Mennonite Heritage Village

Museums are Everywhere

October 27, 2022

By Gary Dyck

This past week I had the privilege of attending the Association of Manitoba Museums’ (AMM) annual conference. As Mennonite Heritage Village’s executive director, it is an invaluable time for me to learn from my peers and hear from them about the innovations they are working on. It is good to keep developing. Sometimes we find that an idea that is good on paper is not good in real life. Or an idea that worked for one place might not work for another. At the conference, there was an emphasis on humility that I greatly appreciated. It is better to try something, fail, and learn from it, than not change anything.

The following is a write-up from the AMM’s website:

There are almost 200 museums in Manitoba; over 40 in the City of Winnipeg alone! These include art galleries, community museums, cultural centres, heritage centres, historical societies, historic buildings, sites and parks, zoos, natural history and science museums, and nature centres. These museums are found in every region of the province and their collections range from art and history to science and nature, from sports and leisure to transportation and industry.

There are museums that focus on Indigenous people and European immigration, on pioneer settlement and urban sprawl, on agriculture, fishing, mining and forestry. There are museums that focus on our natural habitat and others that focus on our manufactured or built heritage. They deal with issues such as land claims and residential schools, forced migration and immigration. They deal with plants, animals, minerals and people.

Manitoba museums are part of our education system – providing on-site tours and in-house educational opportunities to thousands of school children annually.

Manitoba museums are a keystone of our tourist industry. They initiate tourist visits to our province, and visitation to museums encourages visitors to stay, helping to increase local spending.

Manitoba museums contribute to the workforce. They employ hundreds of people full time, part-time and seasonally. Manitoba museums are supported by thousands of local volunteers who give of themselves to preserve, protect and share Manitoba’s diverse heritage.

Manitoba museums provide a picture of our past, a forum for today’s issues, and a foundation for our future. We are proud to share our history and our culture with students, visitors and locals alike.

Association of Manitoba Museums, About Museums in Manitoba

At the conclusion of the AMM conference, senator Patricia Bovey gave a stirring speech. She talked about how museums help us know how to navigate society, to profoundly know that to err is human and to keep learning. “Families go to museums together; they don’t go to schools together,” she said. Museums are a great opportunity for parents and grandparents to be teachers for a day and engage more deeply with their children. I encourage you to make it a goal to visit one Manitoba museum a month. With almost 200 museums available, that will take you 16 years (see the full list on AMM’s website), so you better start this month! Hope to see you at Mennonite Heritage Village soon.

Barkfield School, Mennonite Heritage Village
The Barkfield one-room school at Mennonite Heritage Village.


Upcoming Events:

MHV Village Books & Gifts shop and Galleries are open Tuesday to Saturday, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm. The grounds are available for strolling (heritage buildings are closed).

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.

An Evening with the Authors, November 3 & December 7, 7:00pm. Village Books & Gifts presents “An Evening with the Authors”. Join us on November 3 and December 7 as local authors read and share their writing.

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!

Leaving Canada Virtual Tour – Experience the ‘Leaving Canada’ exhibit from the comfort of your own home. In-person exhibit open until November 30.