The Libraries' spring exhibit, “A SEAA of Memories: Our Changing Southeast Asian American Communities,” opened on June 1, 2005 in the Langson Library. A diverse audience of campus and community members turned out to view the exhibit and enjoyed an engaging lecture by Dr. Linda Trinh Vo, along with the beautiful sound of live traditional Vietnamese music performed by UCI students.
“A SEAA of Memories” highlights the unique archival collections in the Libraries' Southeast Asian archive, which was established in 1987 to document the experiences of refugees and immigrants from Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam who resettled in the United States after the end of the Vietnam War in 1975. Items on exhibit reveal many aspects of the refugee experience, including humanitarian efforts in Asian camps, cultural activities in the San Francisco Bay Area, household items that were abandoned on arrival in the U.S., and advocacy efforts on behalf of Southeast Asian American communities.
The Archive's scholarly significance was recognized when the National Endowment for the Humanities and the California State Library awarded grants to extend access to these irreplaceable materials for the first time, as well as to construct an important Internet resource featuring materials from the archive. Most of the items on exhibit, and many others from the Archive, have been digitized and will soon be available through the website SEAAdoc: Documenting the Southeast Asian American Experience. The site is intended for use by K-12 and college undergraduate students and educators, scholars, and the general public for research and educational purposes.
Bob Jones, Peter Nguyen, Jackie Dooley, Gerry Munoff, and Linda Vo at the opening event.
Dr. Vo, associate professor of Asian American studies and the faculty advisor on the grant project, spoke about the history of the Southeast Asian communities and her involvement with the archive and the grant project. “As a researcher, I've benefited tremendously from the archive, so it's very rewarding for me to assist in making this special collection accessible to users world wide and to promote the efforts of the archive,” said Dr. Vo. “The new website allows students and educators to use primary documents to learn first hand about the Southeast Asian American experience. I hope that it will encourage our communities to preserve their history and to donate their valuable personal or organizational materials to the archive.”
“A SEAA of Memories” was curated by Southeast Asian Archive Librarian Anne Frank, assisted by NEH Project Archivist Julia Stringfellow. The exhibit will be on view until late October in the Langson Library. For further information please contact Anne Frank at firstname.lastname@example.org or 949.824.4968.