As you may have noticed from my other post featuring the Wing Luke, I am a big fan of this local museum. A BIG fan. Not only are they housed in a building which holds neighborhood significance, but it is also curated through community collaboration. What does this mean for your visit? It means that every exhibit you see has been created, edited, and displayed with community input. "The Wing is a national model for community - based exhibition development and oral history gathering projects. With each exhibition, The Wing involves many community members over the course of 12-18 months." This is huge when you think about it. Here is a neighborhood museum full of stories the local people think are worth telling. Their website goes on to acknowledge this approach is a work in progress and that their hope is to encourage conversation and involvement within their community.
This has special significance for the new Bruce Lee exhibit because he was at one time a member of this same community. "Do you know Bruce?" explores the martial artist's youth in Seattle and his impact on the International District. Not only did he start his first martial arts studio here, but he also worked for the local legend Ruby Chow's Restaurant and fell in love with his wife Linda. He gained worldwide fame, but at heart he was a Seattleite at heart. And we love him for it.
The exhibit contains the usual amount of film paraphernalia and fan commentary. There is also a short video introduction to his family, his birth in San Francisco, early life in China, and the move to America. What I found particularly appealing though were the plethora of hand written letters to friends and family. Particularly his letters to his wife Linda allow us a glimpse into the private life of such a famous man. His tragic death, and to a smaller degree that of his son Brandon Lee's, is dealt with with respect and sincerity.
The museum is also offering special Bruce Lee oriented tours. Not only a traditional gallery tour, but also a neighborhood tour of the Chinatown in which he lived. I highly encourage both! The Wing has blown me away again and I hope that you all take some time to check it out. Unfortunately there was no photography allowed in the gallery, so I don't have any sneak peaks to share with you. However, I will leave you with this trailer from the first Bruce Lee film I ever saw.