Mennonite Heritage Village

To Build a Village – The Farmyard

I love working at the Mennonite Heritage Village (MHV). The heritage buildings, the artefacts, the stories, the grounds and of course the people – I love it all. However, my career in history and culture began forty years ago as a child in a farmyard.

Every summer I would make the one-and-a-half-mile trek from our house to an abandoned early 1900’s historic farmyard in the middle of field. The first artefact I would see on the yard was a dilapidated 1930’s farm truck near the creek. MHV has two trucks just like it that have been perfectly restored. Next, I would walk up to the grand hip barn – looking up it made me dizzy. I loved the feeling of a barn coming alive before my eyes.

As I walked in, a barn owl would spook me and let me have the place to myself. I imagined all the animals in their stalls. Here and there, I picked up wooden artefacts and without a descriptive panel to help me I tried to figure out what they were used for. Gingerly, I climbed up the wood ladder that was missing another rung since my last visit and sit with my legs dangling out on the open side of the hayloft facing the sunset. My favourite childhood hangout, an abandoned farmyard, was my personal museum. 

I also enjoyed wandering around in my grandfather’s interactive farmyard. I would spend half a day playing hide-and-go-seek in a hayloft with cousins, pet the majestic horses and chase silly chickens until the rooster chased silly me. Those days spent in a farmyard were always restorative for the children. It used to be that most children had farmyards as part of their up-bringing. Now most children have no experience of a traditional farmyard at all.  

Recently, Penner Farm Services generously agreed to help refresh the Farmyard at MHV. The Animal Barn will once again shine a freshly painted brilliant red. Oxen are being prepared (for 2022) to join all the usual farm animals, and we plan to have a new straw bale maze on the grounds. Every summer, every child should know what it feels like to play in a traditional farmyard. Thank you, Penner Farm Services for helping MHV provide that experience to the next generation of children! The MHV Farmyard is always our most popular destination for young families.

Upcoming Events

  • The Mennonite Heritage Village is open (Tuesday to Saturday)! Visit our Main gallery (the Gerhard Ens gallery is now closed until late May), watch the flocks of geese arriving at our pond and find something unique at our Village Books and Gifts.
  • April 1, this week is our last installment of SafeAtHomeMB. See all the informative videos on MHV’s YouTube Channel and Facebook, one playlist for adults and one for children.
  • April 6, 7:30pm, MHV’s Annual General Meeting at 7:30pm. Like last year it will still be virtual. The Zoom link and AGM booklet is on our website.
  • April 27, 7:30pm, MHV Volunteer Orientation. More information to come. MHV has a variety of opportunities for you! May 1, MHV outdoor village opens for the season.
  • April 30 – MHV Season Opener Auxiliary Drive-Thru Perogy Dinner Fundraiser.