Saturday, January 24, 2009

Update on the Free China preservation effort

This is an update from Dione Chen who is spearheading the effort to save the Free China.

Thank you for your interest in saving the Free China, a historic Chinese junk that will be lost forever unless preservation efforts succeed.
We appreciate—and need—your support. We'd like to provide you with a brief update on preservation efforts, and let you know about the areas of greatest need. Any assistance will be valuable. Please visit our website for more information.

Emergency Short-Term Preservation Strategy:
With the Dec. 31 deadline for destruction fast-approaching, in mid-December, Chinese Junk Preservation was able to first "buy time" by negotiating to pay for a 3-month extension for continued temporary storage of the junk. The owner will not extend this new deadline, which is fast approaching.
We have developed a pragmatic, emergency preservation strategy to give the junk a chance at survival. The strategy includes these essential steps:
Pay for interim storage of the junk at another location in the San Francisco Bay Area, and transport the junk there (by sea/land), while efforts continue to secure a long-term home for the junk.
Commission a professional survey and documentation of the junk's construction and original and current (altered) condition.
Collect and save the rich array of documentation, photos, news clippings, and film that exist—but need to be preserved as they are currently vulnerable to deterioration.
Support Critical to Saving Junk
Chinese Junk Preservation is a small group of volunteers with a dream of saving this historic vessel. Here are the areas of greatest need:
* Help find a home for the Free China. Do you know of a potential long-term owner and/or home for the Free China? We are seeking a long-term home for the junk where it may have a secure, public life, that is, where the junk will be safe and be exhibited in a way that will generate public awareness and understanding about maritime, Chinese and American history and culture, as well as immigration. A critical short-term need is for an interim home while a long-term home is found and readied. The ideal interim home will be in the San Francisco Bay Area, on land immediately adjacent to the water.
* Volunteer. You can make a difference! Join our crew of supporters today. We are looking for volunteers to assist and/or take a leadership role in the following areas: outreach to prospective supporters, partners and donors, fundraising and grant writing, public relations, historic preservation and boat restoration, nonprofit management, Chinese-English translation and online communications.
* Donate. The Chinese Junk Preservation group operates on a shoestring budget and relies on volunteers. We need to raise $50,000 to implement the emergency short-term strategy that will give the junk a last chance at survival. This money will be dedicated to securing an interim home for the junk, preparing exhibition/educational materials, conducting outreach to current and potential supporters and partners, and obtaining a professional survey of the junk and documentation of its construction and history. Tax-deductible donations can be made to the group via its fiscal sponsor, the Chinese Historical Society of America (, which is the largest and oldest Chinese American historical society in the U.S. Information on how to donate can be found at the group's website We also seek an experienced fundraiser to lead fundraising efforts, and volunteers to assist with outreach.
* Spread the Word: Chinese Junk Preservation welcomes interest and support in this preservation project. The more people who know about the junk, the better our chances of finding a new home, potential sponsor or talented volunteer! Please tell people about this preservation effort. Invite them to visit this website and join our mailing list for future updates. We welcome everyone who would like to be added to our mailing list to send an email stating their interest and contact information to us at: To find out more, help spread the word about efforts, or to make a donation, please visit . Emails may be sent to:

Keep in touch. We value your interest and support in this inspiring preservation project. Please join our mailing list to receive occasional email updates about our progress. To join, please send an email to, including your contact information and a brief note letting us know of your interest. Please be assured, we will not share your email address and you may unsubscribe at any time.

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