John E. Sharp, Hesston College historian and a professor of history, will present the next Sunday-Afternoon-at-the-Museum event, 10 August at Kauffman Museum on the Bethel College campus. Sharp traveled to Khiva and Ak Metchet, Uzbekistan, earlier this summer and will update the progress of a Mennonite exhibition under development at the Ichan Kala Museum in Khiva, the release said.
James Juhnke, Bethel College emeritus professor of history, visited Uzbekistan with a tour group in spring 2007. Their search for the roots of a Mennonite emigration story more than 125 years old led to Kauffman Museum’s signing an agreement 9 November 2007, with the Ichan Kala Museum to collaborate on a project portraying the life and contributions of Mennonites who lived at Ak Metchet, nine miles from Khiva, from 1884-1935.
Those Mennonites were part of the 1880 "Great Trek" to Central Asia. They had fled Russia to avoid military conscription, to find land on a new frontier and to seek a place of refuge in what they expected to be the "end times."