Our History

The city of Halstead, KS is the home of the late Hertzler Research Foundation and the Kansas Learning Center for Health. Dr. Irene A. Koeneke originally founded it as a memorial to her husband, Dr. Arthur E. Hertzler, for the purpose of research and education. Dr. Hertzler (the famous Horse and Buggy Doctor) was world renowned for his excellence in pathology, his love of children, and his concern for health education of the general public. Dr. Koeneke was instrumental in the establishment of the Foundation and the Kansas Learning Center for Health. While research is no longer conducted at KLCH we do maintain an emphasis on health education.

A twenty-nine member board has overseen the progress of the Hertzler Foundation since 1948 and the Kansas Learning Center since 1965. The Kansas Learning Center for Health offers supplemental health education for schools with hands-on, interactive activities both as an outreach program (KLCH at Your School) and in the full-service museum exhibit and classroom areas in Halstead (Field Trips).


Throughout the years, the Learning Center has been funded entirely with private contributions, bequests, sponsorships and with some grants for special projects. Once the annual budget is established, the Executive Committee and Board of Trustees approve it. Staff prepare monthly statements comparing the approved budget to actual expenditures. This information is given to the full Board along with minutes of the Executive Committee and endowed investment financials on a monthly basis.

The Kansas Learning Center for Health is located at 505 Main Street, Halstead, KS.  The 7,000 square foot building was built in 1992 and in January 2014 the 2,600 square foot Bailey Annex was added. The building is ADA accessible with an elevator to the basement, a 68-seat auditorium, 4,500 square foot exhibit hall, and two – 60 person capacity classrooms. The Kansas Learning Center building is utilized for a variety of classes. Foremost are the offerings for schools. Each year, around 15,000 students attend our health education programs.

The Kansas Learning Center for Health promotes healthy lifestyles through signature programs.  Our hands-on health and science presentations engage students at the Center making it an educational and fun-filled Field Trip for many schools.  All classes and exhibits were designed in conjunction with school representatives to supplement classroom curriculum.  Our diverse health educators, certified teachers, registered nurse, and social worker provide an engaging experience for students and teachers: one that inspires them to continue exploring health!

In 1999, the Learning Center started an Outreach Program making it possible for schools in Kansas to benefit from the interactive health programs.   Each grade level has a 40-minute health program taught by a certified health instructor.  The content for each grade level differs in the areas of focus and may include lessons on the anatomy of the body, bullying, nutrition and drug education.  Volunteers meet at the Learning Center monthly to prepare activities for the children to use in the health programs.  These activities reinforce the subject taught with the idea of the child taking the health information absorbed to his/her family.  The outreach programs provides much needed curriculum-enhancing information that is both educational and entertaining.

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