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Kansas legends and folktales will be final Chisholm Trail program at museum

April 16th, 2018

NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – Kauffman Museum’s final program connected to its Chisholm Trail exhibit will take place in Krehbiel Auditorium in Luyken Fine Arts Center on the Bethel College campus.

Jim Hoy, Emporia State University, will present “Kansas Legends and Folktales” at 3 p.m. The venue is different because of an expected larger-than-usual audience, said Andi Schmidt Andres, Kauffman Museum curator of education.

The museum will have extended hours that afternoon, 1:30-5 p.m., to accommodate visitors to “The Chisholm Trail: Driving the American West,” which will be open free of charge.

That day there will also be a closing reception for the exhibit (which stays open one more week, however), “so everyone is invited to come and have a Cowboy Cookie – former First Lady Laura Bush’s recipe – before or after the 3 p.m. program,” Andres said.

The program is being made possible in part by a Kansas Humanities Council Speakers Bureau grant. The KHC is a nonprofit organization that connects communities with history, traditions, and ideas to strengthen civic life.

Jim Hoy earned a Ph.D. in medieval English literature from the University of Missouri-Columbia. He is a professor of English and the director of the Center for Great Plains Studies at Emporia State University.

Hoy is an authority on the folklife of ranching, a topic on which he has lectured internationally. His publications include 17 books and more than 150 articles. He is the co-author of “Plains Folk,” a syndicated newspaper column.

Hoy is a charter member of the Kansas Humanities Council Speakers Bureau, serving since 1985.

Additional funding for this KHC Speakers Bureau program was provided by the Lewis H. Humphreys Charitable Trust, Bank of America, N.A., Trustee.

The Chisholm Trail, which crosses Harvey County, including what is now the Bethel College campus, fundamentally changed the American West, leading to, among other things, the birth of the cowboy as icon and the revival of the cattle industry.

The trail helped shape popular culture by altering how Americans, and the world, thought of the American West and the individuals who lived there.

The Chisholm Trail: Driving the American West” developed as a celebration of the 150th anniversary, in 2017, of the Chisholm Trail. The traveling exhibit is a collaboration between Symphony in the Flint Hills and Flint Hills Design of North Newton with major sponsorship from Lost Trail Soda.

The exhibit invites visitors of all ages to explore the Chisholm Trail from its inception in the late 1860s to today.

Exhibit highlights include a comprehensive and accessible synthesis of new and existing research on the Chisholm Trail; a musical exploration of the cowboy song “The Old Chisholm Trail”; clips from films, such as The Old Chisholm Trail and Red River, that reference the trail; and several artistically rendered life-size longhorn cattle formed from blackened steel. Younger visitors can create their own brands with the “Brand Your Beeves” interactive station.

“The Chisholm Trail: Driving the American West” closes at Kauffman Museum April 1, Easter Sunday, when the museum will be open 1:30-4:30 p.m.

Kauffman Museum is open Tues.-Fri., 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Sat. and Sun. 1:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m. (extended to 5 p.m. March 25), closed Mondays and most major holidays. Admission to “The Chisholm Trail” special exhibit, as well as the permanent exhibits “Of Land and People” and “Mennonite Immigrant Furniture,” is $4 for adults, $2 for children ages 6-16, and free to Kauffman Museum members and children under 6 (free to all March 25). The museum store is open the same hours as the museum but there is no admission charge for just visiting the store.

For more information, call the museum at 316-283-1612 or visit its 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.