The province is a step closer to the establishment of a museum recognizing and honouring the contributions Chinese Canadians have made to British Columbia, with the B.C. government investing $10 million to establish the Chinese Canadian Museum.
It will be the first museum of its kind in Canada, and a place to not only study the long history of Chinese Canadians in B.C., but also examine their living heritage. Two million dollars will go toward completing the museum’s planning and development, with $8 million going towards an endowment that will provide ongoing support.
The museum will include a provincial hub in Vancouver’s historic Chinatown, multiple regional hubs and spokes throughout B.C., and an online portal and digital experiences for historical locations throughout the province. Ashcroft and Barkerville are two of several mainland B.C. communities with an extensive history of Chinese settlement stretching back to the 1858 Gold Rush.
The newly formed, independent, non-profit Chinese Canadian Museum Society of British Columbia will lead development and operate the museum. The inaugural board has 20 members with a range of expertise, skills, and experience and includes representatives from both the provincial government and the City of Vancouver. Grace Wong, former senior advisor international, University of British Columbia Office of Provost and Vice-President Academic, is the chair of the society.
To kick off the museum experience, the Chinese Canadian Museum Society is launching a temporary exhibit in Vancouver’s Chinatown at 27 E. Pender Street in August. “A Seat at the Table” explores the history of Chinese immigration and how the communities were able to stay vibrant and resilient through the food and restaurant culture they brought to British Columbia. The exhibit is a partnership with the City of Vancouver, University of British Columbia, and Museum of Vancouver.
The society has also signed a memorandum of understanding with the newly formed Victoria Chinatown Museum Society to be the first regional hub and launch a pocket gallery in Fan Tan Alley with the support of the Royal BC Museum.
Find out more about the proposed new Chinese Canadian Museum at https://engage.gov.bc.ca/chinesecanadianmuseum/.