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Kansas Day program to highlight state’s resources

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – A favorite family event at Kauffman Museum on the Bethel College campus will focus on Kansas resources.

The museum’s 15th annual Celebrate Kansas Day!, this year marking Kansas’ 151st birthday, is Saturday, Jan. 28, from 1:30-4:30 p.m., with the museum and all special activities and exhibits free and open to the public.

“This year we’ll highlight Kansas resources,” said Andi Schmidt Andres, Kauffman Museum curator of education and Celebrate Kansas Day! coordinator. “As we began planning for this year, we realized there are many more resources in Kansas than we could ever cover in one day.

“We’re just scratching the surface of what Kansas has to offer. We’ve focused on natural resources, but we are also bringing in some agricultural, human and cultural resources.”

The three special presentations of the afternoon begin at 1:45 in the museum auditorium, with Gary Histand, Bethel College professor of chemistry, highlighting Kansas limestone, helium and natural gas in “The Wonderful World of Chemistry.” Histand is known for his signature tie-dyed lab coats and for the ways in which he makes chemistry fun to watch and do.

At 2:45 p.m., Hesston musician Ken Rodgers, a member of the Hesston College music faculty, will lead a “Home on the Range Sing-Along” with the museum’s 262-year-old Teschemacher-Deknatel-van der Smissen organ, which is a Kansas cultural resource and treasure in itself.

The final presenter, at 3:45 p.m., is Paul Friesen of Hesston, former Bethel art faculty and emeritus member of the Hesston College art faculty, who will give a pottery demonstration using Kansas clay and talking about where in Kansas clay can be found.

In addition, well-known regional writer and promoter Marci Penner of Inman, author of The 8 Wonders of Kansas Guidebook, will be at Kauffman Museum from 1:30-3:30 p.m. for a meet-and-greet and book signing. Copies of her book are for sale in the museum store.

Other special features of this year’s Celebrate Kansas Day! that emphasize Kansas resources are an Agco combine on the museum grounds; free mini bags of flour, while supplies last, from Horizon Milling of Newton; displays from the Kansas Underground Salt Museum of Hutchinson and the Kansas Oil Museum of El Dorado, with free oil activity books; and a goat and goat kids from the Gravel Ends Goat Ranch near Hillsboro.

There will be a limited number of Kansas gayfeather seed packets given away. Staff harvested the wildflower seeds from Kauffman Museum’s prairie reconstruction.

The make-it-and-take-it craft and activity stations at Celebrate Kansas Day! will include corn shelling; broom-making; wheat weaving; paper airplane-making; Kansas fossils; helium balloons; wind socks; playdough table; and a Kansas animal guessing game, among others.

There will be demonstrations and activities at various locations inside and outside the museum, including schoolyard games; horse-drawn wagon rides (weather permitting); kettle popcorn popping; wood splitting; log hewing; woodshop work; blacksmithing; a Native American teepee; and wood carving.

A new feature this year is oil painting by Joseph Loganbill, Newton. Also, beekeeping returns to Celebrate Kansas Day! after a long hiatus.

The restored farmhouse will be heated and open for touring.

The Friends of Kauffman Museum will sponsor their annual Kansas Day bake sale, flea market and silent auction. A North Newton Community Development Grant is also supporting the 2012 Celebrate Kansas Day!

For more information on the 15th annual Celebrate Kansas Day! at Kauffman Museum, call 316-283-1621.

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