Community

Standing in the Doorway exhibit earns awards

An exhibition that shares the history of Chinese immigration to York Region, Chinese culture and the 100th anniversary of the 1923 Chinese Exclusion Act has received two prestigious awards.

Standing in the Doorway: Lived Histories and Experiences of the Chinese Community received the Canadian Museums Association’s Award of Outstanding Achievement in Audience Outreach, which recognizes exceptional museum programming that advances knowledge and understanding by reaching new audiences or enhancing existing ones.

The three-part virtual and touring exhibition developed by the York Region District School Board (YRSDB) and Markham Museum also received the Archives Association of Ontario, Institutional Award for demonstrating a significant level of innovation and imagination in the establishment of outstanding or model programs or services in a public program.

Standing in the Doorway features artifacts, photographs and stories from York Region community members, and contributions from YRDSB students and educators. It includes a website, travelling community exhibition and an interschool pop-up exhibit.

“As project partners, we are extremely honoured to receive these prestigious awards. This community-driven exhibition could not have been possible without the active participation of over 500 members of the Chinese community in York Region, and we sincerely thank the many advisors, participants, educators, students and families that engaged in its creation,” say Markham Museum Curator Janet Reid and YRDSB Museum & Archives Curator Rebekah Mitchell.

The pair are featured in a YRDSB podcast about the exhibition and the significance of the Chinese Exclusion Act, a piece of legislation that effectively banned the immigration to Canada of Chinese people until 1947. The legislation was repealed following the participation and sacrifice of many Chinese Canadians in the Second World War.

The podcast also features community volunteer Nancy Siew, Markham District High School music teacher Stuart Siu, Nokiidaa Public School Vice-Principal Jadas Lau and students; and University of Toronto’s Museum Studies program students. The exhibition was on display at the Markham Museum from September 2023 through February 2024 and will tour York Region schools and public spaces through 2025. 

Photo is a screenshot from a video highlighting the exhibit. 

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