Games Learning Resources Visit the Museum
America on the Move
Collection Exhibition Themes
Return Arts and Leisure Communities Immigration and Migration Making the Exhibition Technology Work and Industry Other Topics Guest Curators

The People
 
Chinese workers building the Loma Prieta Lumber Co.’s railroad, California, about 1885
Chinese workers building the Loma Prieta Lumber Co.’s railroad, California, about 1885
Chinese workers in a strawberry field, Pajaro Valley, California
Chinese workers in a strawberry field, Pajaro Valley, California

Perhaps most important, we wanted to people the scene. And so we had two cast figures made, representing Chinese field hands at work in the orchard, picking the strawberries planted in between the trees. We had an image of workers in the fields in the 1890s, and we looked at other images of Chinese Californians where they were available. By the 1890s, the Chinese Exclusion Act was in effect, so we made our figures older workers. We made them male since the vast majority of Chinese migrants to the United States in the 19th century were men. We also tried to convey how hard the work was. One figure has his back to the visitors, with his hands on his lower back, stretching out his tired muscles. The other is stooped over, picking strawberries.

An unfinished Chinese cast figure
An unfinished Chinese cast figure
An unfinished cast figure, kneeling
An unfinished cast figure, kneeling
Unfinished Chinese cast figure from behind
Unfinished Chinese cast figure from behind
Chinese cast figure in the Museum, 2003
Chinese cast figure in the Museum, 2003
Chinese cast figure in the Museum, 2003
Chinese cast figure in the Museum, 2003
Previous Page
Next Page
National Museum of American History About This Site | Sponsors | Buy the Book | E-mail Signup | Credits