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Kauffman Museum summer camps offer old favorites and new adventures

September 11th, 2017

NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – Kauffman Museum at Bethel College continues its popular “Uncle Carl’s Camps” program this summer for children ages 4-18.

The week-long, half-day camps allow children to explore a variety of art, natural history and cultural history topics in a hands-on, discovery-oriented environment.

New camps this year are “Minecraft at the Museum” for 9-12-year-olds and “Art and Books for LIFE!” for 9-18 -year-olds. Returning favorites include “Survivor: Prairie” and “Printmaking” for students who have completed grades K-2 and “Little Houses on the Prairie” for preschoolers age 4-5.

“Survivor: Prairie” starts the camp season the week of June 1-5 with an experience that places campers ages 6-8 in tribes. They will learn how native plants, animals, insects and peoples have adapted to life on the prairies of Kansas.

Amber Celestin of Ivy Tech Community College, Bloomington, Indiana, will coach campers on how to outwit, outgrow and outlast the prairie to become Kansas survivors! “Survivor: Prairie” meets from 9-11:30 a.m.

“Exploring Printmaking” the week of June 8-12 allows 6-8-year-olds to explore a variety of simple printmaking techniques.

Printmaking instructor LaDonna Unruh Voth will introduce young artists to many forms of printing from the museum’s collection of paper and fabric artifacts. “Exploring Printmaking” sessions are held 9-11 a.m.

The “Art and Books for LIFE!” camps are a unique collaboration between Kauffman Museum and Books for Life International. Two sessions – one for 9- to 12-year-olds and the other for 13- to 18-year-olds – will be held the week of June 15-19.

Campers will create a book to be published and distributed via Books for Life to children’s libraries in developing countries across the globe.

Nine- to 12-year-olds, under the supervision of LaDonna Unruh Voth, will serve as the illustration team for the project, using the museum’s collection of artifacts as inspiration for the pictures and collages in the book. Campers ages 13-18 will work under the direction of Kathy Schroeder to assist in the design, layout, editing and compilation of the book.

“Art and Books for LIFE!” sessions will be 9-11:30 a.m. for 9- to 12-year-olds and 1-3:30 p.m. for 13- to 18-year-olds.

In “Minecraft at the Museum,” June 22-26, led by teacher Brian Skinner, campers will build structures based upon the popular video game Minecraft.

Campers will study historical time periods and use the visual effects of Minecraft to create models of past societies. The camp will emphasize accurate visual representation; designation of building, job and tool functions; and collaborative work to build a larger historical model.

Campers are encouraged to bring a personal device loaded with Minecraft (the museum will have a limited number of computers to use). “Minecraft at the Museum” meets 9 a.m.-noon.

“Little Houses on the Prairie” the week of June 29-July 2 lets preschoolers (ages 4 and 5) learn about different types of homes from pioneer days.

Kristin Neufeld Epp of New Creation Preschool in Newton and campers will explore who built pioneer homes and where they built them, along with what people did inside the houses.

“Little Houses on the Prairie” meets from 9-11:30 a.m.

Information and registration forms for Uncle Carl’s Camps are available at the museum or on its website, Camps are $65 per camper for museum members, $80 per camper for non-members.

A limited number of need-based scholarships is available. For information on camp scholarships, contact Andi Schmidt Andres at 316-283-1612.

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 current temporary exhibition “Sorting Out Race: Racial Identity and Stereotypes in Thrift Store Donations” as well as 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 to Kauffman Museum members and children under 6. For more information, call the museum at 316-283-1612 or visit its website,, or Facebook page.

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.