The Chinese Canadian Museum has opened a temporary exhibit, which will run through 2021 and also tour throughout the province, in Vancouver’s Chinatown. Admission to “A Seat at the Table: Chinese Immigration and British Columbia” — the first offering from the new museum — is free.
The exhibition is located at the Hon Hsing Athletic Club, 27 East Pender Street, and is open every Friday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. It explores the history of Chinese immigration and communities through individual narratives, and features interactive story panels, videos, and audio to provide snapshots from Chinese Canadians’ lives. Visitors can learn how Chinese migrants and their descendants have found ways to earn a living, challenge systemic racism, connect with others, and survive and thrive through hope and resilience.
“People told us they wanted the Chinese Canadian Museum to showcase Chinese Canadian history, past and present, in the places where it happened,” says Lisa Beare, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture. “This exhibit embodies that vision by telling the stories of the people who helped build B.C. and offers a way for British Columbians to add their stories.”
As part of the exhibition, visitors can add their personal story to the collection. People can share their experiences as Chinese Canadians, their interactions with Chinese Canadians in their community, or their experiences as migrants living in a new place. Visitors can choose to share their stories on camera, through in-person interviews, in writing, or by placing a marker on a map.
These stories will become part of the Chinese Canadian Museum’s collection. As the exhibition travels throughout the province, it will continue to gather stories from each location.
“We’re excited to open this temporary exhibit and welcome everyone to visit it in Chinatown,” says Grace Wong, chair, Chinese Canadian Museum. “The exhibit offers a taste of how the Chinese Canadian Museum will share the historical contributions of Chinese Canadians and their continued role in the fabric of British Columbia and Canada. I’d like to thank all the partners for bringing this exhibit to life.”
A Seat at the Table is a project from the Chinese Canadian Museum Society of BC, in collaboration with the Museum of Vancouver and the University of British Columbia. In October 2020, the Museum of Vancouver will launch a larger related exhibit at its own location. For more information on the Chinese Canadian Museum, visit www.chinesecanadianmuseum.ca.