The FANHS Museum tells the rich, diverse story of Filipino Americans throughout the United States. Filipino Americans have been making American history since a group of Luzones Indios landed in what is now Morro Bay, California, on a Spanish Galleon in October 1587. The story of Filipinos in the Americas begins with them.
– FANHS National Museum brochure
On October 8, 2016, the Filipino American National Historical Society (FANHS) opened the doors of its National Museum in Stockton, Calif. (337 E. Weber Avenue, 209.932.9037). The Stockton chapter of FANHS was instrumental in realizing this dream, which has taken some 20 years to come to fruition. More than 400 people came on opening day. I was among the hungry and excited.
Stockton was chosen as the museum site because many Filipinos came to this farming town to work, and at one time the city boasted the most Filipinos outside of the Philippines. Stockton was the natural choice. One of the prominent exhibits included Filipino American farm workers.
I congratulated Anita Bautista and Letty Perez, two visionary and hardworking Filipinas who are long-time members of the Stockton chapter. I also finally met in person Peter Jamaro, author of Growing Up Brown and Vanishing Filipino Americans.
The museum features “Singgalot: The Ties that Bind, Filipinos in America, from Colonial Subjects to Citizens,” which was a traveling exhibit from the Smithsonian Institution. Eighteen of the 30 panels were on display at the FANHS National Museum. Other exhibits included Filipino American farm workers. Below are my photos from my first (of many to come) visits to the museum.
And just for fun, a souvenir license plate holder that I didn’t get:
On a more serious note, this museum is important and must be sustained. It’s a part of U.S. history, so everyone should visit and learn about the Filipino American story. For Filipino Americans, a trek to the FANHS National Museum in Stockton is an important pilgrimage to make.