Visitors will have two chances in late September to see Kauffman Museum’s current special exhibition free of charge.

Visitors will have two chances in late September to see Kauffman Museum’s current special exhibition free of charge.
In honor of Kansas’ 150th year of statehood, the museum on the Bethel College campus is hosting “Awesome 150: Museum Friends Share Their Favorites.”
This Saturday is the annual Smithsonian Museum Day, sponsored by Smithsonian magazine. With a ticket that can be downloaded at, two people can visit participating museums, which include Kauffman Museum, free of charge.
And on Sunday, admission to “Awesome 150” is free and open to the public in conjunction with the first Sunday-Afternoon-at-the-Museum event of the school year, which will feature a 2007 Bethel College graduate and his research partner at the University of Kansas.
Braden Conrad-Hiebner and Ruth Walters will present “Value Beyond Price: Using Material Culture to Understand Daily Life and Beliefs” at 3:30 p.m. Sunday in the Kauffman Museum auditorium.
As part of their coursework in a graduate program in museum studies, Conrad-Hiebner and Walters researched the Katharina Dueck dowry chest that is part of the museum’s permanent exhibit “Mennonite Immigrant Furniture.” They will discuss how the concept of material culture can be applied to extracting meaning beyond monetary value from everyday artifacts such as furniture.
Conrad-Hiebner was history major at Bethel and is a current graduate student in museum studies, while Walters received her undergraduate degree in 2009 from the University of Missouri and completed her M.A. in museum studies at KU in spring 2011.
Kauffman Museum purchased the dowry chest Conrad-Hiebner and Walters researched from an antiques collection in 2005 — so unlike many of the pieces in “Mennonite Immigrant Furniture,” which came from descendants of the furniture’s original owners, there was not much family history with the chest. Conrad-Hiebner and Walters will share new information from their research, as well as expand on the label in the exhibition.
According to that label, the chest dates from 1863 and is made of stained wood with brass and iron fittings. It belonged to Katharina Dueck of Furstenwerder, a village in the Vistula Delta. Since the back of the chest is marked “Samara,” the Dueck family was likely among the Prussian Mennonites who migrated to the Volga River area in 1853.
A list of all Kansas museums — including 10 in Wichita and the Wichita area, and the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center in Hutchinson — participating in Smithsonian Museum Day also can be found at

Regular Kauffman Museum hours are 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. weekends. The museum is closed Mondays and major holidays. Admission to the museum, which also includes admission to the current special exhibit, “Awesome 150,” as well as the permanent exhibits “Of Land and People,” “Mirror of the Martyrs” and “Mennonite Immigrant Furniture,” is $4 for adults, $2 for children ages 6 through 16, and free to Kauffman Museum members and children younger than 6. For more information, call the museum at 283-1612 or visit its website,