Restoration of the buildings along the Mennonite Heritage Village Museum Main Street in Steinbach can continue, thanks to the two grants coming their way through from the Arts, Culture and Sport in Community grant.  

Executive Director, Gary Dyck describes the process of the work so far.  

“So basically, we've been working on winterizing our General Store. We’ve got the installation in; we’re putting a new door at the back and a cold-climate heat pump, which cools the building in summer and heats it in winter. So, that's been a great addition.” 

Dyck continues, “So, to complete that project was the windows. We had been doing a little test on trying to make sure the new windows for the General Store, you know, making sure they are era-correct, and we figured out a nice way to do it. So, we are adding energy-efficient argon windows behind the original ones, and keeping them in the wood frame.” 

Dyck says the $25,000 funding from the first grant that was announced on Monday will cover the cost of the General Store windows.  

“And then, if there's anything leftover, we'll use that money on the windows of the Village Centre. We have a couple of windows that leak when it rains from a certain direction in our offices. And the auditorium windows are, I believe, original to that building, built in 1967, so they are single pane. And because we use the space all year long, that's a big energy waste. We'd love to get those windows up to date as well.”

Exterior of the MHV General Store Restoration work continues on the exterior of the MHV General Store

Dyck expects the General Store restoration to be completed before winter.  

And though one of the main goals of the MHV is showcasing and working on restoring antiques, their computers and computer programs shouldn’t be among them. 

Speaking to the second MHV grant announcement of $24,000 Dyck says, 

“So, we've been noticing over the past years, that our IT budget is going up and up, and you know, nothing is getting cheaper. So, we thought, let's do a study on how as a museum, we could have a more cost-effective IT plan. And find ways that we could self-manage our systems, instead of always having experts needed anytime you want to make a change or an adjustment.” 

Dyck notes their hopes are to finding programs specifically for museums that almost anyone would be able to manage, without it costing hundreds of dollars. He says they have recently discovered a program that shares the artifacts they have at the MHV, with the museum community in Manitoba.  

“And we want to make sure our computers and the programs we use are safer too, because we know there's always more and more ransomware and hacking going on, so we need to learn how to do that better as a museum, and then just in general digitization our systems.” 

Dyck says their dream is to have a digital membership option, so that anyone can renew their memberships or purchase members online year after year. They would also like to streamline the admission process when visitors arrive at the MHV.  

Dyck sees there are a lot of ways they can improve on when it comes to the digital world, and these are just a few of the ways they hope to spend the funds they’ve recently received.

MHV Village Centre Admission deskMHV Village Centre Reception area