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Kauffman Museum to open new gallery

September 11th, 2017

NORTH NEWTON, KAN. - Kauffman Museum announces the grand opening of new exhibit space. Scheduled for 3:30 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 14 at the museum on the Bethel College campus in North Newton, the event will open a permanent home for the traveling exhibit "Mirror of the Martyrs." Admission to the grand opening is free and open to the public. Construction of the addition, measuring 30 feet by 60 feet, was supported by the Donald Harder Trust, an attraction development grant from the Kansas Department of Commerce and Housing/Travel and Tourism Development Division, patrons of the Mirror of the Martyrs Trust, grants from Schowalter Foundation and Goodville Mutual Casualty, and contractor Jim Yoder of Burch Construction.

"We invite the public to join us in celebrating the vision of these donors and the completion of the building project," says Rachel Pannabecker, museum director.

The ribbon-cutting will follow a 30-minute public program on the traveling exhibit "Mirror of the Martyrs," which will have a permanent home in the new gallery when it is not on the road. The exhibit is based on the 16th century book "Martyrs Mirror of the Defenseless Christians" by a Dutch Mennonite named Thieleman J. van Braght. The book tells the story of Christian martyrs from the time of Christ through the Reformation and, in many Mennonite communities, has been the most widely read book next to the Bible.

The exhibit was developed by Mennonite historians Robert Kreider, North Newton, and the late John Oyer, who was from Goshen, Ind., after the discovery of 30 of the original copper plates used to illustrate the 1685 edition.

Exhibit's Traveling History Since the exhibit's debut at Kauffman Museum in 1990, "Mirror of the Martyrs" has appeared in 65 sites in 22 U.S. states and five Canadian provinces. The exhibit has been seen by more than 50,000 persons in settings such as an Amish barn in Indiana, the Canton Art Institute in Ohio, City Hall in Atlanta, Ga., and numerous churches, college galleries and libraries. "Mirror of the Martyrs" was last displayed at Kauffman Museum in a January 1999 return visit.

David Kreider, a museum employee, has overseen and coordinated the exhibit's travel schedule. "The exhibit has had a dozen busy years traveling," David Kreider says. "I am pleased that it has a new home at Kauffman Museum and can inspire a new generation of viewers in our community."

Prints for Sale A limited number of prints made from the original copper plates etched by Jan Luyken for the 1685 edition of "Martyrs Mirror" will be available for purchase. The prints were made on a hand press on high-quality, acid-free rag paper by artist Stanley Kaufman of Berlin, Ohio, in 1990 and 1991.

Two prints will be sold by silent auction to raise funds for the new gallery. The prints are "Maria and Ursula van Beckum--Noble Family Divided" and "Augustijn the Baker--An Anabaptist Loses His Protective Cover." They were donated by Herbert Regier, Silver Spring, Md., Mirror of the Martyrs patron and Kauffman Museum member.

Annual Meeting Preceding the grand opening will be the Kauffman Museum Association Annual Meeting at 2:30 p.m., Sept. 14. President Floyd Bartel will recognize board members Elbert Esau of rural Newton, Sue Ann Jantz of North Newton, and Norma Wiens of Newton, who served two three-year terms, and Kay Neff of Sedgwick, who served one term. New members recently elected to the Museum Association board are Melvin D. Epp of Whitewater, Merle Schlabaugh and Sharon Schmidt of Newton, and Alice Suderman of North Newton.

Museum hours are 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. on weekends. Regular admission is $3 for adults, $1.50 for children (ages six to 16). For more information, call Kauffman Museum at (316) 283-1612.

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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.