Village News

Here’s to the Reopened!

  • Gary Dyck, Blog Coordinator
  • Executive Director, MHV

It takes centuries to build a museum like the Mennonite Heritage Village (MHV). Here we tell the story of the Mennonites who fled ‘dark ages’ oppression from Europe to Prussia, then from Prussia to Russia and finally from Russia to Canada with numerable other trails and detours along the way.

Each century they left us objects and stories that we lovingly picked up with soft white gloves. We cleaned these simple objects-turned-artefacts in order to see the finer details and preserve them for the next generations. We built galleries to tell their story; including a gallery that changes every year because of the many stories our forefathers have to share with us.

Like them we built a village so we could remember community and that we are never alone. Historic buildings were moved, auditoriums and a windmill built, a pond created from a stream, sheds erected to protect larger artefacts and finally a Village Centre to help a growing staff to welcome more and more visitors. A lot has been accomplished in the last 50 years so we could share what we have learned from the last 500.

When we suddenly closed March 19th due to COVID-19, it felt incongruent to MHV staff. To open and build up a museum is a complex, stimulating and life-affirming work. How could we pause the story? Could we really put our revived village back into a comatose state? We did, because we care about our community and the history it needs to fulfill. Eight weeks later we were able to reopen.

Here’s to the beauty of the reopened!
To the lid off of old precious keepsakes.

Here’s to the ones getting out of bed, parting the curtains and greeting the sky.
To having many second chances.

Here’s to overturning the thawed earth and smelling rich secrets.
To new growth in familiar places.

Here’s to the unlocked gate letting guests come in.
To green pastures with far-flung fences.

Here’s to the beauty of the reopened!
To life’s unceasing mercies,
indomitable stances,
and retold stories.
For all the ‘we’ve-been-here-befores’
You are beautiful and you will not stay closed!

MHV is now safely open for your enjoyment and renewal. We have physical distancing protocols in place and a solid cleaning regimen. Welcome to the beauty that is reopening before you!

We also celebrated Manitoba Day this week. You can find what we did online as it was all virtual this year, even though this is Manitoba’s 150th anniversary! We are thankful for the Indigenous and Metis people who received us Mennonites and helped our forefathers to settle into this land. They did their part to make sure that justice, freedom of language and religion were in Manitoba’s DNA. Thank you. Thank you also to our leaders in Manitoba who do such a great job of caring for its citizens, citizens who in like manner do a good job of caring for each other. Keep it up!