NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – Feathered friends are the feature of Kauffman Museum’s new special exhibit “Meet the Beak,” now open through January 20, 2008.
Designed as a learning center, the exhibit includes 34 bird specimens from the Charles J. Kauffman bird collections and hands-on activities for all ages. Visitors are invited to match bird beak types with everyday household tools, play a “feeding” game, listen to bird sounds and contribute bird sightings, cartoons, jokes, comments and drawings.
The focus on exploring the structure and function of bird beaks grew out of a request from USD 373 in Newton for field trips that specifically meet fourth grade science standards. Kauffman Museum curator of education Andi Schmidt Andres and USD 373 curriculum personnel Jill Lachenmayr, Karen Loucks and Lynn Loucks developed activity lesson plans with feedback from Kauffman Museum docents.
The exhibit also features eight porcelain sculptures of North American birds that are being offered in a silent auction. The limited edition sculptures were commissioned by the National Audubon Society and created by the Boehm Studio of Trenton, N.J., and were part of the collection of the late Dallas Voran.
The Boehm display includes the great egret (issued in 1983, the official symbol of the national Audubon Society) and the Baltimore oriole (commissioned in 1995 for a series honoring the disappearing songbirds of North America). All sculptures are Boehm limited editions that have been retired, except for the male blue jay with strawberries.
The silent auction continues until Jan. 18, 2008, at 4:30 p.m., with all auction proceeds to be placed in the Kauffman Museum Collections Fund to support projects that were important to Voran.
In addition to creating the learning center and exhibit, Kauffman Museum has organized public programs to complement “Meet the Beak.” On Fall Festival Saturday, October 6, anyone interested in identifying resident and migratory species is invited to join a 1.5-mile bird walk along Sand Creek Trail, led by veteran local birder Gregg Friesen. Participants should meet at the museum by 7 a.m.
Friday, Oct. 26, the museum’s gala fundraiser, the annual Living Endowment Dinner, will feature nature photographer David Seibel with an illustrated program, “Confessions of a bird paparazzo.” Reservations and pre-payment of $125 per person are necessary for this event.
Another annual event, Five Places of Christmas, takes place Saturday, Dec. 1, 10 a.m-4 p.m., and includes Kauffman Museum, which will feature a come-and-go bird activity free for all ages. Visitors to the museum on that day will make their own pine cone-peanut butter bird feeders to take home.
For information on museum field trip opportunities or public programs or for more details on the Living Endowment Dinner, call the museum at 316-283-1612 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kauffman Museum at Bethel College is located at 27th and Main in North Newton. Regular 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 museum, which also includes admission to special exhibits and the permanent exhibits “Of Land and People,” “Mirror of the Martyrs” and “Mennonite Immigrant Furniture,” is $3 for adults and $1.50 for children ages 6-16. More information is available by calling the museum at 316-283-1612 or visiting its Web site, kauffman.bethelks.edu.