Image of studentUBC Library provides student employees with unique work experiences and support for skill development. While attending UBC’s School of Library, Archival & Information Studies, Heather Gring had the opportunity to work as a student curator in the Library’s Rare Books & Special Collections division.

Her work on an expansion to the Chung Collection Exhibition, part of an extraordinary collection focusing on early B.C. history, began with research on the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) and the history of Chinese immigration into British Columbia. Gring then selected primary source materials, exploring a range of fascinating material including Sessional Papers of the Dominion of Canada from the 1860s; receipts from the construction of the CPR; ledgers from 1900 of funds aiding Chinese immigrants with the heavy costs of coming to Canada; and photographs of the lives of Chinese Canadians in British Columbia.

“It is incredibly gratifying to have contributed to how UBC staff, students and patrons will explore and utilize the Chung Collection for years to come,” reflects Gring. “In my life, I have been impacted greatly by opportunities to learn from historic primary sources, and I am so happy to have the opportunity to contribute to others’ active learning experiences.”

Her experience was also enriched by the support of Dr. Chung, who was accessible to Gring throughout the project and provided valuable insights into his collection. The Wallace B. Chung and Madeline H. Chung Collection contains more than 25,000 rare and unique items (documents, books, maps, posters, paintings, photographs, silver, glass, ceramic ware and other artifacts). It is free to visit and open to the public.

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