Shannon Lee is hoping to bring her father’s legacy in the form of a museum to Seattle.
Seattle is the city where legendary martial artist and actor Bruce Lee spent some of his youth. Lee was born in San Francisco, but he moved to Hong Kong with his family when he was only three months old. He wouldn’t see the United States again until he was 18, when he moved to Seattle after spending a few months in San Francisco.
Lee completed his high school education in Seattle. He even worked at Ruby Chow’s Restaurant during this time; Chow was the first Asian American elected to the King County Council. Lee eventually enrolled in the University of Washington (UW), where he met his wife, Linda Emery. In 1964, three years after enrolling in the UW, Lee moved to Oakland and was eventually discovered by Hollywood. We all know the rest of the story!
Shannon Lee feels that Seattle is the right location for the Bruce Lee Action Museum (BLAM) because she said he considered Seattle his hometown. Ideally, she would like the museum to be in the International District (ID), where Bruce Lee opened his first school.
But we already have another big museum in the area, the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific Experience (The Wing). Is it possible that the BLAM could end up being detrimental to the Wing’s success? Would ticket buyers who would have gone to the Wing go to the BLAM instead?
Bruce Lee is a name that is recognized all over the world. We imagine that if there were a museum in Seattle, people would make pilgrimages just to visit it. Today, Japanese tourists already make long visits to Bruce Lee’s gravesite in Lakeview cemetery.
Would the BLAM become so successful that it eclipses the Wing?
We don’t think so. After all, The Wing, a Smithsonian Affiliate, is the only museum of its kind in the country, one dedicated to the Asian Pacific American experience.
Rather, we see the potential presence of the BLAM to ultimately lift up business in the ID as a whole. It would bring people from all over the country into our little area. Though some tourists might leave without looking at anything else in the ID, we know that there would be others who will take a look around, shop, eat, and visit the Wing.
There is also an opportunity for the museums to work together. Tickets to both can be packaged together. Perhaps if someone buys a ticket to one museum, they would get a discount to the other.
The museums can hold joint exhibitions. They can cross-promote. The possibilities are vast. (end)