From left, Ed Coleman, Mandy Kilsby, Anna Kelly and Dr. Mark Yan Wong. (Photo courtesy of Barkerville Historic Town & Park)

Barkerville’s archives help bridge shared Chinese and Canadian histories

Barkerville’s archives will be published by a Chinese publishing house

Unique Chinese and Canadian histories are being shared across the world thanks to a recent project partnership between Guangxi Normal University Press in China and Barkerville Historic Town and Park’s archives in British Columbia.

Thousands of Barkerville’s gold rush-era Chinese-language archival materials will soon be published by the Chinese national publication house in a series of volumes entitled the “Barkerville Archives Collection,” for both Chinese and English language audiences.

Dr. Mark Yan Wong and Anna Kelly — two researchers and freelance editors living in China — received approval from Guangxi Normal University Press to undertake the project, starting in the summer of 2019. Since then, they have worked with Barkerville’s curator Mandy Kilsby and CEO Ed Coleman to administer the project, which is well underway.

“We’ve been honoured to work with Mark and Anna over the past couple of years, as they’ve worked towards permission to commence this exciting project,” said Kilsby.

“Now that it’s actually happening, we look forward to building and maintaining strong ties with Guangxi Normal University.”

This is the first exchange of its kind between Barkerville Historic Town and Park and a Chinese academic publication house.

The project hopes to bring an oft-forgotten piece of history to a Chinese audience eager to reclaim knowledge of its past — especially China’s many international migrations and cross-cultural histories — and specifically the history of Chinese-Canadian relations. Every effort is being taken to ensure the project’s success and to raise awareness of the significant contributions British Columbia’s early Chinese settlers made to the formation of local histories, and to the development of Canada itself.

READ MORE: Celebrating Barkerville’s Chinese heritage

— Submitted by Barkerville Historic Town and Park

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