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Kauffman Museum to celebrate collectors and collecting on Kansas Day

January 22nd, 2019

WInston Sommerfeld of Country Boys Carriage

Celebrate Kansas Day!, on Saturday, January 26, will feature speakers, programs and activities that are all about collecting.

The museum and grounds will be open from 1-4 p.m. This year's theme is "Collectors, Collecting, Collections," and there are also many old favorites from past Kansas Day events. The museum is located at the corner of North Main and 27th Streets in North Newton.

A program for families, of special interest for teachers, will take place at 11 a.m. in Krehbiel Auditorium in Luyken Fine Arts Center on the Bethel College campus.

Keil Hileman, a history teacher at Monticello Trails Middle School in Shawnee, has been nationally recognized for the way he uses artifacts – of which he has an ever-growing collection – in his classroom.

Hileman will present “Pieces of the Past – Hands-on History.” Like all Kansas Day activities, this is free and open to the public.

Before the museum opens at 1 p.m., come enjoy the food trucks and stands in the museum parking lot. Starting at 11:30 a.m., LeJ’s BBQ, Salted Creamery (ice cream), Mojo’s Coffee and Tacos Ana’s will have food and beverage items for sale until 4:30 p.m.

Afternoon programs begin at 1:15 p.m. in the museum auditorium, when Karen Bauman Schlabaugh, Bethel College professor emeritus of music, will present “Quirky to Sublime: Unique Musical Treasures from Kauffman Museum,” concluding with a brief performance on the museum’s one-of-a-kind Teschemacher-Deknatel-van der Smissen parlor organ.

At 2:15 is “Sci-Fi Enthusiast and Collector” with local retired art educator Raymond Olais.

“I will be talking about not only my collection of robots,” Olais said, “but also how science fiction, science fiction movies, toys and the space race influenced my youth and my eventual love of space toys and related items.”

And at 3:15, plan to bring a favorite antique or odd item for “Stump the Chumps Antiques Edition.”

Retired Kauffman Museum Director Rachel Pannabecker, along with Jerry and Leann Toews of Goessel, long-time antiques collectors and enthusiasts, will try to identify and provide the provenance for items from the audience.

All programs are in the Kauffman Museum auditorium.

In keeping with the collecting theme, there will be a number of collections on display – antique pedal tractors, cookie cutters, teapots, miniature carved boots, Legos®, quilts and much more.

Special activities include book making, a quilt craft, a play-dough table, a robot craft, a Duplo® play station and a “Name that artifact” game.

Returning favorites are popcorn popping over an open fire, the Native American teepee, Bill Moffet’s blacksmithing demonstrations, the woodsmen, corn shelling, wagon rides from Country Boys Carriage, old-fashioned schoolyard games and a chance to visit the restored farmhouse, which will be open and heated.

There will also be rope making, a branding station, a restored band organ and a pedal tractor race course.

Vehicle collectors will have a tractor, truck and car show set up in the museum parking lot, with everything from a 1918 Buick race car to a 1958 Oliver 770 tractor to a 1970s VW camper van.

Because the lot will not be available for visitor parking, plan to park south of Thresher Stadium, in front of Thresher Gym or in the Luyken Fine Arts Center lot.

Note that some outdoor activities depend on favorable weather.

Also from 1-4 p.m. inside the museum are a bake sale and a silent auction of antiques and collectibles, sponsored by Friends of the Museum.

Special items in this year’s auction include a vintage pieced quilt in pastel colors, a miniature Kansas state flag that went into space and a bolo tie with a thunderbird slide.

Proceeds go to the museum’s collections fund, which provides for care of artifacts (for example, conservation, restoration and acid-free storage materials for fragile textiles and papers).

For more information about Kauffman Museum, including regular hours and how to become a museum member, visit its website,, or Facebook page.

Kauffman Museum’s 2019 Celebrate Kansas Day! is supported by a North Newton Community Development Grant, with cooperating partner Bethel College.


About Bethel

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.