December 1, 2022
By Andrea Klassen, Senior Curator
A question I commonly hear is, “So now that the summer season is done, I guess the off-season is pretty slow for you at the museum, isn’t it?” The question always makes me chuckle because it assumes there is an “off-season” at Mennonite Heritage Village (MHV). It seems a sizable portion of the community believes MHV either closes altogether for the winter or, once the tourist season is over, there is very little do to except perhaps clean up after the busyness of the summer. While it is true that summer is the busiest season for most of us at MHV, increasingly, there seems to be no “off-season” at the museum – and that is a good thing!
Looking at my area in the museum, the Curatorial department, things in fact speed up rather than slow down during this time of year. While the public only sees a new exhibit open in late spring or early summer, work on it begins a year and a half in advance. Starting in late fall, we begin to develop the framework for the exhibit and start writing text for the interpretive panels. Early in the new year, the pace quickens as we start working on graphic design, selecting historical photos to provide visual content, and choosing artefacts. By April 1, we aim to be ready to start taking down the current exhibit and preparing the gallery for the upcoming one, all the while doing the final editing on the new one and sending it into production. If all goes well, by May 1, we are away from our desks and working in the gallery full-time, installing the new exhibit. In the curatorial department, the winter season is both the most stressful, but also the most fun, as we bring our vision for a new exhibit to life, offering the community a new way to engage with history.
That schedule describes a normal year for our department, but this year is quite different as we have several new exhibit projects already underway. We are excited to announce that with funding from Manitoba Heritage Grants MHV will convert “Leaving Canada: The Mennonite Migration to Mexico” into a traveling exhibit. Together with our partner on this project, the Mennonite Historical Society of Canada, we aim to hit the road in early spring.
We are also looking forward to a new exhibit coming to the Gerhard Ens Gallery in January. Margruite Krahn’s “Resurfacing: Mennonite Floor Patterns” is both a work of art and a journey into the history of Mennonite floor painting in Manitoba. The opening is scheduled for January 18 (not January 12 as previously released). Preparation for a busy summer is also “off-season” work. We have received funding from the Plett Foundation to carry on with the second phase of our project to re-design and re-print the outdoor interpretative panels and we are planning for a few renovations to address some of the key needs of heritage buildings in the village.
The Curatorial department is not the only area in the museum abuzz with activity during this mythical “slow” time of the year. As the snow falls outside, our Programs department is also gearing up for winter programming like we have not seen before at MHV. So, whatever your plans for this winter, be sure to put MHV on your calendar – we are looking forward to inviting you to join us over the coming months with new exhibits, new programs, and new activities connecting our community to our roots and to each other.
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).
Winter Day Camp Registration Now Open December 28-30. Children ages 6 – 11 are invited to experience winter at the Mennonite Heritage Village! There will be skating, crafts, sleigh rides, and so much more!
The Christmas Train, December 7, 1-3pm Blumenort School Presents selections from, “The Christmas Train.” Join the ‘Train’ as the students travel across Canada to experience different Christmas traditions. Enjoy this school presentation as you sample Christmas goodies and beverages. Open to everyone. No cost for admission.
An Evening with the Authors, December 7, 7pm – Village Books & Gifts presents “An Evening with the Authors”. Join us as local authors Gina Giesbrecht (Come Now, It’s Time to Go) and Rudolf Duerksen (Death at the Grass Huts) share their writing. Refreshments to follow.
12 Deals of Christmas November 15 – December 22 Every Tuesday and Thursday, check out our social media posts or our website at www.mhv.ca for some wonderful deals leading up to the Holiday Season!