Mai Wah Society

 The inside of the Wah Chong Tai Co. in 1905

2,500 objects returning to Mai Wah

The loan arrangement with the Montana Heritage Commission, to return a huge collection of cases and artifacts originally in the Wah Chong Tai Mercantile, has been finalized. Read the press release here. Dec. 2010.

Once a busy mercantile, the Wah Chong Tai Company is now quiet. The business has been closed and the shelves have been cleared for decades.

Now, the Mai Wah has begun a project to restock the shelves of the Wah Chong Tai Mercantile.

Efforts are being made to identify artifacts that have been scattered throughout the state and region and to try to bring them home for display in the Mai Wah Museum to exhibit them in the context of a museum that is being developed solely to interpret the influence of Asian immigration to Montana and the Rocky Mountain West.

The Bovey family traveled far and wide to gather buildings and artifacts to recreate Nevada City near Virginia City. One of the places they went to find artifacts to recreate a Chinatown was Butte. When the state of Montana purchased Virginia City and Nevada City from the Boveys a few years ago, they found themselves with more than 100,000 artifacts in the many buildings. In the Chinatown cabins of Nevada City remain many artifacts that were moved there from Butte buildings, including the Wah Chong Tai.

The inside of a cabin in Nevada City. Compare the nameplate in the corner to the one in the 1905 photo above. The nameplate is now on loan to the Mai Wah Museum in its original location.


Recently, Mai Wah Society board members traveled to the McFarland Curatorial Center in Virginia City to discuss the possibility of returning some of the many artifacts from Butte for display in the Mai Wah Museum.

The Mai Wah Society plans to photograph and describe some of these artifacts and then post these on this site to show some examples from the collection of Asian artifacts at Nevada City.

Eventually, we would like to borrow several artifacts originally from Butte from here and elsewhere for a future display in the Mai Wah Museum.