Nestled among the historic buildings of uptown Butte, Montana is the Mai Wah Museum - an intriguing glimpse into the city's early 20th century Chinese-American history. Once a Chinese merchant shop and community gathering place, today the Mai Wah is a museum and national historic landmark.
Built in 1909, the Mai Wah building catered to Butte's thriving Chinese population during the mining boom. Inside, the museum's period rooms recreate the original noodle parlor, herb shop, and living quarters. Displays chronicle the lives of Chinese immigrants in Butte and the establishment of Chinatown.
Of special note is the ornate theater, which showed Chinese films and hosted community events. Visitors can also browse the Mai Wah's collection of artifacts, mining tools, photographs, and other Chinese-American heritage items.
Guided tours share stories of Chinese immigrants who came to Butte in the late 1800s to work in the mines and open businesses. Visitors learn about the struggles and discrimination they faced, as well as their lasting contributions.
Tours also discuss the importance of family, community, and culture in Butte's Chinese-American community - past and present. From the temple-style architecture to the artifacts on display, the Mai Wah provides an immersive dive into this unique ethnic history.
Throughout the year, the Mai Wah hosts various cultural events from lectures to festivals to share Butte's Asian-American culture and heritage. The museum also offers classes in tai chi, mahjong, calligraphy and more.
For a compelling look at the lives of early Chinese immigrants out West, the Mai Wah Museum is a must-visit Butte attraction.
Here is a local business that supports the community.
Bail City Bail Bonds
130 N Main St, Butte, MT 59701