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Whether you call Vancouver home, a travel stop, or a vacation destination, be sure to add the new Chinese Canadian Museum to your list of unique and fun things to do in the downtown area.
Newly opened on July 1, the Chinese Canadian Museum—the first of its kind in Canada—brings an elevated experience to Vancouver’s Chinatown. Located on 51 East Pender Street at the historic Wing Sang Building—the neighbourhood’s oldest brick building—the family-friendly, intergenerational attraction is worth taking the time to explore.
“We are delighted to provide a transformative experience through our museum’s exhibitions and programming,” says Dr. Melissa Karmen Lee, CEO of the Chinese Canadian Museum. “As a new cultural destination in Vancouver, we hope that the stories and journeys of Chinese Canadians resonate with visitors from all backgrounds, while also ensuring that we engage with and amplify voices from our own community.”
Inside the four-storey building, heritage features and contemporary upgrades unite to provide a bright and spacious gallery that bring visitors back in time to learn about varying aspects of early life for many Chinese Canadians.
As visitors enter the museum inside the introductory gallery, they are greeted by the exhibition “Odysseys and Migration”, which recounts some of the unique journeys of Chinese Canadians from the 18th century to the present day.
The exhibition features an interactive world map for visitors to log their personal journeys, unique artifacts of the Chinese diaspora through migration, and a commissioned mural “The Journeys Here” by Marlene Yuen.
On the second floor, “The Paper Trail to the 1923 Chinese Exclusion Act” fills the feature exhibition space, showcasing a community-sourced exhibition that marks a century since the Chinese Exclusion Act. As well, hundreds of certificates of identity (C.I. documents)—the most ever publicly displayed in an exhibition—and individual stories are highlighted throughout the gallery.
“Through the CIs, which were used to track Chinese Canadians across Canada during the Exclusion period, the Paper Trail probes the nature of paperwork and documentation over this contested terrain of history,” Lee says.
The museum also pays tribute to the building’s original residents—the Yip Family—with Period Rooms on the third floor. Visitors can immerse themselves in the original School Room, which is one of Vancouver’s oldest, and a recreated living room that provides a real-life experience of what life in the building was like for the Yips in the 1930s.
Tickets and annual passes are available online and onsite. Visitors are encouraged to book their tickets and complimentary guided tours at chinesecanadianmuseum.ca
Group rates are available. Inquire at firstname.lastname@example.org
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