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Museum Day offers free admission to special exhibits

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – The exhibit of photos from small towns of Kansas by Bob Regier, currently on display at Bethel College’s Kauffman Museum, will be up only until the beginning of October, but you have an opportunity this weekend to see it free of charge.

Or if you haven’t seen the special displays at the Harvey County Historical Museum (HCHM), including a piano with World War II history, Saturday is your chance.

Sept. 26, Kauffman Museum and HCHM will participate in the Smithsonian Institution and Smithsonian magazine’s annual Museum Day.

Smithsonian’s Museum Day is a celebration of culture, learning and the dissemination of knowledge, meant to reflect the spirit of the magazine and emulating the free-admission policy of the Smithsonian Institution’s Washington, D.C.-based properties.

Besides the special exhibit “Considering the commonplace: Prairie towns through the lens of Bob Regier,” Kauffman Museum also features the permanent exhibits “Mennonite Immigrant Furniture”; the long-running, award-winning exhibit on pioneer life in and Mennonite migration to central Kansas, “Of Land and People”; “Mirror of the Martyrs,” early Anabaptist and Mennonite history; a tallgrass prairie reconstruction site; and a historic farmstead with house, barn and windmill.

Kauffman Museum director Rachel Pannabecker noted, “This is our fourth year to support Smithsonian magazine’s event. Although we are hundreds of miles away from Washington, D.C., participating in Museum Day is our way of showing our commitment to preserving our nation’s history.”

For more information, contact Kauffman Museum on the Bethel College campus, 2801 North Main Street in North Newton, 316-283-1612 or, or check the museum Web site at Kauffman Museum is open Saturday from 1:30-4:30 p.m.

Said Debra Hiebert, HCHM director, “We are pleased to find the opportunity for museum fans to visit museums close to home.” Visitors can see the current rotating exhibitions “An Accomplished Young Lady” and “Art and Architecture.” Also on display is the USO piano with more than 2,000 signatures of servicemen who passed through Newton in the 1940s. The piano leaves Oct. 8 for New Orleans where it will be on display for five months at the National World War II Museum.

For more information, contact Harvey County Historical Museum, 203 N. Main Street in Newton, 316-283-2221, or check their Web site at HCHM is open Saturday from 1-4 p.m.

Last year, upwards of 200,000 people attended Museum Day nationwide, with all 50 states plus Puerto Rico represented by more than 900 participating museums. This year, the magazine expects to attract over 1,000 museums.

In addition to Kauffman Museum and HCHM, other area museums observing Museum Day include the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum, Abilene; Lake Afton Public Observatory, Goddard; Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center, Hutchinson; Birger Sandzén Gallery, Lindsborg; Salina Art Center; and, in Wichita, Botanica, Exploration Place, Lowell D. Holmes Museum of Anthropology, Kansas Sports Hall of Fame, Mid-America All-Indian Center, Old Cowtown Museum, Ulrich Museum of Art on the Wichita State University campus, Wichita Center for the Arts and Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Society Museum.

Pannabecker noted that the Kansas Sports Museum had planned to participate, but has not yet moved into its new home at the Chisholm Trail Outlet Mall. “The Kansas Sports Museum will add a new dimension that will complement the stories we tell at Harvey County Historical Museum and Kauffman Museum,” Pannabecker said. “We are excited to see that the Kansas Sports Museum shares our outreach philosophy.”

See for a complete list of participating Kansas museums (scroll down for “Venues by state”).

To download your Museum Day admission card, visit Attendees must present the card to gain free entry to participating institutions. Each card provides museum access for two people, and one admission card is permitted per household.

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