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Kauffman curator receives top Kansas museums award

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – Chuck Regier, curator of exhibits for Bethel College’s Kauffman Museum, is the recipient of a top award from the Kansas Museums Association (KMA).

Outgoing KMA president Carla Barber, director of McPherson Museum, presented the 2009 Distinguished Service Award to Regier Nov. 6 at the KMA annual meeting in Hutchinson.

According to Georganne White from Geary County Historical Society, the KMA Awards Committee selected Regier in recognition of “25 years of active service as an exhibit designer and fabricator to the Kauffman Museum, as well as education and inspiration to future generations of exhibit designers through the Kansas Museums Association and other professional associations.”

KMA members expressed appreciation for Regier’s outstanding ability to inspire museum colleagues. Susan Hawksworth, director of Smoky Hill Museum in Salina, said, “From one-on-one training to presenting workshops and seminars for KMA, he has shown that good exhibit design is possible on any budget. Chuck’s biggest gift to the field is his enthusiasm for creativity and thinking outside the box.”

Added Dee A. Harris, director of Visual Arts & Humanities at Mid-America Arts Alliance in Kansas City, Missouri, “Chuck is always willing to share his knowledge and experience, brainstorm a solution to someone else’s challenge, or learn a new technique or concept that will improve the quality of his own work.”

Regier began at Kauffman Museum in 1985 as fabricator and technical designer of the permanent exhibition “Of Land and People.” His leadership in exhibition design has generated multiple awards for Kauffman Museum including the highest Award of Merit from the American Association for State and Local History for the traveling exhibit “K is for Kansas” and five KMA Awards for Excellence. Most recently, his StoryTablet design that uses mp3 players for low-cost audio tours received the inaugural Technology Award from the Mountain-Plains Museums Association.

Said Kauffman Museum director Rachel Pannabecker, “Chuck has advocated for museums by creating traveling exhibits that have shown museums across America what a small Kansas museum can do. His collaborative teaching style has encouraged KMA members to find innovative solutions, to do more with less, and to build local capacity. We are pleased that the Kansas Museums Association recognized his significant service to the Kansas museum community through this very special award.”

Regier’s design work can be seen in permanent exhibitions at Kauffman Museum, Stauth Memorial Museum in Montezuma, Chaplin Nature Center near Arkansas City and the El Pomar Foundation Carriage Museum in Colorado Springs, Colo. He has served as a consultant to Hillsboro Museums, Barber County Heritage Center in Medicine Lodge, SantaWorld in Great Bend, Hays Public Library, Marshall County Historical Society in Marysville, Smoky Hill Museum in Salina, Salina Art Center, Grassroots Arts Center in Lucas, Old Depot Museum in Ottawa and Prairie Museum of Art and History in Colby.

Kauffman Museum is located at Main and 27th Streets on the Bethel College campus in North Newton. Regular 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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