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Wheels keep turning at Kauffman Museum

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – Bethel College’s Kauffman Museum will celebrate the recent opening of a new special exhibit with a free outdoor event for families.

The public is invited to view “Big Wheels” in the museum parking lot, 27th and North Main Streets in North Newton, Saturday, Nov. 6, from 1:30-4:30 p.m.

This free event will feature large antique and vintage vehicles to go with the theme of the newest indoor special exhibition, “Wheels: Transportation and Toys from the Kauffman Museum Collections.”

“Big Wheels” will include two emergency response vehicles from the Newton Fire Department. Their 1926 fire truck was made by American LaFrance, a major manufacturer of fire apparatus whose early models are now collector’s items. Newton Fire/EMS Chief Gary W. Denny also plans to send the 2009 defensive/rescue vehicle they received last March. The 100´ aerial platform truck is used for high elevation rescue.

Scott Goering of Goering Enterprises, Newton, has restored a 1955 Kenworth 900 semi with flatbed and loader. By 1952, Kenworth trucks were hauling 16 percent of all land-moved freight, an indication of steady growth and increased competition with the railroads. Goering has shown his truck at historical truck competitions in five states.

Another Newton business, Builder’s Concrete & Supply, will display their original cement mixer. Claude and Mark Allen, both of whom are related to the original owners, did the majority of the restoration of this 1956 White Super Power truck.

Indian Motorcycle of Wichita will bring a 2010 Indian for the parking lot show to compare with the 1914 Indian motorcycle in the indoor exhibit. Originally produced in Massachusetts by the Hendee Manufacturing Company, Indian motorcycles were an early industry leader. Bankruptcy stopped production in 2003, but a new company reemerged in North Carolina in 2006. The 2010 models range in price from the Chief Classic at $25,999 to the Chief Vintage at $35,499.

PET KS of Moundridge will show adult and child-size models of their “personal energy transportation” vehicles. These sturdy, simple, low-cost devices have been given to people who have lost legs due to polio, land mine injuries, and the like. Produced by a faith-based, volunteer-driven, nonprofit organization, PET vehicles have been distributed in more than 70 countries around the world from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe.

Bethel College will display a 1957 Nash Metropolitan owned by the late Norman Abrahams. Abrahams overhauled the “Sunburst Yellow” hardtop and drove it in many area parades. The sporty little “Met” was designed as an economical commuter-shopping car. The Abrahams family has donated the vehicle to Bethel to sell with funds going to support the renovation of the Academic Center. Bethel Director of Development Fred Goering noted, “The Abrahams family also donated a 1921 Model T Ford. Both vehicles will be sold after the cars have been appraised.”

Jason Miller of Newton, a member of the Kauffman Museum board of directors, is coordinating the “Big Wheels” afternoon. Miller said that additional antique and vintage vehicles will be included depending on space and weather conditions.

Viewing the “Big Wheels” is free all afternoon. In addition, all children will be admitted free to the indoor “Wheels” exhibit at Kauffman Museum that afternoon when accompanied by an adult (admission $4/adult). “Wheels” will remain on display through Jan. 24, 2010.

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 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 $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 Web site, www.bethelks.edu/kauffman/.

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