Document Type

Case Study

Publication Date



Ron Chew


Susan Kunimatsu


The Wing Luke Museum has been an important center of Asian American art, history, and community outreach for the past 53 years. It opened in 1967 as a folk art museum in a storefront, honoring the memory of Wing Chong Luke, the first Asian American elected to public office in the state of Washington. Today, it is a showcase for Asian American culture, the only museum of its kind to be accredited by the national association of museums. Under the leadership of Ron Chew, its Executive Director for 17 years, the organization’s innovative model for community-based exhibition development gained the respect of the museum world, and the support of a pan-Asian constituency. Their success has resulted in two expansions of the museum, twenty years apart. In 2008, under new leadership and in a new 60,000 square foot space in a landmark building, the museum rededicated itself with new vigor to supporting artists, telling community stories, and preserving historic places. Now attracting a national audience and support, the Wing Luke Museum has entered a golden age. Its commitment to engaging the community and responding to its ever-evolving needs has made the museum an example of what responsible and responsive museum leadership can attain.

Organization or Event

Wing Luke Museum; Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience

Form of Entity


Area of Activity

Presenter, Producer, Community Development, Venue/Facility

Artistic Discipline

Visual Arts, Heritage Arts