Mennonite Heritage Village

Kara Suderman, the new Curatorial Assistant at MHV

By Andrea Dyck & Kara Suderman

Q & A with Kara Suderman

Kara Suderman joined our team here at Mennonite Heritage Village (MHV) in early May as our new Curatorial Assistant. I recently sat down with Kara for a “Question and Answer” session about museum life and her first weeks here at MHV.

What is it about working in the museum field that first interested you?

What interests me the most is the chance to learn more about people in the past and their stories. What I find most interesting about history is the stories of everyday people and the items they leave behind. Working in a museum allows me to take a closer look at these items to learn more about their lives. Museums like MHV are appealing to me because having the heritage buildings makes it easier to imagine what it might be like to live in another era. I have wanted to work at a museum like MHV for a long time and I’m so excited that I get to work with artefacts every day.

What drew you to MHV?

I was drawn to MHV because I think Mennonite history is fascinating and it is something I have been interested in for a long time and I am excited to learn more about it. I am looking forward to taking what I already know and digging deeper into Mennonite history.  I also love that there are so many heritage buildings at MHV that show what different aspects of Mennonite life were like. The heritage buildings are one of my favourite parts of the museum and I am looking forward to learning more about them and their histories.

What has been the highlight of your first few weeks at MHV?

In my first few weeks, the highlight has been getting to know the other staff members at MHV and getting a chance to work with the artefacts up close. I have also enjoyed seeing the transformation of the Gerhard Ens Gallery as we have been taking down the last exhibit and setting up for the new one.

What projects are you working on at MHV at the moment?

Right now, I am working on helping to set up the new exhibit and cataloguing some of the donated artefacts. Cataloguing can be time consuming, but it allows me to look closely at an artefact in detail and learn more about it and the story behind it.

What are you looking forward to in this role?

I am looking forward to gaining a deeper understanding of Mennonite history and engaging with the artefacts and learning the stories behind them. There are so many items in our collection that I want to learn more about. I am also looking forward to opening the new exhibit and having people experience it.                                     

And finally, the question every curator gets asked: What is an interesting artefact that you have worked with so far?

So far, I think the most interesting artefacts I have worked with are bank notes from Russia and the Netherlands. They are all around eighty to one hundred years old and it’s interesting to think about what was going on in those places in the 1920s-1940s, what Mennonites were doing there, and what their lives may have looked like at that time.

Thanks, Kara!