Museum Highlights Chinese Experience During the Gold Rush

LOS ALTOS, CA (July 27, 2021) Among the 49ers seeking their fortune in gold were young villagers sailing from Canton to Gum San, or Gold Mountain, their name for America. In a program titled “Journey to Gold Mountain: Chinese and the Gold Rush,” author and historian Connie Young Yu will talk about the life and times of early Chinese in California and the racial discrimination they faced. Hosted by Los Altos History Museum, the talk is slated for Thursday, Aug 12, from 6-7:30pm.

Connie Young Yu is a fourth-generation Californian and a long-time resident of Los Altos Hills. She has written extensively on Asian American history, and is the author of “Chinatown, San Jose, USA,” and co-author of “Voices of the Railroad: Stories by Descendants of Chinese Railroad Workers.”

”The anti-Asian hate we experience today is deeply rooted in this country, going back to the Gold Rush days of California,” she says. Thwarted by discriminatory laws and racial violence and driven from the mines, the Chinese moved on to other occupations, becoming cooks, laundrymen, levee builders and workers on the railroad that would unite the country. Their experience is often overlooked in Gold Rush history.

The Museum’s current exhibition, “Gold Fever: Untold Stories of the California Gold Rush” highlights the voices of gold seekers who emigrated from all parts of the world. The collection of documents and photos is on display through August 29. The exhibition is organized by Exhibit Envoy in partnership with the California Council for Humanities, in collaboration with the Oakland Museum of California.

Journey to Gold Mountain: Chinese and the Gold Rush,” is a free program offered in person at the Museum and on Zoom. To register, visit Mask wearing is recommended inside the Museum.

Los Altos History Museum began in 1977 with the opening of the J. Gilbert Smith House historic farmhouse, built in 1905. In 2001, the Los Altos History Museum opened its modern building next door, which houses the Museum’s collections, permanent and changing exhibits, store and administrative offices. The Museum and its grounds are available for rent during evenings and weekends. Its collections are owned by the City of Los Altos and are managed by an independent nonprofit organization, whose staff and volunteers are responsible for all programs and operations.

The Museum is open Thursday through Sunday, from noon-4pm. Admission is free. Tours of the J. Gilbert Smith House are available during open hours subject to docent availability. The gardens, outdoor agricultural exhibits and picnic area are accessible beyond Museum hours. For more information, visit:, email, or phone 650.948.9427 x14.

Media Contact:
Los Altos History Museum: Elisabeth I. Ward, 650.948.9427 x10,