STARTING Saturday, August 15, people can visit the Chinese Canadian Museum’s temporary exhibit in Vancouver Chinatown for free.
A Seat at the Table: Chinese Immigration and British Columbia is the first offering from the new museum. It is located at the Hon Hsing Athletic Club, 27 East Pender Street, and is open Friday until Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The exhibit will run through 2021.
“People told us they wanted the Chinese Canadian Museum to showcase Chinese Canadian history, past and present, in the places where it happened,” said Lisa Beare, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture. “This exhibit embodies that vision by telling the stories of the people who helped build British Columbia and offers a way for British Columbians to add their stories.”
The temporary exhibit explores the history of Chinese immigration and communities through individual narratives and opportunities to promote story sharing. It 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, survive and thrive through hope and resilience.
“We’re excited to open this temporary exhibit and welcome everyone to visit it in Chinatown,” said 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.”
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 throughout the province.
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. The temporary exhibit is made possible through the B.C. government’s $1-million grant to the City of Vancouver to support further planning for the Chinese Canadian Museum.
A memorandum of understanding was signed between the Province and the City of Vancouver to establish the museum and to pursue United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization World Heritage Site Designation for Vancouver Chinatown.
In October 2020, the Museum of Vancouver will launch a larger related exhibit at its own location.
George Chow, Minister of State for Trade, said: “Now more than ever, we need to come together and share the stories of the Chinese Canadian community that helped shape this province. This is a great opportunity to learn more about the essential contributions of the Chinese Canadian community, past and present. I encourage everyone to come and visit this free interactive exhibition in Vancouver Chinatown.”
Melanie Mark, MLA for Vancouver-Mount Pleasant, said: “Congratulations to the Chinese Canadian Museum Society for launching its first exhibit. This is such an exciting step and a great addition to Vancouver Chinatown. I look forward to taking my family to visit this important exhibit this summer.”
Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart added: “There is so much history and culture here in Vancouver. This is a great, affordable opportunity for people to learn more about the lives and experiences of the Chinese Canadians who shaped our city. I hope people come on down and check it out and enjoy Vancouver Chinatown.”
Viviane Gosselin, Curator, Museum of Vancouver, pointed out: “The knowledge sharing that has taken place between individuals, community groups, academics and museum professionals for the production of A Seat at the Table project is exceptional and will resonate with diverse audiences who will be able to see themselves in the stories.”
* To protect people’s health during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Chinese Canadian Museum Society of BC has put in place the following safety measures at the exhibit:
– maximum attendance of 14 people at a time;
– hand sanitizer will be provided;
– staff will be required to wear masks and it will be recommended that patrons wear masks; and
– additional signage within the museum has been added to remind visitors to keep a two-metre distance from each other.
For more information on the Chinese Canadian Museum, visit: chinesecanadianmuseum.ca