BC Library’s Chung Collection has been added to the Canadian Commission for UNESCO’s Canada Memory of the World Register in recognition of its historical value. Showcasing the most significant documents of our heritage, UNESCO’s Memory of the World program is an international initiative launched to safeguard the documentary heritage of humanity against collective amnesia, neglect, the ravages of time and climatic conditions, and wilful and deliberate destruction. It calls for the preservation of valuable archival holdings, library collections and private individual compendia all over the world for posterity, the reconstitution of dispersed or displaced documentary heritage, and the increased accessibility to and dissemination of these items. In being added to the Canadian register, the Chung Collection joins a short list of Canadian works and documentary collections including the Canadian Pacific Railway Company Fonds, The Vancouver Island Treaties and Witnesses of Founding Cultures: Early Books in Aboriginal Languages (1556-1900).
The Wallace B. Chung and Madeline H. Chung Collection was donated to UBC Library by the Chung Family in 1999. The family added a second significant donation to the collection in 2014 and has continued to donate items over the years. Inspired to start collecting by an illustrated poster of the Canadian Pacific Railway Company’s steamship R.M.S. Empress of Asia in his father’s tailor shop in Victoria, Dr. Wallace B. Chung amassed more than 25,000 items over sixty years. The collection consists of textual records, maps, artefacts, books and other materials and focuses on three main themes: early British Columbia history and exploration, the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR), and early immigration and settlement, with a particular focus on the Chinese experience.
The Chung Collection is housed in Rare Book and Special Collections in the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre at UBC Library and is available to scholars and members of the public in British Columbia and beyond. Weekly drop-in tours are held every Wednesday at 11 a.m. For more information, take a look at the library update here.