Chinese immigrant laborers building the Transcontinental Railroad. Courtesy of the San Diego Chinese Historical Museum

The instrumental role of immigrant Chinese workers in building the Transcontinental Railroad some 150 years ago will be examined in an exhibit opening Tuesday at the San Diego Chinese Historical Museum.

Thousands of Chinese were employed by the Central Pacific Railroad to dig and blast a path through the Sierra Nevada to an eventual meeting with the Union Pacific Railroad in Utah.

“The Chinese and the Iron Road” features historical and contemporary photos, illustrations, personal stories from descendants, and bilingual Chinese/English texts. Also on display are artifacts and train memorabilia.

Dr. Russell Low, the descendant of a Chinese railroad worker and a San Diego native, will give a special presentation on Saturday, March 5, at 2 p.m.

The museum is currently celebrating its 20th anniversary. Located 404 Third Avenue in the Gaslamp, it’s open Tuesday through Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. Admission is $5.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.