Skip to Content

Innovative Exhibit Invites Chinese to Touch BC History

Barkerville Historic Town | Box 19 | Barkerville, BC | V0K 1B0 |

Contact: Dirk Van Stralen | Office: 250-994-3302 ext. 38 | Cell: 778-284-8776 | Email:

Innovative Exhibit Invites Chinese to Touch BC History

In a ground-breaking exhibit that fuses cutting-edge technology with history, Chinese citizens will have the opportunity to identify ancestors who journeyed to Barkerville, British Columbia during the gold rush of the 1860s.

Who Am I? Bridging the Pacific from Guangdong to Barkerville and Back opens at Sun Yat-Sen Gardens in Vancouver December 13 to January 11, before embarking on an eighteen month tour to Hong Kong and Guangdong Province in China. The exhibit invites visitors to explore Barkerville’s extensive collection of historic photographs through over 60 panels of beautifully displayed photos and stories and two interactive computer kiosks.  At the kiosks, visitors will have the opportunity to fill in the blanks by identifying their ancestors as they swipe through the collection of 1400 images using a unique iPad interface.

“Barkerville’s extensive historic photographs, featuring many from the Chow Dong Hoy collection, are a rich catalogue of the Chinese population in Barkerville, and a testament to the significant contributions they made to the success of the town,” says curator Bill Quackenbush, “but we know little about them, who they were, and what their connections were to their families in China. This is our attempt to mitigate that as well as to inform them and the people of Guangdong of their ancestor’s role in the development of British Columbia.”

“As a National Historic Site of Canada and one of BC’s Heritage Properties, Barkerville has always prided itself on its ability to give a social context to our explanation of our history,” adds CEO Judy Campbell. “This combination of technology and history is one of those rare instances when innovation has the potential to bring us closer together. If we are able to identify even one of the subjects in this collection, this exhibit will be a resounding success.”

Barkerville’s collections have an increasingly important role to play in building bridges between cultures and linking our past to our future. Barkerville has been praised by Chinese officials for its excellence in preserving and presenting the history of the Chinese immigrants. The buildings, photographs and archival material tell stories that have been lost on the other side of the Pacific.

The goals of this Exhibit are to create important links for research and communication with museums and academic institutions on both sides of the Pacific, to enhance awareness of Barkerville in China, and to increase tourism to BC and Canada. As Canada looks to China for new markets, Barkerville’s strong cultural connection is an asset and presents an opportunity to showcase and contribute to mutually beneficial objectives.

Dirk Van Stralen | Marketing and Communications Specialist

B  A  R  K  E  R  V  I  L  L  E     H  I  S  T  O  R  I  C     T  O  W  N
Box 19 | Barkerville, BC | V0K 1B0
250-994-3302 ext. 38 | 888-994-3332 toll free | 250-994-3435 fax