Grit: Exhibit

Cassie Chinn (Deputy Executive Director) and Rob Chew (former Executive Director) accept the Advisory Council for Historic Preservations Chairman’s Award. Photo by Aleta Eng, US Forest Service.</
Photo by Aleta Eng, US Forest Service
Cassie Chinn (Deputy Executive Director) and Ron Chew (former Executive Director) accept the Advisory Council for Historic Preservations Chairman’s Award. Photo by Aleta Eng, US Forest Service.
Grit: Asian Pacific Pioneers Across the Northwest


On display December 13, 2013 to October 17, 2014
Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience


The U.S. Forest Service is a proud partner of the GRIT: “Asian Pacific Pioneer Across the Northwest” exhibit currently on display at the Wing Luke Museum of the Pacific American Experience (Wing). GRIT uncovers the true stories of the men and women who migrated to the Pacific Northwest from the Asia Pacific to start a new life. The exhibit highlights 16 sites spanning the northwest including the Iron Goat Trail and the Ah Hee Diggings on the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie and Wallowa-Whitman National Forests. The Pacific Northwest in the 19th and early 20th centuries could be an unforgiving place, from natural and man-made disasters to discrimination seen in everyday life. By immersing visitors in local sites and personal lives, Grit reminds us of Asian Pacific Americans’ long history of fortitude and resilience as they established communities in the northwest. Grit presents a mix of archival photographs and documents, artifacts from archaeological investigations and oral histories revealing the exceptional stories behind these seemingly ordinary historical sites and figures. Rather than focus on a single, linear narrative of one ethnic group, the selection of historical sites reflect the diverse landscape of the northwest and the experiences of Asian Pacific Americans, from urban centers to rural communities, from merchants to laborers, and more.

You can visit many of these historic places. Some might be barren, but they are places in the American West where visitors can explore and breathe new life into them; returning home with new stories, moments and an appreciation that will last forever. Visit the Asian Pacific American Heritage Sites travel website to learn how you can begin your own historical exploration.

Community Advisory Council members Dorothy Ng and Bettie Luke attend the December 2013 exhibit launch party. Photo by Aleta Eng, US Forest Service.</

GRIT was developed as a community-based exhibition model aimed to integrate visitors through the exhibit and the historical learning process. The main messages, themes, content and form of the exhibition was developed by members of the Community Advisory Committee (CAC). The CAC was formed with community leaders, individuals directly connected with the historical topic and U.S. Forest Service and National Park Service representatives.

The Wing and the U.S. Forest Service are the 2013 recipients of the Advisory Council for Historic Preservation (ACHP) Chairman’s Award. ACHP is a federal agency that promotes preservation, enhancement, and productive use of our nation's historic resources and advises the President and Congress on national historic preservation policy.






  • Additional Forest Service heritage and historical sites identified in the travel website.



    Story by Wing Luke Museum
    Photos by Aleta Eng, US Forest Service


    Upcoming Events
    For exact dates of the programs call the museum at 206.623.5124.

    April 2014
    Pioneer Chinese Dinner 
    Sit down with chef and culinary historian Maxine Chan to a meal that pays homage to the resourceful and delectable cuisine of Chinese pioneers of the late-1800s. 

    May 2014
    Japanese Heritage Bus Tour
    Discover Seattle’s Japanese heritage from the historical to the present day with stops including Nihonmachi, the Japanese Cultural and Community Center, and the Nisei Veterans’ Hall. Lunch will be provided. 

    July 2014
    Hawaiian Festival and Kanaka Village Tour 
    Join the celebration and hoopla at the three-day Hawaiian Festival! From workshops to concerts to food, the rich culture of the Islands comes to the Pacific Northwest. Also included is a tour of historic Kanaka Village.

    September 2014
    Iron Goat Trail Hike (Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest)
    Retrace the steps of Japanese rail-workers who braved mountainous terrain and dangerous winters to complete the Great Northern Railway. Bring your hiking boots to discover this hidden history.

    October 2014
    Filipino Heritage Bus Tour
    Explore Seattle’s Filipino heritage just in time to celebrate the 100th birthday of revered Filipino community activist, Carlos Bulosan.