Kauffman Museum is OPEN to the public.

August 28 – November 29, 2020

Kauffman Museum, North Newton, KS

Every day thrift stores across America receive donations of objects that display racial imagery— antique advertising cards, collectible salt-and-pepper shakers, vintage children’s books, and mugs with sports team mascots. Are these objects harmless reminders of historical attitudes or do they continue to perpetuate negative stereotypes about race? Should thrift stores sell these objects? Or should they be “sorted out” of the resale environment and discarded?

Sorting Out Race is a Kauffman Museum Traveling Exhibit. Since its completion five years ago, Sorting Out Race has traveled to 11 sites from Indiana to the West Coast. 

Original exhibit concept by Leia Lawrence.

Exhibition designed and produced by Kauffman Museum at Bethel College in North Newton, Kansas. The exhibit team: Nicole Eitzen, Jake Harris, David Kreider, Annette LeZotte, Paloma Olais, Rachel Pannabecker, Chuck Regier. Online presentation designed by Rebecca Schrag.

View Sorting Out Race Online

What do antiques and collections with racial imagery teach us about racism? This presentation is an abbreviated version of Sorting Out Race: Examining Racial Identity and Stereotypes in Thrift Store Donations, a traveling exhibition designed and produced by Kauffman Museum at Bethel College in North Newton, Kansas. Immerse yourself in the Sorting Out Race interactive, part of Kauffman Museum’s #MuseumAtHome initiative. 

In the style of Kauffman Museum exhibitions, you can tour linearly or explore the exhibit compelled by your interests. For the best experience:

Choose to view the presentation in Fullscreen on your desktop browser
Click the forward arrow
  at the bottom of the window to move linearly through the exhibit topics
Click the back arrow  to return to a previous topic
Circles are exhibit topics and can be clicked on to move forward. However, you might have to manually return to a previous section. 

Please sign in on the digital Guestbook 

Share Your Voice

We want to hear what you think. Sign the Sorting Out Race guestbook and your name, location, and comments.

Do these old things matter? 

What kinds of things would
you be reluctant to give to
a thrift store?

Where do we go from here?

Public Programs

Sorting Out Race: A Community Conversation | October 26, 7:00 P.M.
Watch online!

The “Sorting Out Race” exhibit at Kauffman Museum in North Newton, Kansas, arose from the desire to divert artifacts from thrift stores to an exhibit that would generate healthy community dialogue about race.

• Sheryl Wilson, Executive Director, Kansas Institute of Peace and Conflict Resolution
• Leia Lawrence, former manager, Newton Et Cetera Shop
• Ray Olais, local historian and retired Newton High School art teacher

Explore Related Content

Tedx Talks | Sorting Out Race | Annette Lezotte’s talk “Sorting Out Race” discusses the Kauffman Museum’s exhibit Sorting Out Race: Examining Racial Identity and Stereotypes in Thrift Store Donations.

National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution | Americans Americans, a major exhibition at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, highlights the ways in which American Indians have been part of the nation’s identity since before the country began. 

National Museum of African American History & Culture  | Talking About Race | Talking about race, although hard, is necessary. NMAAHC provides tools and guidance to empower your journey and inspire conversation.

The Kansas African American Museum | History Trail |  The History Trail tells the story of the African American contributions to Kansas at various historical sites, chronicling the people, places, and events that created Kansas’s rich history. It is a shared history of all Kansans that is all…  About the Journey.


27th and North Main St.
North Newton, KS 67117
Across from the main campus of
Bethel College


(316) 283-1612
Mailing address:
300 E. 27th Street
North Newton, KS, 67117-1716


Tue-Fri  9:30am-4:30pm
Sat-Sun 1:30pm-4:30pm
Closed Mondays and
Major Holidays