Mennonite Heritage Village

Museum Wins Award of Excellence

Village News (September 27, 2018)

By Barry Dyck


Museum Wins Award of Excellence

After years of dreaming, research, fundraising, and project management, Mennonite Heritage Village (MHV) has been recognized by the Association of Manitoba Museums (AMM) with an Award of Excellence for the Waldheim House restoration project. The award was presented to Andrea Dyck, MHV Curator and manager of this restoration project, on September 21 at the annual conference of the AMM, held at MHV this year.

The vision to restore the Waldheim House with a new thatched roof and other structural repairs began many years ago. Our records indicate that the original house, built in 1876 and the first building to be brought to our museum site, did have a thatched roof.

A number of things needed to come together to allow this project to happen. We needed to find a sufficient supply of Phragmites Reed for the roof, a craftsman with the skills to install the roof, a contractor who could repair the exterior log walls and the interior plaster walls while maintaining an 1876 look, and the required funding for this substantial project.

In 2015 we received a Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program grant from Western Economic Diversification Canada, specifically to restore this heritage structure as an initiative to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary. Additional funding was provided by the Steinbach Credit Union, the RM of Hanover, and the Thomas Sill Foundation, as well as interested individuals, including family members of the original owner of the house, the late Julius Dyck (1852 – 1909).

We were very fortunate to find a local contractor with both the skill and the passion for this heritage project. The staff of Walls That Speak worked through much of the winter of 2016/2017 to have the house ready for the roof thatching in the summer of 2017. McGhee & Co. Roof Thatchers from Virginia were able to schedule the thatching to coincide with our 2017 Canada Day festival.

The Award of Excellence has recognized MHV’s engagement of community in this project, the resource we have become for other museums for the repairing of log structures and thatched roofs, and the quality and authenticity of the restoration.

In addition to recognizing museums and individuals for outstanding achievement, the Annual Conference of the AMM celebrates graduates of the Certificate Program in Museum Practice, offers workshops for museum staff and volunteers relevant to the operation of a museum, and provides opportunity for attendees to socialize and exchange ideas and stories. This year’s conference had 90 participants from across the province.

MHV is unique among the museums for having sufficient facilities to host this conference onsite. Our Auditorium and the Summer Pavilion were the major meeting spaces. The Livery Barn Restaurant provided all the food services. Our staff did a great job of arranging for this event and providing the necessary services during the conference. The Steinbach Cultural Arts Centre also made its facilities available to us for the opening reception. All the feedback we’ve received indicates our guests enjoyed their time with us.

Calendar of Events

September 27, Volunteer Appreciation – 7:00–8:30PM (all volunteers are welcome)

October 20, Third Annual Local History Lectures – 7:00PM

November 10, Christmas Market