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A small museum dedicated to the history of Chinese culture reopens to the public on Wednesday at San Diego State University after a long closure due to the pandemic.

The Chinese Cultural Center initially opened in August 2019, but quickly had to close because of the pandemic.

Historian Li-Rong “Lilly” Cheng, a professor at SDSU who directs the center, describes it as a space to host visiting scholars, hold lecture series and exhibitions, educate children and support the university’s larger efforts to increase international awareness.

“During this time there is even more need for understanding,” said Cheng.

The center packed with artifacts and displays, from a statue of the famous philosopher Confucius to delicate ivory carvings, a wedding sedan chair, intricate abacus counting tools and elaborate tea settings. Visitors can practice Chinese calligraphy and peruse historic texts.

With the center reopening, a lecture series will begin Sept. 4 with a history of ceramics production in Jingdezhen, the main site where fine porcelain has been fabricated across centuries. Registration is available online.

The Chinese Cultural Center will be open Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 9 a.m. to noon with advance reservations required by email at

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.