On Saturday, February 6th, Queens Memory hosted an event in partnership with the Forest Hills Asian Association (FHAA) to celebrate and document the Lunar New Year. The event featured food, speeches, free Lunar New Year goodies from local businesses, community history resources, and of course digitization! The event was not only a fun party, but was also really successful at reaching out to the local Asian-American community and documenting Lunar New Year mementos and traditions.
The Lunar New Year celebration event developed after Edwin Wong, a leader of the FHAA, attended an earlier Queens Memory event focused on local Filipino history and expressed interest in organizing a follow-up event. This was ideal: reaching a new community group through an existing partnership, and working with someone who has already participated in the project and has a good sense of the depth of outreach needed to make a local history event successful! The subsequent event was scheduled as both a Lunar New Year celebration, and as the regular monthly meeting of the FHAA. Local businesses agreed to attend and distribute free Lunar New Year calendars and mementos, and opening remarks were given by Eve Guillergan, FHAA member and Queens Library Trustee, Forest Hills librarian Carol Goldman and myself. The FHAA leadership team provided decorations, and lots of food!
People came for the food and gifts, but also to document the history of their local communities. Six donors came with materials to contribute, and after a busy three hours of scanning, we collected over 40 unique items spanning the 1940s to the present. The items include family and school portraits, photos of traditional meals, red envelopes, and newsletters from local organizations. We will be cataloging these materials over the next few weeks, and making them available online at queensmemory.org.