People in China are now staring into the face of Barkerville's history.
The local national historic site's modern day caretakers are hoping recognition will spark from halfway around the world and more than 100 years back in time.
Back when Barkerville was a bustling 19th century boomtown, it was known for timber, cattle, small business but most importantly Cariboo gold which came first. There was a rush of miners to the area, the most famous being Billy Barker who hit the mother load and launched that whole chapter in our region's history.
There was also a rush of entrepreneurs to service the mining frenzy. Those lines were drawn thickly between the Cariboo and China. So significant was China's role in Barkerville's socio-economic profile that its extensive photographic record is now on tour across China.
Part of the travelling exhibition's purpose is to bring attention to the tourist destination that Barkerville is, today. Part of the goal is to mine for recognition and information.
Barkervilles 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, said 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 ancestors role in the development of British Columbia.
Guangdong is the province of China that had the most interaction with Barkerville back in its heyday. The 1,400 images in the exhibition will be shown at public galleries and museum spaces in China, including Hong Kong and Guangdong. It will be displayed in cities like Taishan, Kaiping and Jiangmen. Some of the features are panel-sized portraits and another feature is an iPad interface for quick, compact viewing.
This combination of technology and history is one of those rare instances when innovation has the potential to bring us closer together," said Barkerville CEO Judy Campbell. "If we are able to identify even one of the subjects in this collection, this exhibit will be a resounding success.
"Barkerville's Chinatown is world renowned. It is the oldest one in B.C., one of the oldest in North America," said federal Minister of Heritage and Official Languages James Moore.
The Barkerville junket to China opened this week and runs until April 15.