Kauffman Museum’s annual Kansas Day celebration this year will explore Kansas symbols, from sunflowers to box turtles, bison to meadowlarks, honeybees to Kansa Indians.
Celebrate Kansas Day activities are on the afternoon of Jan. 25. The museum, 2801 N Main St, North Newton, and grounds will open at 1 p.m. for an afternoon of special programs and activities. Admission to the museum and all activities are free on Kansas Day.
Programs begin at 1:15 p.m. in the museum auditorium with Jay Price, of Wichita State University, speaking on “Searching for a Symbol: Creating an Identity for the Sunflower State.”
Price is chairman of the history department and directs the public history program at Wichita State University. He serves on the board of the Wichita Sedgwick County Historical Museum and the University Press of Kansas and is a regular history commentator on “Past and Present” at KMUW-FM, Wichita Public Radio.
At 2:15 p.m., Ken Rodgers, a music faculty member from Hesston College, will lead a “Home on the Range” singalong. He will play a variety of familiar songs, most of them about or related to Kansas, including some tunes on the historic Teschemacher-Deknatel-van der Smissen parlor organ.
Finally, at 3:15 p.m., Lorna Harder, retired Hesston biology faculty member, will talk about the Kansas state bird in “Western Meadowlark: From Neglected Starling to State Bird.”
This year’s theme, “Kansas Symbols,” meshes well with the special exhibit at Kauffman Museum, “K is for Kansas,” which will be open to visiting during Celebrate Kansas Day.
Special activities inside the museum include make-it-and-take-it crafts (craft-stick bison, Ad Astra window star, origami meadowlark, tissue-paper sunflower, honeybee pencil topper, Kansa Indian craft), games (Name that artifact, state bean bag toss) and displays (Harvey County Then & Now, beekeeping equipment, bee-friendly plants).
Returning favorites on the museum grounds are popcorn popping over an open fire, the Native American teepee, Bill Moffet’s blacksmithing demonstrations, the woodsmen, corn shelling, wagon rides from Country Boys Carriage, old-fashioned schoolyard games and a chance to visit the restored farmhouse, which will be open and heated.
There will also be rope making, a branding station, “buffalo chip” tic-tac-toe and “turtle” races.
Also from 1-4 p.m. inside the museum are a bake sale and a silent auction of antiques and collectibles, sponsored by Friends of the Museum.
Special items in this year’s auction include a Kansas map from 1887, a black powder-horn, a bisque doll, a vintage birthday cake stand, a DAR Good Citizen pin, a collectible Norman Rockwell plate, a Pfalzgraff cookie jar, and a silver memento box.
Proceeds go to the museum’s collections fund, which provides for the care of artifacts.