Mennonite Heritage Village

Synergy in Partnerships

Village News (November 15, 2018)

By Barry Dyck


Synergy in Partnerships

When two individuals or organizations have a productive partnership, they likely achieve more than the sum total of their individual contributions. In other words, “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” Or we might say that two plus two actually equals five when a partnership has synergy.

Mennonite Heritage Village (MHV) is engaged in a number of partnerships which fall into that category. One of those relationships was on display last Saturday when the newly created Dirk Willems monument was unveiled on our campus. This project was a joint venture between MHV and a local group of supporters who formed a Peace Exhibit Committee.

This committee established itself about five years ago with the purpose of creating a monument to honor Conscientious Objectors, those people who chose to support their country in non-violent ways during times of war. As the committee’s work progressed, its vision also grew to include an additional monument that would prompt our visitors to think about resolving conflict in non-violent ways. The addition of an interpretive centre to provide space and media for teaching and reflection is a third component of their expanded vision.

When the Peace Exhibit Committee came to MHV’s Board of Directors to present this comprehensive vision, they were invited to develop the project themselves and to plan to locate it on our campus. Our board was grateful for their willingness and ability to manage the project, because our staff already had “full plates” with all the projects already defined in their strategic plan. So this committee brought resources to our museum that were otherwise not available at that time.

This past Saturday, approximately 100 guests joined the Peace Exhibit Committee and the MHV Board on our grounds for the unveiling of the second monument in this project– a statue of Dirk Willems rescuing his jailor, who had fallen through the ice on the frozen river as he pursued Willems in his quest for freedom. With this action, Willems clearly expressed his respect for all people; nonetheless he was recaptured and executed. We are grateful to now have this monument, with the profound teaching of its story, on our grounds for our museum visitors to contemplate.

The Steinbach and Area Garden Club is another partner with whom MHV has created a wonderful synergy. It’s very simple. We provide the club with a meeting room twice a month, and they create and tend the vegetable and flower gardens at MHV. Many club members volunteer to water, weed, plant, and watch for pests. This year the club members volunteered over 1,000 hours in our gardens. And that time spent really makes a visible difference to the atmosphere in our Village.

The MHV Auxiliary’s partnership with MHV is also one that generates considerable synergy. Members of this group faithfully make quilts, both to provide a demonstration for our guests and to sell in our gift shop. They also cater meals, sell waffles and vanilla sauce on festival days, and stage various museum fundraising events that are also teaching and social events.

Additional MHV partnerships include Steam Club ’71, which owns and operates a steamer that provides various demonstrations on our festival days. We ourselves would not have the capacity to own and operate such a machine. As well, the Southeast Implement Collectors provide the community with a vintage tractor show each summer and also populates our tractor exhibit with many beautifully restored machines. The Southeast Manitoba Draft Horse Association faithfully brings teams of horses, along with wagons, to provide rides and agricultural demonstrations for MHV guests on festival days.

These are just some examples of the numerous partnerships we enjoy with local organizations. MHV’s service to the community is noticeably enhanced through these relationships as synergy is demonstrated.

Calendar of Events

*MHV Off-Season Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 9:00 AM-5:00 PM*

November 23, The Klassens, Paraguayan harp concert with dessert and coffee – 7:00 PM

November 26, The Russian Mennonite Story Book Launch – 7:00 PM

December 2, Vespers Service – 7:00 PM