Mennonite Heritage Village

Sources of Well-being

by Gary Dyck and Reg Toews

We have known for a long time that health and well-being is more than doctors, hospitals and the formal health care system. Every part of our environment – family, friends, employment, social activity, music, art, education and many other areas contribute to our mental and physical well-being. However, when it comes to healing and mental health, people don’t usually think about the museum as an important or relevant source. Even a cursory review of well-being literature indicates that museums contribute a lot to mental health and wellbeing.

The Mennonite Heritage Village (MHV) has as a new initiative to research and develop a way of ‘Museum as Therapy”. The identified target audience is local residents who have mental health needs, ranging from mild anxiety to depression. The objective is to partner with local health agencies and establish a way that MHV can help some of their clients. In the coming days, MHV will announce how we are doing this and how you and your friends can benefit from well-being at MHV.

  • Here’s a variety of quotes from real museum participants in an article entitled How Museums Have Improved My Mental Health:
  • “Some of my favourite places are museums. Museums can be loud, exciting and stimulating, but they can also be quiet places for reflection. When the real world of the here and now gets a bit too much, museums offer refuge where you can distance yourself.”
  • “Objects from the distant past carry ethereality and ephemerality, in spite of their age; they seem otherworldly, intriguing and amazing.”
  • “When I visit museums, my step-count goes through the roof, and I exercise without really feeling it. In my reflective state, my breathing is controlled. I am very much in touch with the things around me, feeling grounded and mindful. When I am at a museum, I am having fun, and I smile.”
  • “The social engagement that comes from working at a museum and interacting with colleagues and people who are also keen to hear about the museum is a joy, and social contact is super for encouraging good mental health.”

MHV is producing a “Wellness Guide” that will soon be available at our reception for anyone who wants to have a therapeutic museum visit! Hope to see you this week, or if you want to be more active and enjoy heritage demonstrations and good company come any Saturday in August and enjoy our ‘Demonstration Saturdays’.

Upcoming Events

  • MHV grounds, gift shop and galleries are open seven days a week to all (non-vaccinated and vaccinated alike). ‘Demonstration Days’ are every Saturday. Come see a variety of heritage skills in action, eat our famous waffles with vanilla sauce and have a wagon ride with the kids.
  • Livery Barn Restaurant open daily starting at 11am for lunch and Thursday for supper. Dine-in, patio or take-out are all available.
  • Rhubarb Jam every Thursday evening. Come enjoy good food while listening to or participating in local music on our Peter Barkman Summer Pavilion stage. No museum admission necessary to attend.
  • Tractor Trek, August 21. Watch classic tractors parade the roads near Steinbach (see website for details and the route map) and show your support. Mental health services are needed now more than ever. All funds raised will be split 50/50 between Eden Health and MHV.
  • Summer in the City Visits Fall on the Farm, September 4-6, free entry. This year we are partnering with Summer in the City to host a special weekend festival event open to all. In order to ensure the safety of everyone attending there will be a capacity limit of 1500 people. Admission will be on a first-come first-served basis. The Summer in the City organization will be providing their Cultures, Kid’s, Senior’s, and Art programming and we will be providing some of our regular pioneer programming. Our traditional Fall on the Farm activities will be happening on Monday, September 6th.