By Barry Dyck
In September 2015, Mennonite Heritage Village (MHV) rolled out our continuing development initiative called Foundations for a Strong Future. This focused campaign is designed to address several of our museum’s more significant needs, apart from day-to-day operations.
The projects it will cover fall into three categories. The first is Building Restoration. This involves the rejuvenation of several of our heritage buildings.
The major item in this category is the Waldheim House, the oldest building in our village and the first building to be brought to this site. With the help of a Canada 150 grant and additional gifts from the Thomas Sill Foundation, the Steinbach Credit Union, the RM of Hanover and numerous individuals, this project is now well underway.
Our Windmill and the Old Colony Worship House have benefited from repairs and new paint. The Windmill does still need additional significant maintenance.
This category also includes the replacement of all the 27-year-old furnaces, air conditioners and air make-up units in our Village Centre. This part of the project is essential for the preservation of our artifacts, by maintaining control of our climate in the galleries and artifact storage rooms. We have completed the first stage of this project, with two more to go.
The second project category is New Construction. We have almost completed our new event centre, which will function as a permanent and enhanced version of the big white tent we used to erect annually. This building will serve MHV’s Education Program and festival events and will also provide the community with a new venue for such events as parties, receptions, family gatherings, and staff picnics. This facility is almost complete and we expect to have the landscaping done by July 1.
Financial Stability is the third project category. This involves the elimination of our debt and the enhancement of our Endowment Fund. Both of these are essential for efficient operations year to year.
MHV continues to be blessed by gifts from a generous constituency and significant grants from governments and several supportive private foundations. To date, our cash and pledges exceed $2,100,000 toward a goal of $3,000,000. So we are well on our way to meeting that goal.
One of the critical aspects of a focused campaign such as this is the risk of losing operating cash flow. Sadly, some of our regular operating donations are being allocated to the campaign instead. While we understand how this works, it doesn’t reduce our significant need for annual operating funds. Taxes, energy bills, insurance premiums and salaries must be paid if we are to appropriately maintain our collection of artifacts and continue our established programs.
MHV’s vision is to be the premier interpretive centre of the Russian Mennonite story. We are pleased to be able to offer Southeastern Manitoba a tourist attraction visited by people from more than 50 countries every year. And we feel it is our responsibility and privilege to be a community builder, offering our community gathering places and creating festival events where we can celebrate together.
Foundations for a Strong Future is still underway. We are very grateful for the significant support we have been receiving for our projects. Almost $900,000 is still needed to fulfill our plans, which are critical for the ongoing success of MHV. Will you join us in this ongoing project? Inquiries may be directed to Barry Dyck at 204-326-9661 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Donations may be mailed to MHV, 231 PTH 12 North, Steinbach, MB. R5G 1T8 or processed through our website at www.mhv.ca.
Calendar of Events
July 1: Storied Places exhibit opens in the Gerhard Ens Gallery
July 1: 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM - Steinbach’s Canada Day Celebrations
July 10-14: Pioneer Day Camp for children ages 5-7