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Kauffman Museum continues celebration of Chisholm Trail on Kansas Day

April 16th, 2018

NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – The Chisholm Trail marked its 150th anniversary in 2017, and Kauffman Museum is wrapping up that year with a new special traveling exhibit and some cowboy and Wild West fun on Kansas Day 2018.

The museum’s annual Celebrate Kansas Day!, with the theme “On the Trail Again,” will be Jan. 27 from 1-4 p.m. inside and around the museum, which is located on the Bethel College campus at the corner of Main and 27th streets in North Newton. All Kansas Day activities are free and open to the public.

Starting things off at noon (until 5 p.m.), there will be two food trucks and a food stand in the museum parking lot, with individually priced food and drink items for sale – the LeJ’s BBQ food truck from Newton, Monica’s Homemade Mexican Food Truck from Wichita, and Mojo’s Coffee Bar from North Newton.

Attenders are invited to wear their favorite Western outfit, and to enjoy three special programs, a wide variety of activities inside and out, and the exhibit “The Chisholm Trail: Driving the American West.”

The programs are in the Kauffman Museum auditorium, starting at 1:15 p.m. with “Bluegrass Tunes” by the Regier Family of Newton.

At 2:15, Ryan Flaming, extension agent for Harvey County Agriculture and Natural Resources, presents “Know Your Beef: How to Identify a High-Quality Animal.”

And at 3:15, Kendra Frasier, the brand recorder for the Kansas Department of Agriculture, will speak on “Riding the Brand: A History of Brands in Kansas.”

And be sure to take a look at the live longhorn cattle outside the museum.

In addition, Western-themed outdoor activities include “Wild West ropin’,” bandana tying, cowpie tic-tac-toe, trick roping, a branding station and demonstrations of rope-making and rope-splicing.

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.

Note that some outdoor activities depend on favorable weather.

There are a number of crafts and activities inside the museum, including a return visit by Jesse Chisholm, in the form of Roger Juhnke of North Newton.

The trail namesake (born circa 1805, died 1868) was a mixed-blood Cherokee fur trader. He scouted and developed a trail to supply his various trading posts in Indian Territory (now western Oklahoma), which cattle drovers later dubbed the Chisholm Trail.

You can also meet the Newton Saddle Club Queen and Princess for 2017-18, Rebecca Ring and Paityn Jahay.

Other activities taking place inside: cowboy and cowgirl hat-making; cattle “stamp”ede; beginners’ spoke-shave benches; cowboy card toss; stick-pony barrel racing; horse gear and tack display; “Back in the Saddle” photo op; storytelling corner; a design-your-own-brand station; and a display by Ardent Mills (flour mill in Newton).

Also taking place 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 are a souvenir Santa Fe Trail pocketknife in a custom wood case; a 1930s doll-size embroidered bedcover and pillow; a dime-store “Made in Japan” small china doll; two scrimshaw bolo ties; an antique doll bed; and a repurposed horse collar with a mirror.

Proceeds from the silent auction 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 2018 Celebrate Kansas Day! is supported by a North Newton Community Development Grant, with cooperating partners Bethel College and the Newton Saddle Club.

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.