Event explores early Chinese history

Ashcroft Museum's open house on Aug. 28 will look at Chinatown and the history of the Chinese population of early Ashcroft.

The Ashcroft Museum is promising an interesting Open House on Aug. 28.

The free event, open to everyone,  starts at 10 am in the museum.

Curator Kathy Paulos says she and summer student Alexa Davidson will started with a guided tour through the museum. The new donations will be pointed out –  collection of baskets and a wedding dress – with a special focus on the Chinese artifacts.

After that there will be a Powerpoint presentation on the town’s Chinese history that includes Chinatown, the railroad, cemetery and the fire, with commentary from long-time resident Loyd Wongs who will share some stories and first-hand history. Loyd was born in Ashcroft over 90 years ago.

“We were going to focus on a historical house,” said Paulos,  “but Alexa was interested in Chinese history so we decided to go for it.”

For the past four years, the museum has held an open house “just to visit and share history” says Paulos.

She says it gets people out and visiting, sharing their own stories, and “Loyd has wonderful knowledge.”

The Chinese artifacts aren’t new, but they are still nice to look at. There are beautiful trunks, maj jong pieces, musical instruments, clothing, and other items from early Ashcroft.

Paulos says the Chow family donated a lot of them, including a stack of letters found in the Wing Chong Tai store.

She says a recent visit was especially interested in them. He was planning a documentary on the Chinese in early BC and asked her if the museum had any letters. When she showed him the stack, he called them “Ying Letters”. Paulos says they were traditionally sent back to families in China with money in them.

He brought an interpretor with him the next time he visited. The letters were from members of the Chow family. Some of the dialogue asked that no more money be sent because they could not access it due to th recent Japanese invasion.

The Open House is Fri., Aug. 28 and is expected to go on for about two hours. Everyone is invited to attend.