Kauffman Museum has been fortunate to host two special exhibitions showcasing the textile collections of John L. Sommer, most recently of Palo Alto, CA. John passed away on September 1 at the age of 93. Kauffman Museum is honored to be a designated recipient of memorial gifts in John’s name. Professionally, John and his wife Donna were in the medical field, but as an avocation, John was an avid collector of Oriental carpets and reed screens used in the homes of nomadic people in Kyrgyzstan. Encouraged by his sister Lois (Sommer) and her husband Robert Kreider of North Newton, John curated the special exhibition Anatolian Carpets: A Family Connection in 1986 before the museum’s permanent exhibit opened. He followed that experience in 1998 with another exhibit, Reeds & Wool: Patterned Screens of Central Asia. Reeds & Wool has since traveled to six additional venues in the United States and Canada and John later donated his extensive collection of reed screens to Kauffman Museum. John’s curiosity and enthusiasm were contagious, and museum staff always appreciated his depth of knowledge on the topics close to his heart and willingness to share stories of cultures from around the world.  

If you would like to contribute to the museum in John’s name, please mail your gift to Kauffman Museum at Bethel College, 300 East 27th Street, North Newton, KS 67117. To contribute using a credit card, visit bethelks.edu/gift. For “Designation,” click on the Bethel College Fund down arrow, choose Other, and then enter John L. Sommer Memorial in the space provided.