New Exhibit (by Jenna Klassen)
As we patiently count down to spring, we in the Curatorial Department at Mennonite Heritage Village (MHV) are enthusiastically planning our 2018 exhibit for our Gerhard Enns Gallery. This exhibit focuses on the Mennonite wall clocks that have decorated Mennonite homes and been passed down through the generations. It explores the Mennonite craftsmen who built the clocks, the role of these clocks in Mennonite culture, the changes and differences in clock mechanisms and designs, and the beautiful restorations done by Arthur Kroeger in recent years.
We are excited to display approximately thirty clocks in this exhibit, many coming from the clock owners in our community. MHV boasts seventeen of our own wall clocks, built by various clockmakers, which demonstrate diverse decorative designs and a range of mechanism complexities.
To make this exhibit come to life, this year we are partnering with the Kroeger Clocks Heritage Foundation (KCHF), with additional support from the Heritage Grants Program of the Province of Manitoba and the Mennonite Heritage Village Auxiliary.
Inspired by Arthur Kroeger and his passion for restoring Mennonite clocks, the KCHF has dedicated itself to continuing Arthur’s work. The KCHF is committed to preserving the history of Mennonite clockmaking, Mennonite history as told by the histories of these clocks, and the memories the clocks still hold for their owners today. To do this, the KCHF is professionally photographing Mennonite clocks around the world, documenting their histories through research and interviews with the clock owners, and compiling detailed information about these clocks so we can better understand these historical objects.
Our partnership with the KCHF has given us at MHV resources that we would not have had access to without this relationship. In addition to financial support, the KCHF has generously given us use of their research materials, beautiful professional photography of clocks already cataloged for their virtual collection, and their staff resources. They have also connected us with clock owners willing to let us display their historical clocks in this joint exhibit.
Currently, the KCHF is creating a virtual museum where this information will be accessible with just the click of a mouse to all who are interested. More information can be found at www.kroegerclocks.com.
Although spring feels far off, preparation for such an exhibit begins early. In the first weeks of the new year we decide the themes we’d like to explore in the exhibit, design the layout with the graphic designer, select which artefacts or objects will best illustrate our themes, and write the initial text for the interpretive panels.
For me, exhibit writing has been the most challenging part of this process so far. In university I became accustomed to writing lengthy essays, often over twenty pages long. While this was challenging at times, I have come to learn in the last few weeks that it is even more challenging to discuss an entire topic in just two hundred words (or less)! There is often far more information than space to say everything you would like to say, so exhibit writing becomes a hard lesson in learning what can be left out and how to write the remainder very succinctly to make every word count!
Despite its challenges, creating an exhibit is an exciting and creative part of being a curator! We look forward to sharing our hard work with you when this exhibit opens in May.
Winter Carnival (by Patricia West)
We are super excited to open our outdoor village to you on February 17 for our brand new event, the Winter Carnival. We will have so many fun things happening that day. There will be a tug-of-war contest, a hood hustle (try it out - it’s a lot of fun), snowman building (if the weather is suitable), ice-skating, bowling, sledding and much more. We have the City of Steinbach to thank for their hard work creating our skating rink.
Warm yourself in the Village Centre with hot chocolate, coffee or tea from our Hot Chocolate Bar, sponsored in part by Sweet Life Tea. There will also be a canteen on site to purchase lunch and snacks.
It has been fun creating this new event for you, and we hope you will come out and enjoy the day with us on Saturday, February 17, from 10 AM to 4 PM. Admission to this event is free.
Calendar of Events:
February 16, 8:00 PM - Guys & Dolls Gala
February 17, 10:00 AM - Winter Carnival
February 22, 7:00 PM - An Evening with the Authors
Image Caption: This wall clock was made by one of the clockmaking Kroegers in the 1910s. It was brought to Canada in 1924.