The Vancouver Chinese Canadian Museum has received a $5.18 million influx of cash from the Canadian federal government.
The money, from the Department of Canadian Heritage and the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada (PacifiCan), will be used to establish the museum in its permanent location of the Wing Sang Building in Vancouver’s Chinatown.
The museum, located at 27 East Pender Street, is scheduled to open on July 1. When completed the Wing Sang Building will house temporary and permanent exhibits, and serve as a hub for programming, educational initiatives, and special events.
In a release announcing the funding, Chinese Canadian Museum CEO Melissa Karmen Lee said, “We thank the Government of Canada for this funding at a pivotal juncture in the Chinese Canadian Museum’s development. The funds will assist the museum with finishing its first renovation phase and exhibition preparations. We are thrilled to open this summer to present historic exhibitions and significant public programs that honour the diverse Chinese Canadian communities across the country.”
The Chinese Canadian Museum has already received $48.5 million in funding from the Provincial government. Some of that money has gone towards the purchase of the Wing Sang Building—Chinatown’s oldest structure. Built in 1889, the space was once owned by Chinese Canadian pioneer and businessman Yip Sang. Vancouver developer Bob Rennie bought and restored the building In 2004, using it as an art space and office.
The Canadian Chinese Museum’s three-phase, multi-year project will revitalize and upgrade more than 21,000 square feet of building space. Exhibition and programming space will be expanded moving forward to better showcase future permanent and temporary exhibitions.
The museum’s mission statement is to “foster respect, understanding, inclusion and collaboration, and serve as a place where people can gather to bridge cultures, communities and generations.”
When the museum opens in July the first exhibit will be the Paper Trail to the 1923 Chinese Exclusion Act, curated by Catherine Clement and meant to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Immigration Act of 1923.
The exhibition documents the challenges, including red tape and discrimination, faced by early Chinese migrants to B.C.