Kauffman Museum wraps up the school year with faspa and a 200th-anniversary commemoration.
Reinhild Kauenhoven Janzen of rural Whitewater and Renae Stucky of Moundridge are the presenters for the Sunday-Afternoon-at-the-Museum program “The Czar Comes to Breakfast: Celebrating 200 Years Later,” at 3 p.m. May 13.
Janzen, an art historian and former curator for Kauffman Museum, describes the program: “Of a royal gentleman, a brass water kettle, a charming and smart housewife, and a diamond ring.”
In early May of 1818 in southern Russia (in what is now Ukraine), Janzen continued, “Imagine you are Mrs. Agatha Hiebert, the wife of successful Mennonite farmer, lay preacher and teacher David Hiebert, and the Czar’s emissaries have told you that Alexander I wishes to visit you for breakfast in a couple of weeks’ time.
“How do you get your house and yard ready? How will you receive His Royal Highness and his entourage? How will you set the table? What will you serve? And what will you talk about?”
Stucky, a 2016 Bethel history graduate and currently the collections manager at Kauffman Museum, will tell the story of the Czar’s visit to the Hiebert home in the village of Lindenau, Molotschna Colony, while Janzen will present a visual history of south Russia in the early 1800s.
Janzen will contrast the worlds of the Czar and a well-off Mennonite family living in a village long-house that combined house and barn under one roof, including “the furnishings, the food and drinks served, and Mrs. Hiebert’s amazing diplomatic feat in the course of the table conversation,” Janzen said.
The kettle used in the Hiebert household to heat water for the Czar is part of Kauffman Museum’s collection and will be front and center for the program.
Local descendants of Agatha and David Hiebert will be on hand and afterward will provide a light faspa (late-afternoon coffee time) meal for attenders.
“Janet Regier of Newton and Janet and Ray Franz of rural Hesston are the driving forces behind the celebration,” said Andi Schmidt Andres, Kauffman Museum curator of education. “Janet [Regier] did quite a bit of research and helped choose a date, which coincidentally is within just a few days of the date of the actual visit [in 1818].”
The May 13 event is free and open to the public.
Regular Kauffman Museum hours are Tues.-Fri., 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Sat. and Sun., 1:30-4:30 p.m., closed Mondays and most major holidays. Admission to the special exhibit “Newton Kids Create: Storytelling through Art” (which closes May 13) and the permanent exhibits “Of Land and People,” “Mennonite Immigrant Furniture” and “Mirror of the Martyrs,” recently returned from traveling, is $4 for adults, $2 for children ages 6-16, and free to Kauffman Museum members and children under 6. The museum store is open the same hours as the museum but there is no admission charge for just visiting the store.
For more information, call the museum at 316-283-1612 or visit its website, www.bethelks.edu/kauffman/, or Facebook page.