Monday November 16, 2009 — Guangdong Overseas Chinese Museum
Today we had a very productive afternoon with Wang Ming Hui of the Guangdong Overseas Chinese Museum. The first 3 floors of this museum have just recenty opened with another 3 floors under development. The exhibits deal with 3 themes — how people emmigrated from Guangdong Province, how they made their lives while abroad, and the development of Chinatowns around the world. We toured through the exhibits and Mr. Wang indicated that most of the artefacts had been given to the Museum by Overseas Chinese in various countries. They tended to be high end items such as vases and carvings, although there were also some archival materials such as letters and immigration documents. Mr. Wang pointed out that there was not a lot of material from Canada and the museum was interested in obtaining more.
Mr. Wang was extremely interested in the idea of the travelling exhibit of Chinese in the Cariboo that we had discussed with Dr. Zhang of Wuyi University in Jiangmen. He was somewhat familiar with the CD Hoy portraits, but like Dr. Zhang also expressed interest in contextual photos of mining and everyday life. He indicated that he saw no problems working with the institutions that we have targeted for the exhibit — Wuyi University, Kaiping Overseas Chinese Museum, Hong Kong University and his Museum. He also indicated that the Museum would be very interested in a permanent installation on Barkerville. This is excellent news for us and has the potential to raise awareness of Barkerville among the Chinese and among Overseas Chinese from around the world that visit the Museum. During our discussions with Mr. Wang we developed a rough outline for future collaboration:
- a travelling exhibit of photographs of Chinese in the Cariboo accompanied by a catalogue/book in both languages
- a rearch project to try to link Barkerville Chinese to their home villages, with the hope of uncovering additional information or artefacts
- the potential of a permanent exhibit featuring Barkerville in the Guangdong Overseas Chinese Museum
We discussed the fact that both institutions would need to seek sources of funding to accomplish our goals and agreed that we would sent letters in support of each others activities. Bill’s estimate is that to accomplish the entire project, including the printing of an nice publication, will take in the order of $200,000. However, we are already aware of a number of agencies that might be interested in supporting this project. It will certainly assist in focusing attention in China on northern British Columbia.