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Exhibit innovation to be unveiled at Kauffman Museum

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – At the annual meeting of the Kauffman Museum Association, staff of the Bethel College museum will demonstrate an innovative design for an exhibit crating system that turns inside out to become a display system.

The meeting takes place Sunday, Sept. 14, at 3:30 p.m. at the museum on the Bethel College campus in North Newton and is open to the public.

Chuck Regier and Joel Gaeddert, Kauffman Museum exhibit designers, are developing the modular crate-into-display system for a traveling exhibition organized by ExhibitsUSA (EUSA) of Kansas City, Mo.

Founded in 1988, EUSA annually offers art and humanities exhibitions to museums nationwide. EUSA is currently developing the traveling exhibit “Lee and Grant,” originated by the Virginia Historical Society to coincide with the 200th anniversary of the birth of Robert E. Lee. The traveling version will trace the lives, careers and historical impact of Lee and Ulysses S. Grant, to encourage visitors to assess the historical significance of these two Civil War generals today.

EUSA contracted with the Kauffman Museum team to design the traveling exhibit system for “Lee and Grant.” “Several years ago, I designed a traveling exhibit for Mennonite Disaster Service in which the shipping crates served as the display system,” Regier said. “Our current challenge is to evolve this concept into a system in which the crates become refined units that accommodate historical artifacts, large graphics and interactive elements.”

Kauffman Museum’s work with EUSA is part of the museum’s mission to share its expertise with other museums. In addition, said Kauffman Museum Director Rachel Pannabecker, “This contract provides another revenue stream that helps stabilize our finances so we can better serve the local community.”

Merle Schlabaugh, Newton, professor of German at Bethel College and newly confirmed president of the Kauffman Museum Association, will chair the annual meeting. Other members of the Executive Committee are Vice President Glen Ediger, North Newton, and Secretary Joanna Friesen, Newton, who was recently elected to her second three-year term on the board.

The annual meeting will also include recognition of out-going board members John Fast, Goessel, and Brad Guhr and Marathana Prothro, both of Newton, and a tribute to the late Oswald Goering, Moundridge, director of Kauffman Museum from 1977-84 who was serving on the board at the time of his death on Feb. 1 of this year. Newly elected to the Kauffman Museum Association board are Shelley Black and Jason Miller, both of Newton, Barb Goering, Goessel, and Richard Siemens, M.D., North Newton.

Regular Kauffman Museum hours are 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Tues.-Fri., and 1:30-4:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The museum is closed on Mondays and major holidays. Admission to the museum, which also includes admission to 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. For more information, call the museum at 316-283-1612 or visit its Web site,

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