May is Asian Heritage Month and the Royal B.C. Museum is celebrating with online events and a pop-up exhibit.
The museum is sharing stories and experiences of Asian settlers in B.C. as part of an effort to counter the recent rise of anti-Asian hate crimes in the province.
“Understanding each other’s intercultural experiences through stories and material culture empowers us to cultivate empathy and unites us in the work towards our collective goal of social justice,” said Dr. Tzu-I Chung, the museum’s curator of history.
There are two online events later this month: Hidden History of Esquimalt Teahouse is a virtual walk and talk about the history of the Japanese Teahouse in Esquimalt Gorge Park, while Into the Interior is a choose-your-own-adventure, interactive narrative game that follows two Japanese-Canadian siblings as they experience internment during the 1940s.
A pop-up mini-exhibit, Peering into the Past, celebrates Canada’s oldest Chinatown and can be seen at 103-3 Fan Tan Alley.
People can also view a recorded webinar about the Broken Promises exhibit, which will arrive at the museum in 2022. The exhibit, currently at the Nikkei National Museum and Cultural Centre, explores the dispossession of Japanese Canadians in the 1940s.
The museum’s educational resources about the histories of Asian settlers in B.C., including multimedia material about early Chinese Canadian and Punjabi Canadian experiences, can be found on the Learning Portal.
The webinars are free, but registration is required. The Hidden History of Esquimalt Teahouse webinar takes place from noon to 12:30 p.m. on May 20. The Into the Interior webinar runs from 11 to 11:30 a.m. on May 26. The Broken Promises webinar is available now on Youtube.
The University of the Fraser Valley has collaborated on a number of programs that raise awareness of the significant role of South Asian Canadians in B.C.’s history at southasiancanadianheritage.ca.
To register, go to royalbcmuseum.bc.ca.