Mennonite Heritage Village

A Love Letter from your Museum

October 13, 2022

By Gary Dyck

It can be argued that you need museums. Museums like Mennonite Heritage Village (MHV), can expand your mind, provide a great venue for multi-generational interaction, care for your well-being and more. However, we in the museum world also need you.

True, some of us working in museums are shy, and we sometimes think we would keep doing this even if you didn’t show up, but the truth is we would miss you too much and be sad that you are not getting all the benefits that come from a relationship with us. We love it when you come out in large numbers to our events, discuss content from our latest exhibit, and have a positive experience.

Further, despite all our hard work in preserving, restoring, and presenting history from multiple perspectives, we need you to be present in mind and spirit also. It is you who decides whether you will benefit from a museum visit or not. It is not the experience itself, but the cooperation of your own will that takes the date to another level. Here’s a big truth – the effect of a museum date is decisively influenced by the beholder.

You may be a believer who is expecting to have your admiration taken higher or a skeptic who is genuinely ready to be enticed deeper. Either way, a great date does not happen if you are not engaged and ready to find something to connect with. You probably don’t know this, but we work just as hard to set up a great date with you as we do with the material being presented. We set up quiet galleries, ambient temperatures, washrooms with signs so you can quickly find them, places to sit, and a café. We know that if you are distracted, too hot or too cold, frustrated because you can’t find a toilet, tired, or hungry you will not receive anything of value and there will be no second date.

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, the notable psychologist who popularized the idea of ‘flow’, of being in a mental state in which one is immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. Having regular times of being in a state of flow is good for our well-being. It is when learning sticks, when one’s relationship with the world expands, and one is most alive. This is what we want for you and everyone else! We hope you can find a museum to go steady with. Commit to that membership and get to know us well. You need us and we need you. Love, your museum.

love letter museum
Credit: Jerry Grajewski, Grajewski Fotograph Inc.

Upcoming Events:

MHV Village Books & Gifts shop and Galleries are open Tuesday to Saturday. The grounds are available for strolling (but heritage buildings are closed), come and see the geese at the pond as they start their migration!

Leaving Canada series webinar – Mexico Mennonites and Nostalgia for ‘Old Canada’ with Royden Loewen, November 1, 7pm – This is a free zoom event with support from the Plett Foundation, Centre for Transnational Mennonite Studies, and Mennonite Heritage Village (MHV). The “Leaving Canada: The Mennonite Migration to Mexico,” is a special MHV exhibit that explores this momentous event, in its various dimensions, featuring artefacts, historical photographs from public archives and private collections, and original interpretative content.

Village Books & Gifts Christmas Market, November 12 – Admission is ‘Tin for the Bin’, supporting Steinbach Community Christmas. Hot lunch served from 11:30 – 2:00. Sleigh Rides are available from 10:30 – 3:30. Vendor spots still available!