Village News (December 14, 2017)
By Barry Dyck
Our Foundations for a Strong Future initiative has been underway for just over two years now. In September of 2015 we rolled out this capital campaign with a view to accomplishing a number of things. Our goal has been to raise $3,000,000 for the sustainability and development of Mennonite Heritage Village (MHV). As of December 1, 2017, we have received cash and commitments of just over $2,200,000, for which we are very grateful. We only need to find the remaining $800,000 to achieve our goal.
The largest single project in the campaign was the construction of our new events centre, the Summer Pavilion. Of the $1,300,000 required to build this facility, we have so far received $714,762 in gifts and pledges designated to this project. As we were using our new facility this past summer, we learned that we would do well to address the very lively acoustics in the building. An improvement plan is now in place, and we have applied for several grants to assist us in the resolution of this issue.
The restoration of the Waldheim House has also been a significant component of our campaign. This project seems to have been a favourite for donors, as it has already been completely funded and completed. We are delighted with the result.
We have completed about 70% of the three-phase replacement of heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems in our main building, the Village Centre. The first priority was to ensure that our systems in the areas where we store, work with, and exhibit our artifacts are functioning well. A climate-controlled environment is essential for maintaining our artifacts in optimum condition. These systems maintain steady temperature and relative-humidity levels throughout the year. Not many museums are as well-equipped as we are to preserve their collections of artifacts. However, very few of the dollars donated to our campaign have been designated to this project so far.
A number of our heritage structures, in addition to the Waldheim House, have already benefited from our Foundations initiative. The Old Colony Worship House has received some siding and window repairs, as well as a fresh coat of paint. Our windmill has gotten some major attention from a Dutch millwright and had its sails partially rebuilt. Arrangements are currently being made to replace the deck and its supporting timbers this coming spring. We are pleased that various donors have already provided most of the money needed for these important windmill upgrades.
It is also beneficial that a significant portion of funds donated to our Foundations campaign has not been designated to any specific project. These funds can therefore be allocated to any of our capital projects where shortfalls exist.
Apart from these more-attractive capital projects, we do still need to operate our museum on a daily basis. Those costs are also increasingly significant. Before year-end, we still need about $150,000 to cover our 2017 operating expenses.
So as our donors consider how they would like to help MHV at this time of the year, they can choose where to allocate their support: to our 2017 operating fund, or to our Foundations for a Strong Future campaign (or to both). If a donation comes in designated “where needed most,” we will be happy to make that decision. Either way, we will be thankful for the support of our constituency.
Calendar of Events
December 23 – January 7, closed for Christmas
February 4, 7:00 PM – Vespers Service
February 16, Guys & Dolls Gala
February 17, Winter Carnival