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Step back in time at the Mai Wah Museum in Butte

Mai Wah Museum in Butte
Posted at 5:45 PM, Jun 21, 2024

BUTTE — If you want to step back in time, Butte’s Mai Wah Museum located in Chinatown in Uptown Butte is a great place to learn more about early Chinese immigrants.

"It’s a very important part of the story of Butte. It’s a very surprising find in Uptown Butte, especially for people who have a Chinese background," says David Stonehocker, President of the Mai Wah Society.

The Mai Wah Museum features tours from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays that give visitors a peek at Chinese architecture, artifacts, and family photos of Butte’s early residents who provided services like laundries, groceries, herbal doctors, and noodle parlors beginning in the 1870s.

"What you see in our collection is probably about a third of what we actually have in our archive storage. We have lots of things and we like to bring those out and put them on display and we have some plans to do so," says Stonehocker.

Stonehocker says the museum has received about $28,000 this year for replacements of the windows on the east and west sides of the building as well as new roofing and skylights that will help preserve their collection.
"We’ve had visitors from mainland China that are just amazed and so happy that we’re preserving the history of the Chin family and the Chinese of Butte," says Stonehocker.

Later this summer, the Mai Wah Museum plans to work with a Chinese American poet who is based in San Francisco, California, who will visit the Mining City and share her work. The museum’s programming will wrap up in September with a Harvest Festival that was started last year as an end-of-season celebration.

For more about upcoming events you can visitthe Mai Wah Society's webpage.