When Mah Yick moved his Chinese hand laundry from Salmon Arm's Chinatown to Hudson Street, he ruffled feathers on City Council but the move was strategic. Relocating his business put Mah closer to the three hotels than his competition. It was all about location, location, location.
Drawing on the Salmon Arm Museum’s teaching collection, carefully created reproduction artefacts, and cultural advisor Eugenie Mah, this exhibit illustrates the simple technology, hard work, and entrepreneurial spirit needed to compete in the laundry business in 1912.
Using the story-within- a-story technique, curatorial staff shares an account of Mah’s personal loss when his wife, Jean, died two months after the birth of their second child. Unable to care for his small children, Mah was convinced to send his daughters to the Methodist-run Oriental School in Victoria. In spite of the miles between them, the widower succeeded in keeping his family together.
See how repealing the Chinese Exclusion Act directly affected Mah and his family. A story of triumph, this exhibit concludes with the heartwarming chronicle of Laura Mah, a motherless infant, and her place in national history.
A new addition to the gallery is the “photographic” display Mah’s Town, then and now
Early this spring, photography enthusiasts Wendy and Ian Clay re-shot a selection of landscapes by turn- of- the-century photographer Rex Lingford. Recognizing that earth has been reshaped, that buildings are taller now, and trees now grow where a landscape was barren, this black and white retrospective is a stunning comparison. See how much Mah Yick’s landscape has changed!
More on the Mah family:
Hot off the press: an article by Teresa Bradford, Laura Mah Wong's daughter, one of the first three Canadian born Chinese to receive her citizenship in 1947 from the United Church publication Mandate,
Imagine Salmon Arm covered in dense bush with streams and rivers plugged by beaver dams. 130 years ago this area was inhabited by a few fur traders, squatting settlers, and the Secwepemc, the first people.
When the last Canadian Pacific Railway spike was driven into the ground 45 miles east of this area in 1885, life in western Canada changed. A railway and a communication network spanned the nation. And when trans-continental service began in 1886, Salmon Arm became a stop on the CPR mainline.
Soon the rail service brought settlers and their effects to our community. Within a decade newcomers were exporting fruit, produce, and lumber. By 1914 they were exporting their sons to a war a world away.
This exhibit explores the key role the Canadian Pacific Railway played in Salmon Arm’s early development, its part in communication with the outside world, and how that all changed with the end of trans-continental passenger service.
This exhibit runs until February 2017
Sit back and enjoy a short video with retired telegraph operator
The Salmar Community Association recently made one curator very happy. Its Board of Directors kindly wrote a cheque for exhibit frames for this year's exhibit - a photographic record of the CPR. Thank you Salmar Board!
Watch for the exhibit opening June 26th. There will be lights, sound, and images that will move you! Until then, see you at the Salmar.
The Story of Ruth begins October 5, 1921. The gate swings shut at Asterfield, the farm and residence of Annie Florence and Arthur Adair Brooke. Doctor Connolly arrives on the scene. At 11:30 pm, he examines Mrs. Brooke, sees that his patient is in advanced stages of labour, and decides to take her to the General Hospital in town.
The event that is about to take place is unplanned. With three adult sons, days on the Brooke farm revolve around farming and animals. For more than a decade, life in Salmon Arm is settled. Then a remarkable thing happens - a small miracle. Baby Ruth Adair Brooke is born. Although old enough to be grandparents, her parents are delighted.
The birth takes place on the 6th. Annie gives Ruth her maiden name and Arthur chooses the middle name. Arthur sets to work recording Ruth’s story in small-format books. He paints watercolours like modern parents snap digital images, which places Ruth in the Salmon Valley landscape.
This exhibit contains twenty-eight digitized images from a collection of over 324 tiny paintings. Additional images are located on site in Marjorie's Tea room. The display has been moved to RJ Haney Heritage House and runs from June 1st until the Village closes in September.