Village News

Pioneer Days a Success

   Pioneer Days, the Signature Festival of Mennonite Heritage Village (MHV), was successful in a number of respects. Attendance at this four-day event was up for the fourth consecutive year. Just less than 6900 guests chose to participate in the festivities. Clearly the perfect weather contributed significantly to this strong attendance.

   Pioneer demonstrations contributed to success insofar as they were new to many guests. This year we were pleased that Friesen Drillers again demonstrated well drilling as it was done 100 years ago. It was a popular demonstration last year, and again this year. One of the current year’s new demonstrations was a recently restored player piano. Dozens of people gathered round each time to hear great music produced by the pianist using his legs more than his hands.

   We believe the strong presence of families with young children in the audience is an indicator of success. It’s gratifying to see all these children learning to appreciate the museum. We hope some will be inspired to get involved in museum work in the future.

   The community contributed in various ways. The Steinbach Chamber of Commerce again provided support by way of planning the Pioneer Days Parade. 35 local organizations provided sponsorship for this and other summer events. Special interest clubs like the MHV Auxiliary, The Steinbach and Area Garden Club, the Southeast Draft Horse Association and Steam Club ’71 all supported our work.

   Last, but certainly not least, hundreds of volunteers served one or more shifts at jobs varying from supervising parking to flipping burgers. All of these contributors added to the success of the day.

   Our dependence on volunteers also reminds us regularly that this dependence is also vulnerability. This year the steamer was not in use because the local steam club didn’t have enough certified operators available to run it safely. We wonder how long we will be able to offer demonstrations with a steam engine when only a small number of people still know how to operate a steamer and no new people are learning. Will we be able to offer a threshing demonstration ten years from now if we can’t find people interested in learning how to operate a thresher? Skills such as threshing, log sawing, spinning and quilting are not required in today’s economy.

The Waldheim House

   For several years it has been obvious to us that our oldest heritage house, The Waldheim House, has been in need of significant repairs. The log walls need new chinking, the interior walls need to be re-plastered and the roof needs a new layer of thatch. But these are very specialized repairs because they are not generally required today and as a result, there are very few people who have the skill to do them. Hence they are also quite costly.

   Recently we have secured funding of $100,000 from Western Economic Diversification Canada. This, along with additional funding from some local and other government partners, should make the repairs feasible over the next several years.

   This project should generate broad interest in that the house comes from the former village of Waldheim, just south of Morden, Manitoba, and other heritage organizations will have the opportunity to view the specialized work that will be done here.

Calendar of Events

August 10-14 – Pioneer Day Camp for children ages 9-12

September 7 – Fall on the Farm (10:00-5:00)

September 9 – Heritage Classic Golf Tournament

September 20 – Supper From the Field

Village News

Player Piano Restoration

   For the very first time at Mennonite Heritage Village (MHV), visitors will get a chance to listen to our newly restored player piano during Pioneer Days! Player pianos have captured the imagination of so many listeners over the years, with their delightful jukebox capabilities and mysterious inner workings.

   Also known as the pianola or self-playing piano, the instrument reads its sheet music off rolls of perforated paper, with its pneumatic mechanism, pressurized by the foot pedals, pressing the keys. According to Lydia Dyck, donor of our newly restored instrument, the pneumatic mechanism was taken out of this piano by her father when she was a child, so as to remove distractions and encourage serious practice. This last year, Lydia enlisted the expertise of Gerry Neufeld to restore the original mechanism. After many hours of complex work, he has successfully brought the piano back to full functionality.

   This player piano was purchased by Elizabeth (Penner) Hamm between 1923 and 1934, when she was a young woman. Elizabeth migrated from Russia to Canada in 1905 as a baby, with her mother and grandparents. When she was seventeen she attended Normal School in Regina and became a teacher. She taught for eleven years in one-room schools in the Herbert, Saskatchewan, area. It was during her teaching years that she decided to buy this player piano.

   From an early age, Elizabeth’s daughter, Lydia, loved music. She took lessons and practiced on this piano, later teaching many of her students on it as well. She completed her Bachelor of Education with a Music Major and went on to study harmony and take her Grade 10 piano program at the University of Edmonton. Lydia married Henry Dyck, and in 1976 they moved from Saskatoon to Steinbach. In Steinbach, Lydia began teaching music and giving piano lessons full time. She taught choir and band and learned to play several more instruments.

   When Lydia donated her player piano to the museum in 2010, she explained its significance to her family’s history and to her own story and faith: “When I look at this antique player piano and its story, I am so thankful for the opportunity I had to learn not only notes with it but also develop the gifts I had within me, and to share the music with a wide area of musicians in our southern Manitoba area today. Out of gratitude I choose to have this piano at the Mennonite Heritage Village Museum as a symbol, when I am gone, of what God can do if we give what we have for others.”

   We would like to express our thanks to Lydia Dyck for donating this artifact to our collection at Mennonite Heritage Village and also to Gerry Neufeld for his enthusiasm for the project and the countless hours of volunteer time he gave to restore this piano to playing condition. Please join us in the MHV Auditorium for a demonstration featuring this unique artifact on Friday, July 31, at 3:30; Saturday, August 1, at 3:00; and Monday, August 3, at 3:00.

Calendar of Events

July 31-August 3 – Pioneer Days (10:00–6:00 daily)

July 31, August 1 & 3 – Player-Piano Demo with Gerry Neufeld

August 10-14 – Pioneer Day Camp for children ages 9-12

September 7 – Fall on the Farm (10:00-5:00)

September 9 – Heritage Classic Golf Tournament

September 20 – Supper From the Field

Village News

Foundations for a Strong Future

   Healthy organizations spend a significant amount of time anticipating and planning for the future. This planning is likely to be more effective when the leaders of the organization understand and build on its foundations. At Mennonite Heritage Village (MHV) we are fortunate to have strong and durable foundations.

Faith

   It is the faith of the Anabaptist reformers of the 16th century that gave rise to a Mennonite people-group and a Mennonite culture. The faith of these people gave them the courage to adopt practices which were out of step with the practices of the church and government of that day and to face persecution and martyrdom because of it. Choices such as re-baptism as adults and refusal to become involved in armed conflict were very costly for some.

   It was faith that prompted people to immigrate to new lands and endure the hardships of pioneering in those new lands. On more than one occasion, these Mennonites settled in areas that were inhospitable and undeveloped, resulting in extreme hardships. Many of the earliest Mennonite settlers in Canada spent at least one winter living in a Semlin, a small sod hut partly submerged in the ground. One need only step into our replica Semlin at the museum to imagine and appreciate the challenges of a large family spending the entire winter there.

Family

   Family has typically been foundational in Mennonite life and culture. Privileges negotiated with the government of their migration destination typically included the freedom to provide and control the education of their children, including language and religious education. When Mennonites in Canada lost this freedom in the early twentieth century, many chose to migrate to a new land where it could again be ensured. This time they established colonies in Mexico and Paraguay.

   Today MHV structures itself as a family-friendly museum, designed to provide quality family education and entertainment.

Community

   Mennonites embrace numerous models of community. When the first immigrants arrived from Russia in the 1800s, their normal settlement pattern was the formation of villages. This naturally created a community of families who supported one another by providing goods and services within the village but also by simply being neighbourly and supportive to any in need.

   The church has been a key gathering place and community for Mennonites for centuries. It has been, and in many cases continues to be, the place where people meet to celebrate births, baptisms, and marriages and to offer hope to those who are sorrowing. At times and in certain circles, the church also managed some of the group’s resources to provide for widows and orphans.

   Mennonite Heritage Village is undergirded by a community of people who value their roots and sense the importance of preserving the stories of their forebears so that children and young people can learn from these stories. MHV also serves the greater surrounding community as an educational institution, a playground, and a venue for meetings and social gatherings.

   On the durable strength of its foundation, MHV is poised to build and experience a strong future.

Calendar of Events

July 31-August 3 – Pioneer Days (10:00–6:00 daily)

August 10-14 – Pioneer Day Camp for children ages 9-12

September 7 – Fall on the Farm (10:00-5:00)

September 9 – Heritage Classic Golf Tournament

September 20 – Supper From the Field

Village News

West Reserve 140th Anniversary

   The first Mennonites to come from Russia to Canada arrived in Southeastern Manitoba in 1874, in the area then known as the East Reserve and today as the Rural Municipality of Hanover. This is one of the reasons why the Mennonite Heritage Village (MHV) is located where it is.

   According to an article written by Dr. Lawrence Klippenstein and published in Manitoba Pageant some time ago, Russian Mennonite immigration to Canada peaked the following year, making up 12% of settlers in Canada. As all the land previously designated for this people-group was taken up, new areas were explored, including land west of the Red River. The area between Emerson on the Red River and Mountain City, a small community just south of Morden at that time, was also considered and subsequently settled by many Mennonites. A parcel of 17 townships extending 18 miles north of the US/Canada border became known as the West Reserve, today making up the Rural Municipality of Rhineland (ten townships) and the Rural Municipality of Stanley (seven townships).

   Klippenstein further states that in the same year, 1875, many Mennonite immigrants arrived at Fort Dufferin, just north of Emerson, having come by steamer from Moorhead, Minnesota. These immigrants largely made their way west and settled in villages, in keeping with dwelling patterns from Russia and also used in the East Reserve. Eventually more than 50 villages were established. The Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online (GAMEO) states that more than 3,000 settlers arrived in the West Reserve in 1875 and another 800 in 1876. By 1880 a significant number of Mennonites had migrated from the East Reserve to the West Reserve, despite the fact that the land was almost treeless and they had to haul logs for fuel and lumber from forests farther west.

   Blumenort and Reinland were two of the first villages to take shape in the West Reserve. The first church in this area was built in Reinland and is today the Community Centre in the village.

   This Community Centre in Reinland will be conducting a dedication service for its cemetery and celebrating Reinland’s 140th birthday on July 18. As part of this day of celebration, the Manitoba Mennonite Historical Society (MMHS) will commemorate the 140th anniversary of the arrival of Mennonites in that area formerly known as the West Reserve. A Book Launch for Outsiders Gaze: Life & Labour on the Mennonite West Reserve 1875 – 1922 will be part of the afternoon event.

   Celebrations begin at 11:00 a.m. with a parade of innovations. Lunch and supper will be available, and the evening will include Low-German and other entertainment and fireworks at dusk.

Calendar of Events

July 31-August 3 – Pioneer Days (10:00–6:00 daily)

August 10-14 – Pioneer Day Camp for children ages 9-12

September 7 – Fall on the Farm (10:00-5:00)

September 9 – Heritage Classic Golf Tournament

September 20 – Supper From the Field

Village News

Exhibit Opening

   An intriguing new exhibit has recently been assembled in the Gerhard Ens Gallery at Mennonite Heritage Village (MHV). In keeping with our theme for 2015, this exhibit has been named Mennonite Food: Tastes in Transition. The public is invited to attend an opening event on Thursday, July 9, at 7:00 p.m.

   Curator Andrea Dyck says, “The exhibit explores the question, ‘What is Russian Mennonite food?’ The answer to this question is interwoven with complex issues including religious beliefs, ethnic traditions, socio-economic realities, local landscapes and environments, neighbouring cultures, world politics, and international migrations. All of these influences have resulted in a diverse food tradition with a rich history. Today, nearly five centuries after the birth of Anabaptism, defining Mennonite food continues to be a dynamic and unfolding story.”

   The Gerhard Ens Gallery is open from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and from 11:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Sunday.

Tent on July 5 15

The Storm

   When we had to cancel our Spring on the Farm festival on Victoria Day, I made a point of telling people that when I acknowledge that God has created the weather which causes us to cancel such an event, the cancellation doesn’t upset me. I had to rethink that perspective last weekend. Those of us living in southeastern Manitoba will recall that we experienced a rather violent storm on Saturday evening. After the worst of the storm had passed, I headed over to the museum to check for damage and found our big tent virtually collapsed. The centre poles were still in place but many of the smaller poles around the perimeter were down, and many of the straps anchoring the tent had snapped. Contemplating the damage that the tent had possibly sustained and the work likely required to re-erect it left me feeling somewhat less charitable toward the weather and the God who controls our weather.

   As it turned out, we had almost no further wind for the rest of the weekend, so the crumpled tent stayed in place. On Monday morning a team of seven staff and volunteers spent three hours gently coaxing it back to its usual position. There was no visible damage to the tent, and nobody sustained any injuries in the process. I am very thankful and acknowledge the hand of God in this. We also look forward to the day when we will have a permanent building to replace this tent.

Canada Day Festival

   In the six-and-a-half years that I’ve been on staff at Mennonite Heritage Village, we’ve always tended to feel that an attendance of over 2,000 people per day is a good attendance for a festival day. And it is. On occasion we’ve seen up to 2,500 guests on such a day. This year on Canada Day we had over 5,100 guests. Despite the line-ups at the rides and food vendors, which were somewhat reminiscent of Disney World, guests appeared to be thoroughly enjoying themselves. We appreciate the opportunity to partner with the City of Steinbach in providing a venue to celebrate Canada Day.

   We were privileged to have a blogger from www.mommymoment.ca and her family at MHV for that day. Her blog indicates they had a very good time. We have also recently established our own YouTube channel for MHV. It can be located by searching for “Mennonite Heritage Village” in YouTube. Our channel currently contains video footage from our Canada Day festivities, including the flag-raising ceremony.

Calendar of Events

July 9 – Exhibit Opening at 7:00 p.m. at MHV

July 13-17 – Pioneer Day Camp for children ages 5-8

July 31-August 3 – Pioneer Days (10:00–6:00 daily)

August 10-14 – Pioneer Day Camp for children ages 9-12

Village News

141 Years in Canada

   Swiss Mennonites arrived in Canada long before Confederation. As far back as 1785 these Mennonites were making their way from Pennsylvania to present-day Ontario. The Russian Mennonites on the other hand arrived in Southeastern Manitoba in 1874, seven years after confederation. Life in Canada has been good for these people, as it has for many other people groups who immigrated around the same time, but many things have changed over the decades.

   Mennonites arriving from Russia at that time were covered by an agreement with the government of the day which made large tracts of land available to them and guaranteed them freedom to operate their own private schools and exemption from military service.

   During World War I new rules were imposed on all schools with respect to flying a flag, teaching only in the English language, and having teachers certified by the Manitoba Department of Education. Many Mennonites expressed their objection to these impositions by leaving Manitoba for Mexico and Paraguay in an effort to recover lost freedoms.

   During World War II exemption from military service was no longer guaranteed. Young men who were summoned to enlist for military duty had to defend their position as conscientious objectors to a judge. In some cases judges decisions did not favour the arguments of these young men resulting in some brief prison terms. Those who were granted Conscientious Objector status were expected to perform alternate service in areas such as health care, forestry and construction of national parks.

   The willingness of Mennonites to enlist for military service has also changed over time. During World War I very few Mennonite men agreed to this level of public service. During World War II, several decades after schools came under the authority and regulation of the Province, various reports indicate that anywhere for 30% to 50% of young Mennonite men enlisted. This change had a profound effect on many families, churches and communities.

   In the late nineteenth century many villages were established by Russian Mennonite settlers. This had been the pattern in Russia and was being duplicated in Canada. By the beginning of the twentieth century homes were being built on farms outside of the villages to allow farmers more ready access to their farm land. Many villages in southern Manitoba have since disappeared.

   For centuries Mennonites have sought lives of separation from the world which resulted in somewhat cloistered existence. Until the mid-twentieth century many Mennonite churches conducted worship services either entirely or predominantly in German. In the last half of the twentieth century many Mennonite churches have adopted English as their main language. This has made it easier for these churches to reach out to English speaking people of any cultural or faith background.

   Given the fact that many Mennonites still remember their own refugee experiences, or at least remember stories of the experiences of their parents and grandparents, there has been a concern for current day refugees in many Mennonite communities which has manifested itself in the hosting of significant numbers of refugee families.

   As Mennonite churches and communities have opened themselves to other languages and cultures, individuals have pursued involvement in many non-traditional careers and public leadership roles. Whereas a century ago Mennonites would have largely been involved in agricultural careers, today they pursue careers in multiple professions, including high levels of elected public service.

   These dramatic shifts in culture, faith and lifestyles provide us at Mennonite Heritage Village adequate reason to preserve and interpret our history for the benefit of generations to come.

Calendar of Events

July 13-17 – Pioneer Day Camp for children ages 5-8

July 31-August 3 – Pioneer Days (10:00–6:00 daily)

August 10-14 – Pioneer Day Camp for children ages 9-12

Village News

New Donation

Some artifacts weigh very heavily in my hands, despite being made of cotton and leather. Gerda Klassen recently donated several articles of clothing, including a white cotton vest, long blue skirt, and handmade leather slippers belonging to her great-grandparents, David and Katharina Dick. According to the family’s stories, the couple were wearing them the day they were killed by Russian anarchists in 1919.

Like many Mennonites in Russia, David and Katharina Dick were prosperous and owned a great estate called Apanlee in Molotschna Colony. They lived there peacefully with their children and grandchildren. After the Russian revolution of 1917 and subsequent civil war, anarchists led by Nestor Makhno emerged from the chaos and spread ruin across South Russia. On October 30, 1919, they came to Apanlee. All day, groups of bandits came and went, raiding the house and taking everything they could carry.

At about 11:00 p.m. a carriage with five men pulled up before the house. The group burst into the building and lined up father David, mother Katharina, brothers Jacob and Johann, and employee Mr. Schellenberg against a wall. Other family members and servants hid in the bushes outside. The leader of the intruders demanded fifty thousand rubles. David told him that all their money had already been taken. He asked for permission to go to the other employees on the farm, sure that he could borrow that amount from them. The request was refused. David was shot and fell to the floor, gravely wounded, and he pretended to be dead. Mr. Schellenberg jumped out a window. John threw himself on the bed, waiting for the bullet. When David whispered to him, “Save yourself!” John also leaped out the window. Jake was able to escape through a door. Katharina tried to escape too but was shot twice, her head shattered by explosive bullets. David died from his wounds a day later. In the final hours a choir from Aleksanderkrone came to sing comforting songs.

David and Katharina’s son, David D. Dick, was serving in a military hospital, a conscript of the White (Imperial) Army. It was not until he returned home two weeks later that he learned of his parents’ deaths.

Siblings Anna, Lydia, and Johann were all lost in Russia. Marie, Jacob, Katharina, Justina, David D., Else, Luise, and Helene were able to escape and immigrated to Canada with their families in 1924.

We are honoured to preserve these artifacts and their story at Mennonite Heritage Village.

Calendar of Events

  • July 1 – Canada Day - FREE ADMISSION (10:00-6:00)
  • July 13-17 – Pioneer Day Camp for children ages 5-8
  • July 31-August 3 – Pioneer Days (10:00–6:00 daily)
  • August 10-14 – Pioneer Day Camp for children ages 9-12

Village News

Tractor Trek

Family Pictures 2012 117

   Last week I spent some time on a friend’s farm just a mile from where I grew up in the Burwalde area between Winkler and Morden. It was interesting to see his current line of farm equipment. His newest tractor is only a year old, and apart from the steering wheel and the knobby tires, it bears relatively little resemblance to the tractors we grew up with in that area quite a few years ago. Digital readouts have replaced round gauges with needles in them. The only lever in the cab is about five centimeters long, and that is the lever he uses to shift gears. The other controls are a combination of buttons and “touch-screen” computer monitors. These monitors allow him to control both the operation of the tractor as well as whatever implement he is pulling.

   In stark contrast, 46 people spent a good part of last Saturday driving tractors that are at least 50 years old along a 53-kilometer route in an effort to raise money for Mennonite Heritage Village (MHV) and Eden Foundation. None of these tractors had computer monitors or digital read-outs on them. Most had three or four gauges and five to ten levers, depending on the make and vintage. Furthermore, none of them had air-conditioned cabs. In fact none had any sort of cab, and few had seats designed to encourage good posture for a whole day on the field.

   It would seem that these drivers must just enjoy old tractors, and they do. But they also value the two organizations benefiting from the proceeds of the event.

   I suspect they also enjoyed the fun, food and camaraderie they experienced through that day. After a substantial hot breakfast in the Livery Barn Restaurant and a prayer for safety, the trek headed for Blumenort. Keeping 46 tractors together in a tight group became particularly challenging when the group needed to cross the highway at a traffic light. In Blumenort, we drove through town past the seniors’ home and then pointed the tractors toward Landmark. The lunch stop in Landmark allowed both drivers and guests to vote for their favourite tractor. A barbecue lunch and fine hospitality were provided by the Landmark Kinsmen.

   With a cooler wind in our faces, hinting at the possibility of rain, we headed south to Randolph. There the folks at the Neufeld Garage had prepared coffee and snacks for the drivers and any guests who wanted to drop in to see the tractors. The guests were also invited to cast a ballot for their favourite tractor. From there we headed back to Steinbach in warm sunshine.

   In addition to a fine dinner at MHV, the drivers and guests were given the opportunity to win prizes through a silent auction. The judges also announced their decisions with respect to a number of award categories in which all tractors had been entered. Ben Unger’s beautifully restored 1961 Allis Chalmers D-19 Diesel received the Driver’s Choice award, and Kent Reimer’s 1963 Massey Ferguson Super 90 earned the People’s Choice award.

   The contrasts between the lovely old tractors we spent the day with on Saturday and the high-tech tractors like the one I saw recently at my friend’s farm are significant. Technology has brought about so many changes. It’s interesting to contemplate what might be written about today’s tractors 50 years from now. It would be even more interesting to see what tractors will look like in 50 years.

   At MHV we sometimes talk about the fact that history is always in the making. Eventually everything becomes “history.” Which makes me wonder what stories MHV will be telling in 50 years and what technology will be used to tell those stories. Imagine our smartphones and Apple Watches being on display as artifacts in a museum. A lot of interesting things will no doubt happen on the way to that point.

Calendar of Events

June 19-21 – Waffle Booth at Summer in the City

June 21 - Father's Day Lunch Buffet (11:30-2:30)

July 1 – Canada Day - FREE ADMISSION (10:00-6:00)

July 13-17 – Pioneer Day Camp for children ages 5-8

Village News

Gardening

   I planted my vegetable garden last week. It would not feed a large family for many months of winter, but it does provide some fresh produce in summer. My flower gardening is restricted to maintaining beds of perennials, most of which I got from my mother’s gardens, and hanging a couple of flower pots at the front door, both of which I purchased at a local greenhouse.

   Not only did my mother provide me with perennials for our yard, she also taught me almost everything I know about gardening. It was her habit to brighten the vegetable garden on our farm with some annual flowers. This was a common practice in gardens planted by Mennonites for many decades. While I don’t follow that practice precisely, one of my main perennial flower beds shares a small plot with our vegetable garden.

   In past generations, gardens were often expected to feed a family through the entire winter, so they needed to be very large--as was our garden on the farm. Cucumbers, zucchini, watermelons and muskmelons all take up a lot of space. My mother planted these in rows, not just a single plant like you would now see in my own garden. So in late summer it was easy to go to the garden, pick and wash a few muskmelons, scoop out the seeds, and fill them with ice cream for a very enjoyable dessert.

   Mom taught me that radishes can be planted very early and that they come up very quickly, given the right conditions. She also taught me that asparagus is one of the very earliest garden vegetables to be harvested. Asparagus tips make a very tasty snack, as does kohlrabi.

   Gardens in Russia were known for their prolific orchards. The orchard on our Manitoba farm included many different kinds of fruit. In addition to numerous varieties of apples, we had pears, apricots, plums, chokecherries, gooseberries and currants. Our favourite crab apple was the Trail variety. My cousins still tell me how much they enjoyed those apples. Most of our plums grew wild in the bush and along shelterbelts. There is no better jam than that made from wild plums.

   We learned that one doesn’t need a good eating apple to make a good pie. Some of our apples were very sour but when baked in a pie became quite delightful.

   Gardens also taught us some life lessons. They helped us understand the value of work. No garden does well without hard work. We also learned some patience. There is nothing one can do to make a garden grow faster. But there will eventually be a reward if one works hard and waits patiently.

Facebook

Believe it or not, Mennonite Heritage Village has a Facebook account. In fact, just last week our MHV Facebook page achieved the milestone of 1,000 “likes.” On June 2, when we had reached 985 “likes,” we posted that we would give a copy of our recently published book, A Collected History, to the 1,000th person to “like” our page. The very next day, Lecoka Café House in Steinbach became our 1,000th “like” and won the book. Congratulations, Lecoka!

Calendar of Events

June 13 – MHV/Eden Tractor Trek (leaving MHV at 10:00 am)

June 21 - Father's Day Lunch Buffet (11:30-2:30)

July 1 – Canada Day - FREE ADMISSION

Village News

“Did You Know?”

   The Morning Show hosts on AM 1250 like to play a game they call “The Radio Edition of Did You Know.” With apologies to Michelle, Al and Jayme, I’d like to play a round of “The Village News Edition of Did You Know.”

   Did you know. . . that Mennonite Heritage Village (MHV) can issue a charitable-donation receipt for the donation of an artifact? For example, if someone donates a car that has a significant Mennonite story attached to it and has a substantial economic value, it would be seen as an in-kind donation. In such a situation we would invite the donor to have the car appraised by a certified appraiser. MHV would then purchase the car for the appraised value, and the donor would make an equivalent donation to the museum. The cash donation would then be eligible for a charitable-donation receipt. While many artifact donations have significant historical value, rarely is the economic value worthy of a charitable-donation receipt.

   This is also a valid way to make other donations to the museum. If someone wishes to donate hay for our livestock, we will exchange cheques and issues a receipt for the donation.

   Did you know. . . that MHV takes artifacts on loan? Our collection includes a number of artifacts that the owners are not prepared to part with permanently but, for a variety of reasons, chose to leave the item in the care of our curators. We typically write loan agreements spanning three to five years so that we are obliged to maintain contact with the owner to renew the agreements from time to time. Some valuable pieces have been added to our collection in this way.

   Did you know. . . that you can enjoy lunch at the Livery Barn Restaurant (LBR) without necessarily paying admission to the Village? Guests who come only to eat lunch are not expected to pay the usual admission fee. This practice is designed to give local people the opportunity to enjoy the change of scenery that a stroll down the Village Main Street offers en route to a fine lunch at the LBR. If guests then decide to tour the village after lunch, we ask that they pay admission on their way out. We enjoy seeing local people bring their out-of-town guests to enjoy this unique experience.

   Did you know. . . that the former “West Reserve” will celebrate its 140th anniversary this summer on Saturday, July 18? Mennonite settlers first came from the Chortitza and Fürstland areas of Russia to this region west of the Red River in 1875. Within two years, 25 villages were established here. Today the area includes Altona, Plum Coulee, Winkler and quite a number of those original villages.

   Did you know. . . that there are a number of ways to ensure that one’s estate makes a significant donation to support the work of MHV? A very simple option is to include MHV as a beneficiary in one’s will. A common method is to allocate a percent of the proceeds of one’s estate to charity, to as many organizations as one wishes to support. Another method is to include a charity as a “son” or “daughter.” For example, in a situation where one’s family is grown and independent, someone who has three children might specify that the estate is to be divided into four equal portions, one for each child and one for the charity.

   Life insurance is another option. One can purchase a life insurance policy naming MHV as the beneficiary. While it is impossible to predict when this benefit will be available to MHV, one can be assured that it will be a significant amount.

   There are many other things to be learned at MHV. One good way to learn more about our work is to register as an MHV volunteer. Check out the “Involvement” section of our website at www.mhv.ca for volunteer opportunities.

Calendar of Events

June 7 – Lions Car Show, 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

June 13 – MHV/Eden Tractor Trek

June 21 - Father's Day Lunch Buffet

July 1 – Canada Day - FREE ADMISSION

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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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