Press Release

Press Tour of Historic Tushanwan Pagodas


CONTACT: Charles Schuler
Director of Communications
San Francisco International Airport


Press Tour of Historic Tushanwan Pagodas
Sue Lee of Chinese Historical Society to discuss historical importance of century-old art
on September 10
Hand-carved models, created by Chinese orphans, first shown in SF at 1915 Pan-Pacific Expo, on display at SFO

SAN FRANCISCO -- September 8, 2015 - Members of the media are invited to attend a private tour of the Chinese Tushanwan Pagodas, on display at San Francisco International Airport as part of the 100th anniversary of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition, which drew more than 18 million visitors to the city a century ago.

The model pagodas, which were expertly crafted by teenage boys and young men instructed in woodworking at Shanghai’s Tushanwan orphanage, are replicas of ancient pagodas located throughout China. The pieces were originally displayed in 1915 at the Pan-Pacific Expo’s Palace of Education, and were one of many contributions heralding the new Chinese Republic.




WHO: Sue Lee, Chinese Historical Society of America


WHEN: 11:30 a.m., Thursday, September 10, 2015


WHERE: San Francisco International Airport (SFO), International Terminal

The tour will be led by Sue Lee, Executive Director of the Chinese Historical Society of America, who will discuss the cultural and historical importance of the century-old pagodas.

The Tushanwan Pagodas are being exhibited as part of the SFO Museum’s celebration of the centennial of the Pan-Pacific Expo. The models are part of the Christopher Jeffries Family Private Collection and were generously donated to the SFO Museum for this commemorative exhibit.

The pagoda models have not been presented all together in one collection since the 1915 Expo. The current exhibit will be on display through October. (A VIP reception to honor the Tushanwan Pagodas and thank the Jeffries family is planned for October 6.)

"We are thrilled to help make this part of history available for San Francisco citizens and visitors from all over the world to enjoy," said Sean Jeffries, who is vice president of the real estate company Millennium Partners. “These works of art are shining examples of the transcultural exchange that took place a century ago in San Francisco – a spirit that continues to define our city today, especially as it relates to our close relationship with China and with Shanghai.”

Shanghai was San Francisco’s first sister city, and the two have the oldest sister-city relationship among all China and U.S. cities.

The current exhibit is located in SFO’s International Terminal, and accessible to the public before any security checkpoints.


About the Chinese Historical Society of America

The Chinese Historical Society of America promotes the contributions and legacy of the Chinese in America through its exhibitions, publications, and educational and public programs in its Museum and Learning Center. CHSA is housed in the landmark Julia Morgan-designed Chinatown YWCA building at 965 Clay Street in San Francisco. When founded in 1963, there were fewer than 250,000 people of Chinese descent living in the U.S. Today, as the number of Chinese in the U.S. has risen to nearly 4 million, CHSA strives to be a responsible steward of the remarkable narrative of this rapidly growing and increasingly visible community.


About SFO Museum

SFO Museum was established by the Airport Commission in 1980 for the purposes of humanizing the Airport environment, providing visibility for the unique cultural life of San Francisco, and providing educational services for the traveling public. The Museum was granted initial accreditation from the American Association of Museums in 1999, reaccredited in 2005, and has the distinction of being the only accredited museum in an airport. Today, SFO Museum features approximately twenty galleries throughout the Airport terminals displaying a rotating schedule of art, history, science, and cultural exhibitions, as well as the San Francisco Airport Commission Aviation Library and Louis A. Turpen Aviation Museum, a permanent collection dedicated to the history of commercial aviation. To browse current and past exhibitions, research our collection, or for more information, please visit Read the Tushanwan Pagodas exhibition press release.


About San Francisco International Airport

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