Museum of Chinese in America (NY) Exhibit

On the Shelves of Kam Wah Chung is an immersive exhibition that celebrates the medical practice of Ing “Doc” Hay who became a prominent figure in eastern Oregon after the California Gold Rush. Practicing out of the Kam Wah Chung & Co. general store in a town called John Day, the exhibition includes Chinese patent medicines developed by the doctor, as well as archival materials such as historical photographs, patient records and correspondences with non-Chinese settlers. In doing so, the exhibition provides an illustration of day-to-day life in the region, and a lesser-known history of Chinese immigration in the Pacific Northwest. 

On the Shelves of Kam Wah Chung General Store and Apothecary in John Day, Oregon
April 26, 2018September 9, 2018
Client: Museum of Chinese in American (New York)


Andrew Rebatta, Associate Curator
Herb Hoi Chum Tam, Curator and director of exhibitions


Design Concept: The design produces an immersive environment that recreates the environment of the apothecary in the richness of color, the density of detail, the scale of space, and a quaint sense of sensual luxury. Large-scale reproductions of photographs of the different rooms and shelves of the apothecary are placed on the walls and on translucent curtains. Object cases are placed on top along with graphic panels to add to a layered effect that produces a boundless immersive space. The curators wished to provide the visitor with an experience conveying the rich heritage of Chinese in America. 
Design Scope:750 sq. ft. 
Re-used existing cases, Graphic murals, printed textile curtains, and direct to medium printed on wood panels. 
The exhibit is in English and Chinese (simplified, Mandarin).

On the Shelves of Kam Wah Chung is organized in conjunction with the Kam Wah Chung Heritage Site, which is maintained by the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department.