MARYSVILLE (CBS13) — This weekend is the grand opening of the Bok Kai Temple Museum, which showcases Chinese artifacts more than a century old.
The Bok Kai Temple in Marysville dates back to the Gold Rush, but hundreds of its historical items were sitting in storage.
“It really just broke my heart that all of these artifacts and these pieces of history and people’s stories were just hanging out in boxes and no one would know anything about them,” Heather Young, Bok Kai Museum Project Manager, said.
Now with the help of volunteers and San Jose State Anthropology students, some of the oldest Asian artifacts in America are on display for all to see.
“I want schools and children to come in and be able to learn this type of history because they’re not going to learn it in school,” Young said.
The most prominent piece on display is Moo Lung, a restored dragon that had been the centerpiece of Chinese parades for decades.
“He was hanging out in a crate for a long time,” Young said.
Temple elders say it’s nice to be able to show off Moo Lung to new generations.
“I think if you watch their eyes, they kind of light up, they’re amazed at the craftsmanship that went in to make him,” Rick Lim said.
There’s a lot more to see from tiny teacups and a silk purse to Chinese miner hats and giant sedan chairs used to hold gods in the annual Bok Kai parade
“I feel that once people know about it, it’s going to bring a lot of visitors,” Yuba Sutter Tourism Coordinator Cynthia Paine said.
The temple raised more than $50,000 for the museum and they’ve been thrilled by the support.
“There are people that I’ve never even met, that I don’t think have ever even been to Marysville, or been to the Bok Kai temple, but because of the fact that they truly believed in the Chinese history and what was happening here, they were more than willing to help,” Young said.
The museum opens just in time for the 140th annual Bok Kai festival this weekend — one of the oldest, continuously-held parades in California.