JOHN DAY - Staff and volunteers at Kam Wah Chung and Company Museum have plenty to crow about, as the museum and interpretive center prepares to open next Wednesday, May 1.

Monetary awards top the list. The Friends of Kam Wah Chung received four of the five grants they applied for: three totaling $19,000 from Oregon's State Heritage Preservation Office, and one for $2,000 from U.S. Bank in John Day.

They also received surprise help from the Oregon Community Foundation: a $5,000 donation from the Fred and Suzanne Fields family.

The financial boost is assisting the group with the monumental task of unraveling and conserving 21 bound rolls of paper recorded material, handwritten and in Chinese, by herbal doctor Ing "Doc" Hay and his fellow businessman Lung On. According to museum curator Christina Sweet, the documents are a combination of store and medical records.

The pair of Chinese immigrants ran the general store and apothecary at Kam Wah Chung in the late 1800s-1940s.

The documents have been in boxes all these years, and had sustained extensive mouse damage, and seemed beyond salvage.

The Friends hired Susan Lunas, a paper conservator with Eugene-based Many Moons Book Conservation. Lunas used a process involving several steps - washing, stabilizing and flattening - to restore the papers, which were then placed in protective sleeves.

The paperwork still needs to be digitized, archived and translated.

Meanwhile, the Friends expect to have over 100 items, including several new books, for sale in the gift shop this year.

Among the items is former longtime curator Carolyn Micnhimer's long-awaited book, "Anecdotes and Antidotes: 25 Years at Kam Wah Chung," as well as a DVD from her many years of giving tours at the museum.

For more information about the Friends of Kam Wah Chung or the museum, call 541-575-2800.

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