SOHS proudly announces "Courage in the Golden Valley: Southern Oregon Chinese History", SOHS's 2016 annual exhibit. Encompassing objects, photographs, and research from both Jackson and Josephine County, this exhibition seeks to retell the story of the Chinese experience through their own objects and voices as much as possible. Conveniently located at the Rogue Valley Mall, 1600 N Riverside Ave, the exhibit runs from February 6 through April 17, 2016.
Timed to coincide with the Chinese New Year celebration in Jacksonville, this exhibit draws on new research, including local archaeology, to retell the story of a much misunderstood group of people. Historians Bennet Bronson and Chuimei Ho note: “...we find ourselves tiring of victim narratives and think that Chinese-American historiography is not greatly in need of more.” Instead the exhibit highlights the lives and accomplishments of Chinese individuals in an historic context, using interactives to encourage a personal connection to history.
“It’s not enough to only look at the history of the Chinese community,” says Debra Lee, President of the Southern Oregon Chinese Cultural Association. “This SOHS exhibit, Courage in the Golden Valley, helps us appreciate the bounty that the Valley now enjoys because of Chinese labor. They planted fields and built the railroads we use today and developed new efficiencies to reclaim gold from waste tailings.”
The Chinese were among the first settlers to arrive in Southern Oregon, which is the location of the first Chinese community in the Pacific Northwest. Initially drawn by the 1850s gold rush, the work of the Chinese often left a visible impact on the landscape. They could make enough money working in the U.S. to cover all their own expenses and still send $10 a month back to their families in China. In addition to mining they also worked on the railroad, in laundries, as domestic servants, and owned businesses. Their daily lives shaped the region as it
grew into the unique and complex community we participate in today.
As visitors walk through the exhibition, they will encounter different stations focusing on topics such as labor, building communities, and spotlights on individuals. Visitors are invited to read, observe, and explore, questioning their perceptions of the local Chinese experience. Interactives will help visitors to connect their present to this story.
Thank you to our sponsors!
- Southern Oregon University Laboratory of Anthropology (SOULA)
- Southern Oregon Chinese Cultural Association (SOCCA)
- St. Mary's School
- SOHS Foundation
- SOHS Gold Diggers Guild
- The Brydens
- Jacksonville Review
- Southern Oregon Credit Services
- Jacobson, Thierolf, and Dickey, P.C.
- Mary Kay