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Mai Wah Museum

Butte Montana

Listing Type: Museum
City: Butte Montana
Region: Southwest Montana

Chinese miners came to Butte to work the mines. Later these mines were abandoned as the placer mining era declined, and the Chinese were relegated to work in laundries, domestic services and noodle parlors.

The Mai Wah and Wah Chong Tai buildings are adjacent to China Alley, a narrow thoroughfare between Galena and Mercury Streets in uptown Butte. The Mai Wah is a historic building in what was Chinatown. Once a mercantile and noodle parlor, the building now houses exhibits to interpret Asian history in Butte and the Rocky Mountain West.

In the summer of 2003, the Mai Wah Society, Inc. will host 'Gateway to Gold Mountain,' a traveling exhibition, at the Mai Wah Museum. The exhibit tells the story of Angel Island, the immigration station in San Francisco Bay, the entry point into the United States for more than 175,000 Chinese immigrants between 1910 and 1940.

The exhibition was designed by the Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation, a nonprofit organization founded more than 20 years ago by citizens committed to preserving the deteriorating immigration station barracks. Angel Island is a National Historic Landmark. Many Chinese called the new land of opportunity 'Gam Saan' or Gold Mountain. However, the world they found was very different from the world they imagined. This exhibit discusses the hopes and fears of the immigrants as well as the discrimination they faced trying to gain entry to America.

Directions: Mai Wah is located on West Mercury Street, between Montana and Main Street in uptown Butte.

Mai Wah Museum
17 West Mercury Street, Butte, MT 59703

  • Historic
  • Exhibit
  • Books
  • Gift Shop
  • Registered Historic Site
  • Tour

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