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Historian's talk will open new WWI exhibit at Kauffman Museum

April 16th, 2018

NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – As Kauffman Museum at Bethel College prepares to open its special exhibit, it will also host the first of several presentations tied to the exhibit and the centennial of the U.S. entry into World War I.

Rachel Waltner Goossen, professor of history at Washburn University, will give a Sunday-Afternoon-at-the-Museum presentation titled “Voices of Conscience: The Great War and Legacies of Peace Witness,” Sept. 10 at 3 p.m. in the museum auditorium.

This presentation is intended to introduce Kauffman Museum’s new special exhibit, “Voices of Conscience: Peace Witness and the Great War,” which also opens Sept. 10.

The reception for the exhibit follows Waltner Goossen’s talk, at 4 p.m. in the museum.

Goossen has degrees in history from Bethel College (B.A.), the University of California-Santa Barbara (M.A.) and the University of Kansas (Ph.D.).

She taught at Goshen (Indiana) College, 1995-99, and she has been at Washburn since 2000, where she became a full professor in 2007.

Among her honors: the Ron Myers Award for Excellence in Research from Washburn, and the DeBenedetti Prize in Peace History from the Peace History Society, both in 2015, and, in 2017, a Visiting Regional Fellowship from the Hall Center for the Humanities at KU.

She is an author and co-author of numerous articles, essays and books, including Women Against the Good War: Conscientious Objection and Gender on the American Home Front (University of North Carolina Press, 1997); with Robert Kreider, Hungry, Thirsty, A Stranger: The Mennonite Central Committee Story (Herald Press, 1988); and Brick and Mortar: A History of Newton, Kansas (City of Newton, 1984).

The “Voices of Conscience” exhibit and its associated programs are supported in part by a grant from the Kansas Humanities Council, a nonprofit cultural organization that connects communities with history, traditions and ideas to strengthen civic life.

Goossen served as the designated Kansas Humanities Council consultant to the project, reviewing exhibit content and design.

Hers is the first of a series of presentations offering different perspectives on World War I conscientious objectors, whose stories are the subject of “Voices of Conscience.”

A museum staff-led bus tour will happen Sept. 21, with the World War I Museum and Memorial in Kansas City as the centerpiece. Contact the museum before Sept. 13 to reserve a seat.

Oct. 14 at 2 p.m., during Bethel’s Fall Festival, Kauffman Museum hosts a panel discussion, “Remembering the Schowalter Oral History Project,” which collected stories from World War I.

Oct. 18, Duane Stoltzfus from Goshen (Indiana) College speaks at 6 p.m. on “The Story of the Hutterite Martyrs.”

Oct. 29, in another Sunday-Afternoon-at-the-Museum program, Brad Born, Bethel professor of English, explores Pat Barker’s Regeneration, a historical novel about British soldiers during WW1.

Finally, Kauffman Museum presents one of its periodic Third-Thursday films, Nov. 16 at 5:30 p.m. – Behind the Lines, the screen adaptation of Regeneration.

The film night and the programs by Born, Stoltzfus and Goossen are all supported by the Kansas Humanities Council.

All four events take place in the Kauffman Museum auditorium and are free and open to the public. The museum is located on the Bethel College campus at the corner of Main and 27th streets in North Newton.

Constructed as a traveling exhibit, “Voices of Conscience” will be at Kauffman Museum until Oct. 17 (through Fall Festival) before traveling to the World War I Museum and Memorial.

This is for the exhibit to be part of the special conference “Remembering Muted Voices: Conscience, Dissent, Resistance and Civil Liberties from World War I through Today,” Oct. 19-22 at the WWI Museum and Memorial. Learn more at

After two weeks in the Kansas City area (including a special display at Rainbow Mennonite Church), “Voices of Conscience” will return to Kauffman Museum, Oct. 31-Dec. 17.

Regular Kauffman Museum hours are 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, and 1:30-4:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The museum is closed Mondays and major holidays. Admission to the special exhibit and the permanent exhibits – “Of Land and People,” “Mirror of the Martyrs” and “Mennonite Immigrant Furniture” – is $4 for adults, $2 for children ages 6-16 and free for Kauffman Museum members and children under 6.

To sign up for the bus tour, call the museum at 316-283-1612. To learn more about exhibits, programs or museum membership, call during open hours, or visit the Kauffman Museum website,, or Facebook page.

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As the first Mennonite college founded in North America, Bethel College celebrates a tradition of progressive Christian liberal arts education, diversity within community, and lifelong learning.