Mennonite Heritage Village

The Best Way to Tour

by Gary Dyck

I love exploring new places on my own. You can’t go as deep or off the trail with a bus group. My most memorable tour moments have always been an unexpected connection with a local insider. Someone who knows their culture and history well and is ready to connect you with it in a personal way.

Touring Holland, my family and I stepped into a windmill that grinded paint dyes for other historic buildings around the world. On the wall hung a black and white photo of a Dutch miller examining some stone with a big pipe in his mouth. Minutes later, we heard the clacking of clogs coming towards us, it was the miller himself in living colour! When he found out we were Mennonites he immediately affirmed our identity, by talking about how his first wife was from ‘Frieslan’, an area that Mennonites originated from. ‘Good people up there’, he said. He then took us into his inner office and its rows of bottled dye. He explained how they were made with the windmill and where they are used around the world.

He then walked around the room, and looking in each of their eyes he spoke special encouragements for each of our children. He apologized for how his people had treated the Mennonites and told us that we were welcome here anytime. My artistic daughter left with a free sample of dye that she could use on a keepsake project and we all left with a memory that we will always hold dear.

A couple of weeks ago, I saw something similar happen at the Mennonite Heritage Village (MHV). There was a group visiting our new exhibit ‘Mennonites at War’ with our senior curator Andrea Klassen. A mom with two daughters walked in as they started. I whispered to her, ‘You can join them if you want’. They heard Andrea provide deeper connections to what was on display, ask thought-provoking questions and stir people’s minds about the complexity of this exhibit. This mother and daughter continued to follow the group around the exhibit, they had just found the best way to tour an exhibit.

On September 25th, MHV will provide you that same opportunity to tour the exhibit before it closes November 14th. Not only will you get a tour by its creators Andrea Klassen and/or Kara Suderman, but also a tour of the Chortitz housebarn. All proceeds will go to phase two of the Choritiz Housebarn restoration. Sign up today on our website!

Upcoming Events

MHV grounds, gift shop and galleries are open seven days a week. At this time you must be fully vaccinated for admission, the restaurant and for indoor MHV events.

Livery Barn Restaurant open 11am Saturdays and Sundays for lunch.

Rhubarb Jam every Thursday evening in September. Listen or participate in local music on our Peter Barkman Summer Pavilion stage. No museum admission necessary to attend.

An Evening with the Authors, September 22. Enjoy an evening with the authors of several new books featured at the Village Books and Gift store at MHV. Authors Mark Reimer, MaryLou Driedger, and Andrew Unger reading from their latest books. Coffee and dainties will be provided. There will be an opportunity to interact with the authors and get your copy of the book signed.

VIP Tours and Fundraiser on September 25th. Support the museum and get a personal presentation and preview of the ‘Mennonites at War’ exhibit. When you book your tickets for this event you will get to pick the time that you would like to visit the museum and preview the new exhibit, Mennonites at War. Senior Curator, Andrea Klassen and Curatorial Assistant Kara Suderman will guide you through the exhibit with a special presentation. You will then get a second tour of the Chortitz Housebarn. After the tour enjoy hors d’oeuvres and wine on the lawn by the heritage garden. This is a fundraiser for phase two of the Chortitz Housebarn including the central hearth.