The Bok Kai Temple in Marysville, Calif. has decided to create a museum to tell the story of Chinese immigrants during the California Gold Rush.
The temple has silk robes, pottery and an altar, among 300 to 500 artifacts that date to the 1850's.
They show the colorful history of the Chinese in northern California. But, the items have been in boxes for years in a storage room in downtown Marysville – until now.
A group of San Jose State students is identifying and cataloguing the items as part of a master's program.
Heather Young is the project manager for the Bok Kai Temple. She says it plans to display the artifacts.
"This is such a historical site and is so rich in story that we don't give it enough attention," Young says. "And for it to be in our back yard and not have school or any other community organizations really know about it is sad."
But, there may be some significant costs associated with the rooms where the items would be kept.
There are piles of brick dust at the base of some of the walls.
"The way they were made back in the 1800's, mid 1800's, the brick itself is not as strong as the actual mortar that is around it."
Some of the walls have been painted over the years and have not deteriorated as much.
A renovation of a temple in Oroville with similar problems cost about half-a-million dollars.
The Bok Kai temple has raised more than $40,000 for the project since March.