Craft Sale

MHV is fortunate to have associations with a variety of community groups and clubs. We have frequently mentioned the Southeast Draft Horse Association, the Steinbach and Area Garden Club, the Southeast Implement Collectors, the MHV Auxiliary and Steam Club ’71. One group that we haven’t mentioned as frequently is the MHV Crafters. If you have visited the General Store on the Village Main Street, you will have encountered these people. They are the ones who make all the beautiful crafts that are for sale in the General Store. They also staff the store on a volunteer basis, selling each others products and also a few products for MHV. Their work also adds to the richness of the experience of our MHV guests.

On November 5 this group of MHV Crafters is holding its annual Craft Sale in the Village Centre Auditorium. The entire auditorium will be full of tables of crafts for sale. This will be a fine place to start Christmas shopping. The sale begins at 10:00AM and will be open till 4:00PM. Mark it on your calendar for this Saturday.

I gather there is at least one other craft sale in Steinbach at the same time. Invite your friends from far and wide to visit "Craft Sales City" on Saturday, November 5.

Thank You, Summer Staff

Every summer our employee count grows to about three times what it is in the winter. It's not quite winter yet but we have recently said good-bye to this year's crop of seasonal staff. We are grateful for each one who came to join our team.

I want to particularly thank Food Services ManagerHelen Bergern and Facilities Manager Benjamin Klassen for their hard work in providing leadership in their respective areas of responsibility. Both made significant contributions to the successes we enjoyed this past summer. We hope to have them back next year.

MHV, a Signature Museum

MHV is one of six museums that have been designated as Signature Museums by the province of Manitoba. These museums showcase special collections and have the potential to be significantly enhanced heritage tourism attractions. Through a partnership with the province, these six museums plan and deliver joint marketing every year. We met last week to set a plan in place for 2012.

One of our joint marketing ventures this year was the creation of a new website. We are pleased with the fine work of Chez Koop Design, a Steinbach design company. Check out the website at http://manitobasignaturemuseums.ca/ Anyone with a current MHV membership will, at the very least, get a reduced admission rate at any of these museums. A number will give members of other Signature Museums free admission.

In addition to MHV, the Signature Museums are The Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum in Brandon, The Manitoba Agriculture Museum in Austin, The Saint Boniface Museum in Saint Boniface, The New Iceland Heritage Museum in Gimli and The Western Canada Aviation Museum in Winnipeg.

Thanksgiving

There is no doubt that we have much to be thankful for today. Consider with me our land of peace and general prosperity, the freedoms we enjoy, our community, our families, our jobs and so much more. One need watch the news on TV for only a few minutes to realize how fortunate we are. Sure we can gripe about a high cost of living, long waits at the doctors office, politicians who don't seem to understand us, rampant crime, etc. But in which country would we find better living conditions? Where could we find a lower cost of living with a better medical system, a more responsive government and lower crime rates? I can't think of one. We really have much to be thankful for.

I am reflecting today on our ancestors who had the foresight and the courage to leave their homeland and migrate to Canada. Some came in the late 1800s and some came in the early to mid 1900s. Most of them left very difficult living conditions. Some had lost virtually all their wealth while others had lost family members to a repressive government or to revolutionaries. I'm contemplating their feelings of gratitude as they arrived safely in Canada, as they survived the first winter given the harsh climate and their minimal opportunities to preserve food supplies for that winter, as they moved into their first real house after having lived in a semlin the first winter and as they harvested their first crops on land that they first had to clear and cultivate. It seems to me that one would feel thankfulness more keenly when one's very life has been in danger and when one has truly fought for survival, which many of our ancestors did. But really I don't know because I've never been in that state.

Herein lies the value of remembering and reviewing our history. First, we're reminded to be thankful for our ancestors and the challenges they took on to come to Canada and start a new life. A life which built communities and istitutions which have served society and have made our lives so much more comfortable. Secondly, we're reminded of how little one really needs to be profoundly thankful, as our ancestors were when they survived the rigors of migration and pioneer life.

Volunteer Appreciation Evening

Every year our festivals, programs and general museum operations are supported by many faithful volunteers who are essential to the success of MHV. Every October we set aside an evening to express our appreciation to these volunteers. This year that event will take place Thursday, October 13. The festivities will begin at 7:00 PM in the Village Centre Auditorium. All 2011 volunteers are invited to attend, regardless of how many times they volunteered. There will be some words of thanks from MHV representatives, some entertainment and some great refreshments. Don’t miss this chance to relax, visit with friends and enjoy Anna’s fine baking.

Have you booked your wedding venue?

Today as I write this blog, there is a wedding happening in the Village Centre Auditorium. A young couple has just pledged their love to one another and they and their guests are enjoying the reception. The Auditorium is beautifully decorated for the event. Family and friends spent most of the day yesterday moving in and setting up the decorations that have given the venue its unique look for this wedding.

If you’ve read this column in the past, you likely know that many couples choose to use the facilities of Mennonite Heritage Village for their weddings. Some simply come to take pictures among the old buildings and artifacts. Others have a ceremony in one of our churches or beside the artesian well. And some have their receptions under the tent or in the Auditorium. Each wedding is unique.

It seems word is getting around that MHV is a good wedding venue. We already have four weddings confirmed for next year and several pending. So if you are planning a wedding next year or know of someone who is, call Marigold at 326-9661 sooner rather than later to reserve your date. She would love to hear from you.

Association of Manitoba Museums Conference

Last week Thursday, Friday and Saturday it was my privilege to participate in the Conference and Annual General Meeting of the Association of Manitoba Museums. Although we’ve maintained a membership in this organization for a number of years, this is the first year I was able to attend the event.

While I didn’t attend the Collections Management training session on Thursday, I participated in the reception that evening, held in the Brandon General Museum and Archives. This museum, as the name suggests, preserves artifacts and tells stories about the city of Brandon. Since it is quite a young museum it is still relatively small but nicely done.

On Friday we gathered in the Multi-purpose Training Facility located at CFB Shilo, 30 minutes south-east of Brandon. The theme for the day was Raising a Healthy Museum. Speakers presented on topics relating to Workplace Safety and Health legislation, dealing with toxins, arsenic and moulds, storing firearms safely and legally, and proper handling of old pharmaceuticals. Some of these were eye-opening topics. In the afternoon we visited two museums and an art gallery and were challenged to identify health and safety hazards in these buildings and their exhibits. The institutions we visited were the Daly House Museum, The Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba and the Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum. After the completion of these tours and prior to dinner, those of us who chose to participate, were given a quick tour of the RCA Museum at CFB Shilo.

The evening involved a dinner in the Officers’ Mess at CFB Shilo followed by a fundraising auction. Donated items sold for about $1800, the proceeds of which will be used to fund training programs for members of the association.

Saturday sessions were convened in the Brandon Armoury, which also has a museum of war artifacts in it. These sessions included some reports of “Water Wars” as experienced by Brandon, Wawanesa and Souris earlier this year, including some reflection on how the flood affected their museums. The final speaker of the morning addressed the topic Human Connections: How Galleries and Museums Heal Our Communities. It was interesting to hear research findings and how these research findings have developed her perspectives on the positive influences museums and art galleries bring to communities in terms of fostering wellness and wholeness.

Attending such a conference includes numerous benefits. Not only did I get to see five museums and one art gallery, I also met numerous people from other museums and brought the MHV presence to the conference for others to see.

Open Farm Day

Last Sunday was “Open Farm Day” in Manitoba. This event, sponsored by Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives, invites people who don’t normally experience farm life to get out of their towns and cities and go visit farms. Over forty farms invited visitors to spend part of the day with them. Our MHV Livery Barn Restaurant was one of two locations in Manitoba where “Supper From the Field” was served. Chefs from the Canadian Culinary Federation prepared locally grown food for approximately 250 guests. Both the 4:00 and 6:00 meal sittings were sold out. Many of the dinner guests were first time MHV visitors and also spent time in the Village either before of after the meal. This is our second year of partnership with MAFRI.

Mennonites have been known for their expertise in agriculture for many years. In the eighteenth century Catherine the Great of Russia negotiated an arrangment with a Mennonite delegation making it attractive for Mennonites to migrate from Prussia (Poland) to Russia to help in the development of agriculture. This migration began in 1789 and brought the Mennonite agricultural skills to Russia. In the nineteenth century the Mennnonites brought their expertise to Canada. So today it is fitting that MHV participates in this "Open Farm Day", in part to remind the public of the agricultural part of our history and of that particular contribution to society.

Last Sunday was “Open Farm Day” in Manitoba. This event, sponsored by Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives, invites people who don’t normally experience farm life to get out of their towns and cities and go visit farms. Over forty farms invited visitors to spend part of the day with them. Our MHV Livery Barn Restaurant was one of two locations in Manitoba where “Supper From the Field” was served. Chefs from the Canadian Culinary Federation prepared locally grown food for approximately 250 guests. Both the 4:00 and 6:00 meal sittings were sold out. Many of the dinner guests were first time MHV visitors and also spent time in the Village either before of after the meal. This is our second year of partnership with MAFRI.

Mennonites have been known for their expertise in agriculture for many years. In the eighteenth century Catherine the Great of Russia negotiated an arrangment with a Mennonite delegation making it attractive for Mennonites to migrate from Prussia (Poland) to Russia to help in the development of agriculture. This migration began in 1789 and brought the Mennonite agricultural skills to Russia. In the nineteenth century the Mennnonites brought their expertise to Canada. So today it is fitting that MHV participates in this "Open Farm Day", in part to remind the public of the agricultural part of our history and of that particular contribution to society.

Sibera, An Evening of Armchair Travel

On Friday, September 23, the MHV Auxiliary will host an evening of entertainment, education, visiting and food. Come and enjoy an evening of “armchair travel” with Len Loeppky as he shares pictures and stories of a recent tour of this part of Russia. Visit the homeland of the Kasdorf Family from Niverville. Enjoy coffee and a piece of homemade pie with ice-cream as you visit with friends who have either lived or traveled there. Admission to this fundraising event is only $10.

Great Volunteers

One of the rewarding aspects of life at MHV is the generosity of volunteers. Prior to our Fall on the Farm festival, a small group of volunteers made it their responsibility to get the antique binder up and running, ready to cut our field of oats on festival day. Last Monday, they were in fact able to start the cutting process during the festival. Unfortunately a breakdown stopped the cutting early, but the next day they repaired the binder and got that job completed.

Those readers who experienced farm life 50 or more years ago will know that once the oat sheaves are cut, they have to be stooked in order to dry. We are very grateful for the volunteers who came on their own accord and finished this important task for us. We are not sure how many there were or who they were, but they did what needed to be done. Thank you, whoever you are!

Here's what the sheaves look like in stooks.

Sheaves of oats set up to dry in stooks.

The views expressed in Community Blogs are those of the author, and are not necessarily shared by SteinbachOnline.com

Steinbachonline.com is Steinbach's only source for community news and information such as weather and classifieds.

About the Author

Barry is the Executive Director of the Mennonite Heritage Village. While he does not consider himself to be a historian, he places a high value on the preservation and interpretation of the Mennonite and pioneer stories that help people of all ages understand and appreciate their heritage. Learn more about the MHV.

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