Hoguet is elected Chairman of the Board of Trustee. 3/19-5/25, Gallery Exhibition: Chinese Art from the Newark Museum. 10/22/80-1/25/81, Gallery Exhibition: Chinese Porcelains in European Mounts.

1981

China Institute formally establishes its Medical Exchange Program with the People’s Republic of China. F. Richard Hsu resigns as President of China Institute. Institute publishes Chih Meng’s Chinese-American Understanding: A Sixty-Year Search with support from the C.T. Loo Educational Fund. 3/16-5/24, Gallery Exhibition: Freedom of Clay and Brush through Seven Centuries in Northern China: Tz’u-Chow Type Wares 960-1600 A.D. 7/29-9/21, Gallery Exhibition: The Art of Chinese Knotting. 10/21/81-1/31/82, Gallery Exhibition: Masterpieces of Sung and Yuan Dynasty Calligraphy from the John M. Crawford Jr. Collection.

1982

Marsha Wagner, a Ph.D. in Chinese and comparative literature from Columbia University, joins China Institute as Vice President and Director of the School of Chinese Studies. February, Phillips Talbot is elected a trustee and Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees is asked to undertake a study on the Institute’s future. Wan-go H.C. Weng is elected a trustee and Chairman of the Art Committee. 4/20-5/30, Gallery Exhibition: The Communion Of Scholars: Chinese Art At Yale. July, Wan-go H.C. Weng is elected President of China Institute. 11/4-12/12, Gallery Exhibition: China from Within

1983

China Institute launches its Corporate Program to promote discussion on U.S.-China trade and investment issues. China Institute sponsors first U.S. tour of the Hunan Flower Drum Opera Troupe, which wins accolades for its performances in New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. China Institute Women’s Association starts its Chinese Student/Scholar Program, which works with the Institute’s Chinese Student Services program to provide hospitality and counseling to students in the New York Metropolitan area. China Institute publishes Chinese in America: Stereotyped Past, Changing Present with funding from The Ho-ching Yang Memorial Foundation. K.Y. Ai retires as Director of the School of Chinese Studies after 36 years of serving the Institute in various capacities. Dr. Marsha L. Wagner is appointed his successor. 3/18-5/29, Gallery Exhibition: Bamboo Carving of China. 10/21/83-1/29/84, Gallery Exhibition: Chinese Ceramics and the Transitional Period: 1620-1683

1984

China Institute initiates US-CHINA 200, a year long celebration commemorating the bicentennial of the sailing of the Empress of China from New York City to Canton, and joins with dozens of public and private organizations in sponsoring over 40 events saluting U.S.-China trade and cultural relations. Institute organizes three-week tour to China in May at the invitation of the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries. 11/7, Institute celebrates the 40th anniversary of China House opening with a reception. 11/27, Institute inaugurates its Qingyun Awards at the Annual Benefit Dinner. First awards are presented to Dr. An Wang and Ming Cho Lee. 2/10-3/7, Gallery Exhibition: Masterpieces of Chinese Export Porcelain and Related Decorative Arts from the Mottahedeh Collection. 4/6-6/10, Gallery Exhibition: Chinese Traditional Architecture. 10/20/84-1/29/85, Gallery Exhibition: Chinese Rare Books in American Collections.

1985

Institute hosts luncheon on board the Queen Elizabeth II to honor His Excellency Han Xu, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to the United States. 10/30 Institute presents second Qingyun Awards to Dr. Wu Chien-hsiung and Professor Chou Wen-chung at Annual Benefit Dinner. 3/20-6/3, Gallery Exhibition: The Sumptuous Basket: Chinese Lacquer With Basketry Panels. 10/26/85-1/26/86, Gallery Exhibition: 1986 Kernels of Energy, Bones of Earth: The Rock in Chinese Art.

1986

Morris Rossabi, a Ph.D. in Chinese History from Columbia University, becomes Director of the School of Chinese Studies at China Institute. 4/19-6/29, Gallery Exhibition: Puppetry of China. 10/22, China Institute celebrates its 60th anniversary with a benefit. 10/18/86-1/4/87: Selections of Chinese Art from Private Collections.

1987

Gallery Exhibition: 1987 New Year Exhibition. 4/4-5/30, Gallery Exhibition: Chinese Folk Art. 10/22/87-1/4/88, Gallery Exhibition: Richly Woven Traditions: Costumes of the Miao of Southwest China and Beyond.

1988

Nancy Jervis, a Ph.D. in Anthropology from Columbia University, joins China Institute, becoming Vice President and Direct. 2/4-2/24, Gallery Exhibition: 1988 New Year Exhibition. 4/23-6/19, Gallery Exhibition: Ritual and Power: Jades of Ancient China. 9/17-11/12, Gallery Exhibition: Stories from China’s Past.

1989

1/28-2/25, Gallery Exhibition: 1989 New Year Exhibition: Lanterns. 4/3-5/27, Gallery Exhibition: Mind Landscapes: The Paintings of C.C. Wang. 6/29-9/9, Gallery Exhibition: China Between Revolutions: Photography by Sidney D. Gamble, 1917-1927. 10/5-12/2, Gallery Exhibition: Views from Jade Terrace: Chinese Women Artists, 1300-1912.

1990

January – March (specific dates not provided), Gallery Exhibition: 1990 New Year Exhibition: The Chinese Earth – Views of Nature. 4/26-6/16, Gallery Exhibition: Clear as Crystal, Red as Flame: Later Chinese Glass. 10/20-12/15, Gallery Exhibition: The Eccentric Painters of Yangzhou.

1991

1/26-3/2, Gallery Exhibition: 1991 New Year Exhibition: Children in Chinese Art. 4/20-6/15, Gallery Exhibition: Ancient Chinese Bronze Art: Casting the Precious Sacral Vessel. 10/19-12/14, Gallery Exhibition: Early Chinese Ceramics from New York State Museums.

1992

2/1-3/7, Gallery Exhibition: Treasures of the Last Emperor: Selections from the Palace Museum, Beijing. 4/15-7/31, Gallery Exhibition: Lamas, Princes and Brigands: Photographs by Joseph Rock of the Tibetan Borderlands of China. 10/21-12/12, Gallery Exhibition: Word as Image: The Art of Chinese Seal Engraving.

1993

1/19-3/6, Gallery Exhibition: A Year of Good Fortune – 1993: Legends of the Rooster and Traditions of the Chinese New Year. 4/17-6/12, Gallery Exhibition: Discarding the Brush: Gao Qipei, 1660-1734. 10/23/93-1/15/94, Gallery Exhibition: As You Wish: Symbol and Meaning of Chinese Porcelains from the Taft Museum.

1994

2/5-3/5, Gallery Exhibition: Sending Away the Old, Welcoming the New. 4/26-6/11, Gallery Exhibition: Capturing a World: China and Its People – Photography by John Thomson. 10/20-12/22, Gallery Exhibition: At the Dragon Court: Chinese Embroidered Mandarin Squares from the Schuyler V.R. Cammann Collection.

1995

1/20-3/4, Gallery Exhibition: Animals of the Chinese Zodiac: Celebrating Chinese New Year. 4/22-8/5, Gallery Exhibition: Chinese Porcelains of the Seventeenth Century: Landscapes, Scholar’s Motifs and Narratives. 10/14-12/21, Gallery Exhibition: Abstraction and Expression in Chinese Calligraphy.

1996

China Institute establishes Teach China, a comprehensive professional development program providing K-12 educators a wealth of opportunities to enhance their knowledge of China, past and present. 2/3-3/9, Gallery Exhibition: Calligraphy as Living Art: Selection from the Jill Sackler Chinese Calligraphy Competition. 4/20-7/6, Gallery Exhibition: Hare’s Fur, Tortoiseshell and Partridge Feathers Chinese Brown – and Black-Glazed Ceramics, 400-1400. 10/23-12/21, Gallery Exhibition: The Life of a Patron: Zhou Lianggong (1612-1672) and the Painters of Seventeenth-Century China.

1997

2/6-7/14, Gallery Exhibition: Adornment for Eternity: Status and Rank in Chinese Ornament. 9/11-12/13, Gallery Exhibition: Power and Virtue: the Horse in Chinese Art.

1998

China Institute inaugurates its free China Survey lecture series, with the mission of further educating the public about China. 2/5-6/20, Gallery Exhibition: Scent of Ink: The Roy and Marilyn Papp Collection of Chinese Art. 9/16-12/13, Gallery Exhibition: Chinese Snuff Bottles from the Pamela R. Lessing Friedman Collection.

1999

2/11-6/20, Gallery Exhibition: A Literati Life in the 20th Century: Wang Fangyu – Artist, Scholar, Connoisseur. 9/16-12/12, Gallery Exhibition: The Resonance of the Qin in East Asian Art.

2000

1/12-2/11, Gallery Exhibition: 2000 New Year Exhibition: The Story of Red. 3/21-6/18, Gallery Exhibition: Dawn of the Yellow Earth: Ancient Chinese Ceramics from the Meiyintang Collection. 9/14-12/10, Gallery Exhibition: The Chinese Painter as a Poet.

2001

January, China Institute begins a weekly Chinese lecture series on Saturdays. Lectures are given in Chinese (and sometimes bilingually) by prominent writers, actors, art collectors, and other leaders in their fields. 1/25-6/10, Gallery Exhibition: Vernacular Environment in China. Summer of 2001, China Institute organizes an NEH Summer Institute at Columbia University on China and the World. 9/25-12/9, Gallery Exhibition: Exquisite Moments: West Lake & Southern Song Art.

2002

2/7-6/2, Gallery Exhibition: Circles of Reflection: The Carter Collection of Chinese Bronze Mirrors. 9/19-12/7, Gallery Exhibition: Blanc de Chine: Divine Images in Porcelain.

2003

China Institute launches Renwen Society, a new tier of the Institute’s membership primarily to support Chinese lectures and events. 1/29-6/7, Gallery Exhibition: Weaving China’s Past: the Amy S. Claque Collection of Chinese Textiles. 9/18-12/20, Gallery Exhibition: Passion for the Mountains: 17th Century Landscape Paintings from the Nanjing Museum.

2004

2/12-6/5, Gallery Exhibition: Gold & Jade: Imperial Jewelry of the Ming Dynasty from the Nanjing Municipal Museum. 9/23-12/11, Gallery Exhibition: The Scholar as Collector: Chinese Art at Yale.

2005

China Institute publishes From Silk to Oil: Cross-Cultural Connections Along The Silk Roads, an award-winning curriculum guide for educators. 2/3-6/4, Gallery Exhibition: Providing for the Afterlife: “Brilliant Artifacts” from Shandong. 9/16-12/03, Gallery Exhibition: Masterpieces of Chinese Lacquer from the Mike Healy Collection.

2006

China Institute’s Confucius Institute (CI@CI) is established in partnership with East China Normal University in Shanghai. CI@CI works to improve the quality of Mandarin language instruction in the U.S through a variety of programs. 2/2-6/10, Gallery Exhibition: Trade Taste & Transformation: Jingdezhen Porcelain for Japan, 1620-1645. 6/28-8/12, Gallery Exhibition: The Beauty of Chinese Gardens. 9/28-11/11, Gallery Exhibition: Shu: Reinventing Books in Contemporary Chinese Art – Part I. 12/13/06-2/24/07, Gallery Exhibition: Shu: Reinventing Books in Contemporary Chinese Art – Part 2.

2007

China Institute establishes its STARTALK Summer Language Academy, a high school summer program focusing on language and cultural immersion. 3/23-3/28, Gallery Exhibition: Tea, Wine and Poetry: The Art of Drinking Vessels The International Asian Art Fair, New York. 3/24-6/16, Gallery Exhibition: Tea, Wine and Poetry: Qing Dynasty Literati and Their Drinking Vessels. 9/20-12/8, Gallery Exhibition: Buddhist Sculpture from China: Selections from Xi’an Beilin Museum Fifth through Ninth Centuries.

2008

1/31-5/11, Gallery Exhibition: Enchanted Stories: Chinese Shadow Theater in Shaanxi. 6/12-8/17, Gallery Exhibition: Beijing 2008: A Photographic Journey. 9/25-12/14, Gallery Exhibition: The Last Emperor’s Collection: Masterpieces of Painting and Calligraphy from the Liaoning Provincial Museum.

2009

2/12-6/7, Gallery Exhibition: Noble Tombs at Mawangdui: Art and Life in the Changsha Kingdom, Third Century BCE to First Century CE. 9/24-12/13, Gallery Exhibition: Humanism in China: A Contemporary Record of Photography.

2010

p>2/11-6/13, Gallery Exhibition: Confucius: His Life and Legacy in Art. 9/16-12/5, Gallery Exhibition: Woodcuts in Modern China, 1937–2008: Towards a Universal Pictorial Language.

2011

1/27-6/12, Gallery Exhibition: Along the Yangzi River: Regional Culture of the Bronze Age from Hunan. 9/15-12/11, Gallery Exhibition: Blooming in the Shadows: Unofficial Chinese Art, 1974–1985.

2012

China Institute purchases new office space at 40 Rector St. 2/9-6/17, Gallery Exhibition: Theater, Life, and the Afterlife: Tomb Décor of the Jin Dynasty from Shanxi. 9/21/12-2/17/13, Gallery Exhibition: New “China”: Porcelain Art from Jingdezhen, 1910–2012.

2013

China Institute is selected as an Inaugural Signature Partner of the 100,000 Strong Foundation. The 100,000 Strong Foundation encourages US students to learn Mandarin and study in China as a means to promote cross-cultural understanding and strengthen US-China relations. 4/19-10/6, Gallery Exhibition: Dunhuang: Buddhist Art at the Gateway of the Silk Road. 12/14/13-6/8/14, Gallery Exhibition: Inspired by Dunhuang: Re-Creation in Contemporary Chinese Art.

2014

September, James B. Heimowitz is appointed President of China Institute. Gallery Exhibition: Mao’s Golden Mangoes and the Cultural Revolution. This is the last gallery exhibition at the Institute’s East 65th Street location before moving downtown.

2015

2015
China Institute relocates to a new 41,000 square foot office space at 40 Rector Street.

2015 – September

2015 – September
Chinese President Xi Jinping with China Institute’s President James Heimowitz – Seattle, WA

2016 February

2016 February
On February 5, 2016 over 300 guests joined China Institute to welcome the Year of the Monkey at Cipriani 42nd Street, New York City.