Village News (November 15, 2019)
By Gary Dyck
All year long we have people coming to the Mennonite Heritage Village (MHV) for some ‘good old schooling’. Schools from as far south as Winkler to as far north as Winnipeg come to us for their hands-on agriculture lesson. Some things cannot be learned in a classroom. There needs to be a setting and a practical component, especially for the rambunctious boys I know.
From the beginning of time, all one needed was a basic education and a couple of trades to work with. That all changed this past century. Sitting at a desk and processing massive amounts of knowledge is now the norm for our children. I wonder if sometimes it is too much for some and one of the roots of the growing anxiety and attention deficit problems we see.
It used to be that family and society taught their children what they needed, now we have gone to the other side and just let strangers teach them ‘everything’. The education system is getting better at engaging students with deeper learning and more hands-on activity, but I believe parents and a heritage museum like MHV still have a role to play.
At MHV we can provide training on several traditional trades such as being a Blacksmith, a Cartwright, or a Miller. We also teach fruit and vegetable canning as well as how to make Schnetke – that light Mennonite pastry that tastes oh so good out of the oven with butter and rhubarb jam. Many students enjoy their time making schnetke with our volunteer grandmas and of course then eating it. One of the side benefits of working at MHV is the amount of schnetke the staff gets to help finish off.
It would be great to see more parents and grandparents learning these traditional trades and taking the time to share it with their kids. Having an ongoing project with a child can be a great place for learning, peace, and bonding. Museum as Trade School is another role we have for you at MHV.
Another training we are developing is in peace-making. We have a Peace Exhibit Committee that is helping us develop an exhibit near the pond complete with an outdoor classroom. The goal is to have groups come to the site for teaching and discussion on issues of violence and peace in our current world.
With Christmas coming we thought it would be appropriate to host an exhibit about peace on earth. This informative exhibit is from Kauffman museum in Kansas and is entitled “Voices of Conscience.” It focuses on how people of peace dealt with the coercive U.S. war machine during World War One. It includes a
replica jail cell where Hutterites were high-cuffed for long periods of time. There are also several amazing pictures from that era, including a peace march in New York by suffragists, which you won’t see anywhere else. I highly recommend putting it on your Christmas list to do with your children. It is vital to discuss as a family and community what it means to have ‘peace on earth and goodwill to all humankind’.
Calendar of Events (see MHV.ca for more details)
November 10 through to December 20
The Peace Exhibit – Voice of Conscience. Exhibit Grand-Opening, with Faspa and Peace presentations at 5pm. Free-will offering.
November 22, 7 pm 45 Years on the Anabaptist Story Trail in Europe – a documentary provided by Tourmagination 7 pm – $10 (includes refreshments)
December 7 @ 12 pm
Win a Trip Raffle
NOTE: As of October 1/19, the MHV grounds and restaurant close for the winter. Galleries, as well as the Books & Gift Shop, remain open.