Featured room: Wallace B. Chung and Madeline H. Chung room

Regarding history, Wallace Chung believes it is important to forgive, but not forget. His collection of rare items based on the Chinese experience in North America helps to keep memories of Chinese history alive, illustrating moments of historical happiness without neglecting to represent the struggles. Divided into three major themes of discovery, immigration and settlement, and the Canadian Pacific Railway, the room explores moments in history such as the Chinese Head Tax and the Fraser River gold rush. The room is filled with a variety of objects including posters, pamphlets, legal documents, and silverware.

A large model of the Empress of Asia sits at the heart of the room, representing one of the ships that brought Chinese immigrants from Asia to North America. In 1919, Dr. Chung’s own mother was one of those immigrants.

Image credit: Empress of Asia, UBC Library

Image credit: Empress of Asia, UBC Library

Collecting these artifacts, Dr. Chung explained, was not as difficult as some people seem to think. Some of the items, including more precious objects such as silverware, actually came to him because they had been discarded, for their historical value had not yet been known. To read more about the items from the collection on exhibition, go to the Chung collection website.

After years of accumulating items, Dr. Chung’s simple hobby of grew into a collection over 25,000 objects. Now, people of all ages are welcome to view them in the Chung Room. The exhibition, located in Rare Books and Special Collections, in the Irving K Barber Learning Centre, is open to the public and free of charge during Rare Books and Special Collections opening hours (Monday through Friday 9-5 year round, Saturday 12 – 5 during the fall and winter semesters). Appointments are not necessary to visit. Please feel free to drop-in and explore the collection at your leisure. For information on group tours and directions to the exhibition please go here.

Thank-you to our guest writer, Eleanor Munk, a student working for the summer in Rare Books and Special Collections, for writing this week’s blog entry!

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