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Office Phone (x0):
(316) 283-1612

Office Location:
Kauffman Museum

Rachel Pannabecker

  • Emeritus director of Kauffman Museum
  • Education:
  • B.A., Comprehensive Spanish/History, Bluffton University, 1971
  • Ph.D., Textiles and Clothing/Cultural Anthropology, Ohio State University, 1986


Rachel Pannabecker retired from Kauffman Museum in October 2014. She had served for more than 30 years – as collections manager, then curator, then museum director while teaching occasional courses in the social sciences at Bethel. She continues at Kauffman Museum as special projects volunteer.

At the museum, Rachel works with an interdisciplinary exhibit team to develop special exhibitions, ranging from “K is for Kansas” to “Threshing Stone: Mennonite Artifact & Icon.” She contributed to the teams that created the exhibits “Sorting Out Race: Examining Racial Identity and Stereotypes in Thrift Store Donations” and “Voices of Conscience: Peace Witness in the Great War,” both of which received the Leadership in History Award from the American Association for State and Local History (AASLH).

Rachel also worked with the Kauffman Museum Services Group to develop and install permanent exhibitions at the Stauth Memorial Museum in Montezuma, Kan., the El Pomar Foundation Carriage Museum (now the Penrose Heritage Museum) in Colorado Springs, Colo., and the McPherson (Kan.) Museum.

Rachel and the late Ethel Ewert Abrahams published their research on tobacco novelties, “Better Choose Me: Addictions to Tobacco, Collecting, and Quilting, 1880-1920,” in Uncoverings (2000) following a presentation to the American Quilt Study Group.


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.