The Magic of Things: 5 Continents, 25 Centuries, 125 Years of Collecting


“The Museum–a Necessity.”

Peter J. Wedel, Bethel College Monthly, April 1908

February 19-October 9, 2022

In the December 1896 issue of School and College Journal, students and friends of Bethel College announced the formation of a Museum of Natural History and American Relics. The collections were housed in the college’s Administration Building and faculty utilized the collections as teaching resources.

To celebrate the depth and breadth of what is now Kauffman Museum, the spring 2022 exhibition is titled “The Magic of Things: 5 Continents, 25 Centuries, 125 Years of Collecting.” Thirteen current and former staff have selected artifacts and animal specimens not on permanent display to illustrate their significance to the collectors and to the museum staff who worked with them.

Items in the exhibition range from a Mesopotamian cuneiform tablet from 2000 BCE to a Macintosh computer from 1986, a ngoma drum from a Zimbabwean healer to a 1914 Indian motorcycle, and a Red-sided Eclectus Parrot from New Guinea to a horse-drawn hearse last used at a funeral home in Goessel, Kansas.





Lead curator Reinhild Kauenhoven Janzen has organized some 100 artifacts and specimens by six themes:

  • Art of Communication
  • Power of Ritual
  • More Speed
  • Nature Study
  • Stepping Out in Style
  • Making a Home

Guest curators have written interpretive texts that explore the significance of their selections or reveal their personal connection to the items they chose.

Grand Opening

February 19, 2:30-4:30 pm: Come-and-go event with remarks by lead curator Reinhild K. Janzen at 3:00 pm

Sunday-Afternoon-at-the-Museum Programs, 3:00-4:00 pm, free to the public

March 6: “Ritual Markers of Life and Death in Uganda and Taiwan,” Reinhild K. Janzen  |  View recorded presentation

April 3: “Drums or Organ: Contesting Musical Styles in African Christianity,” John M. Janzen  |  View recorded presentation

May 22: “Collecting for College and Community: Past, Present and Future,” Rachel Pannabecker and David Kreider  |  View recorded presentation



Andi Schmidt Andres, Assistant to the Director-Director 1993-current staff

Steve Friesen, Museum Director 1976-1977

John M. Janzen, Museum Director 1983-1992

Reinhild Kauenhoven Janzen, Curator of Cultural History 1983-1993

David Kreider, Builder-Museum Technician 1985-1988, 2000-current staff

Rachel Pannabecker, Collections Assistant-Museum Director 1984-2014

Dwight Platt, Natural History Advisor 1985-ongoing senior prairie consultant

Austin Prouty, Exhibition Assistant 2020-current staff

Bob Regier, Exhibit Designer 1985-ongoing senior design consultant

Chuck Regier, Builder-Curator of Exhibits 1985-current staff

Michael Reinschmidt, Museum Director 2018-2020

Kristin Schmidt, Museum Assistant 1999-current staff

Renae Stucky, Collections Manager 2016-2018

Andi Schmidt Andres: museum director 

John Fast: visitor services coordinator

David Kreider: exhibit designer 

Reinhild Kauenhoven Janzen: lead curator 

Jim Mueller: installation volunteer 

Rachel Pannabecker: exhibit developer 

Austin Prouty: graphic designer 

Chuck Regier: senior designer 

Karen Schlabaugh: mailing coordinator

Merle Schlabaugh: German consultant

Kristin Schmidt: bookkeeper 

Capri Stevenson-Bisom, Bethel College intern 2022: assistant preparator 

Steve Kreider Yoder: installation volunteer

Pinyan Zhu, Chinese translator

“The Magic of Things” exhibition and programs are supported by the Kauffman Museum Association.


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