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Ghosts of the Dam Exhibit: Home

Exhibit produced by the CSUEB Anthropology department showing the tremendous effort it took to create the Lake Chabot Dam in the 19th century.

Show Dates and Location

Exhibit Dates: October 12, 2008 - February 1, 2009

Exhibit Location: CSUEB University Library, Hayward Campus, Upper-Mall

Exhibit Promotional Statement

Discover How Lake Chabot Was Created!

Who Were the Chinese Laborers at Lake Chabot?

Come to the University Library to find out the answers to these and many other fascinating questions!

During 1993-94, the C.E. Smith Museum at CSUEB mounted a major exhibit on the archeological site at Lake Chabot Dam, entitled Yema-po. The site, excavated by students and faculty of the Department of Anthropology, represents the remains of a work camp occupied by the overseas Chinese laborers who constructed the East Bay’s San Leandro Reservoir (Lake Chabot) between 1874 and 1875.

This year, Anthropology students will build upon and re-interpret the original exhibit, using many artifacts from the original dig which have not been seen before. This new exhibit – Ghosts of the Dam – serves as a window into the conditions of Chinese immigrants to California in the years immediately preceding the passage of the 1882 Exclusion Act.

The display will be produced in September, October, and November 2008, and is slated for opening around Thanksgiving.


A CSUEB exhibit, produced by the C.E. Smith Anthropology Museum and Dr. George Miller’s students

Background on 6 Coordinated Exhibits

Six-in-One Exhibit Takes Over the Library!

As you can discern from elsewhere on this page, in 2008 the CSUEB Libraries invited 2 traveling exhibits and 4 CSUEB departmental players to participate in this unique festival centering on the Chinese Experience in California.

What is not so clear is that - at one point when all the exhibits were finally up - they seemed to overtake the library itself:

  • The Lower Mall was dedicated to the Immigration and Bay Area Asians panels, the traveling Remembering 1882 display, and the Asian Student Art Exhibit;
  • The Upper Mall was literally almost filled with the Anthropology-produced Ghosts of the Dam 10' panels and accompanying display cases;
  • Additionally on the Upper Mall, the Art Gallery's Stones & Bones display took over the Librarian's Alcove, and the Gateway to Gold Mountain free-standing panels took a footprint of 15' by 50' on the UM South Wall facing the Courtyard!

To make sense of it at this remote date, we recommend you visit the various component exhibits listed below or under the Past Exhibits tab at the top of this page.

You can link to new LibGuides for individual exhibits in this festival (as the Guides become available, links will be activated):

Traveling Exhibits:

CSUEB-Produced Exhibits:

Hope you enjoy what you see!

- DA

Student-Produced Wall Posters for This Exhibit

Library-Produced Title Posters

Exhibit Producer & Guide

Dick Apple's picture
Dick Apple
I am available for meetings in the Library by appointment.

Please contact Library Administration by phone (below), or email me (preferred).
(510) 885-3664
Website / Blog Page

Exhibit Backstory

The Ghosts of the Dam exhibit was one of six displays that the Library coordinated, starting in Fall Quarter 2008. Each exhibit illuminated some aspect of the Chinese American experience in California, inspired by the visiting show from the Chinese Historical Society in San Francisco: Remembering 1882: Fighting for Civil Rights in the Shadow of the Chinese Exclusion Act, which dealt with the Chinese Exclusion Act of that year.

This particular component of the larger festival of exhibits, dealt with Chinese culture and society as it developed in the East Bay in the late 19th century. The exhibit was the creation of George Miller's museum class in 2007-2008, and was based on work done by Anthropology students on the site of the Lake Chabot Dam. The dig was named Yema-po, and the name is used in the student-produced graphics that comprised the extensive show.

- DA



Producers: George Miller, Marjorie Rhoades-Ousseley

Copyright 2007-2008 by the C.E. Smith Anthropology Museum