Chinese Canadian Museum Takes Highlights of Feature Exhibition “The Paper Trail to the 1923 Chinese Exclusion Act” on the Road

Toronto, Ontario Toronto Reference Library – May 6
Gatineau, Quebec — Canadian Museum of History – May 23
St. John’s, Newfoundland — The Rooms – May 29
Halifax, Nova Scotia — Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 – May 31

CCM Paper Trail with Catherine Clement

Photo: Curator Catherine Clement presenting the Chinese Canadian Museum’s feature exhibition “The Paper Trail to the 1923 Chinese Exclusion Act” during the museum’s grand opening on July 1, 2023.

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, April 18, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Chinese Canadian Museum (CCM) is pleased to announce they will be taking highlights of their feature exhibition The Paper Trail to the 1923 Chinese Exclusion Act on the road across Canada this May in recognition of Asian Heritage Month. A special video tour of the national exhibition located in the museum’s historic Wing Sang Building has been produced especially for this East Coast tour.

As Canada’s first Chinese Canadian Museum, the museum provides a meaningful and transformative experience for all, connecting Canadians to the diverse and eclectic stories and contributions of generations of Chinese Canadians, past and present — with an eye to the future. The museum’s goal is to foster respect, understanding, inclusion, and collaboration, and serve as a place where people can gather to bridge cultures, communities, and generations.

Nearing the one-year anniversary of its official opening, the Chinese Canadian Museum is partnering with major museums across Canada to introduce the cultural institution to new audiences, sharing important stories of Chinese Canadians and their contributions and sacrifices in helping build the Canada it is today. This cross-Canada road trip is made possible through the support of the Government of Canada.

The cross-Canada road trip is scheduled to be in:

“We are honoured to be bringing highlights of our feature exhibition The Paper Trail to the 1923 Chinese Exclusion Act to new Canadian audiences across the country,” explains Dr. Melissa Karmen Lee, CEO of the Chinese Canadian Museum. “Curated by renowned researcher and historian Catherine Clement, the exhibition explores the period of the Chinese Exclusion Act (1923-1947) and its tragic consequences on an entire community, a history that not all Canadians are aware of, which is why it’s important for us to take this exhibition on the road and share it with the rest of the country.”

The Paper Trail exhibition takes an unflinching look at Canada’s exclusion years from 1923 to 1947 when the head tax and immigration certificates were imposed, which prevented Chinese immigrants from entering Canada. It reveals haunting stories of loss, despair and fear, as well as powerful examples of courage and perseverance despite incredible odds. The exhibition incorporates over four hundred Chinese Immigration (C.I.) certificates: the most ever displayed publicly in one show. Community partners across the country have been hosting scanning events for individuals to document and contribute C.I.s from their families to the growing, online archive.

Catherine Clement is an award-winning community curator whose work focuses on uncovering and sharing the lesser-known stories of the Chinese Canadian community. She has curated exhibitions for the Chinese Canadian Military Museum, and she provided art direction for the Chinatown History Windows: a project that brought history to the streets through the installation of 22 large storefront window murals around Vancouver Chinatown.

“We are excited to be taking a ‘road trip’ version of the exhibition in the form of a video tour to showcase the immense gallery spaces the exhibition is housed in since not everyone can physically visit the museum in person in Vancouver Chinatown,” says Catherine Clement, guest curator of The Paper Trail exhibition. “What many don’t know is that this time period was the only time in Canadian history that one group was barred from entry based solely on their ethnicity and country of origin.”

Clement’s curatorial team spent hundreds of hours researching and crowdsourcing from families across Canada whose ancestors lived through this tragic period. They scoured the pages of old Chinese and English newspapers, sifted through clan society archives, examined personal correspondences, waded through coroners’ reports, culled through newly released government records, and tapped the memories of hundreds of families across every region of Canada.

CCM has also been collaborating with community partners in various cities who have been researching and hosting their own public displays and talks, and facilitating community-based research to examine how their regions were affected by the Chinese Exclusion Act period. These regional programs are taking place in Montreal, Toronto, Edmonton, and Victoria.

The Chinese Canadian Museum is made possible by significant contributions from the Province of British Columbia, the Government of Canada through the Department of Canadian Heritage and the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada, the City of Vancouver, and many private donors from across Canada.

For more event details and background on the museum’s exhibitions, visit

About the Chinese Canadian Museum |
The Chinese Canadian Museum Society of British Columbia is an independent, non-profit organization established in March 2020 to create a museum honouring and sharing Chinese Canadian history, contributions, and living heritage. Guided by its mission statement “Connecting to the Chinese Canadian story – addressing inclusion for all”, the Chinese Canadian Museum aspires to provide an invigorating and transformative experience for present and future generations through its exhibitions and educational programming throughout B.C. and Canada.

The first of its kind in Canada, the Chinese Canadian Museum is located in Vancouver Chinatown in the historic Wing Sang building, with a second temporary location at Fan Tan Alley in Victoria, B.C.

Instagram: @ccmuseumbc Facebook: @ChineseCanadianMuseum Linkedin: @ChineseCanadianMuseum

Media contact: Yvonne Chiang,

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at