Last week was a busy and eventful week at Mennonite Heritage Village. The week started with The Lions Charity Car Show on Sunday. This is an annual event organized and hosted by a committee of the local Lions Club. We are always pleased when they choose our facility as their venue. It brings hundreds of visitors into our facility who may not come to visit MHV for any other reason.
On Thursday evening about 60 guests joined us to celebrate the opening of our latest exhibit, Windmills: Sailing the Skies. Roland Sawatzky gave a brief lecture on the history and some of the current uses of wind power, after which the guests were invited to tour the exhibit in the Gerhard Ens Gallery. The evening wrapped up with coffee and cookies served on the deck of our windmill.
On Friday eight of the ten authors of Mennonite Girls Can Cook: Celebrations were our special guests. They spent a couple of hours here signing their books, some of which were newly purchased in our Gift Shop and some previously acquired and brought in specifically to be signed. They also left a dozen signed copies on the shelf in the store. Our Gift Shop sold 19 copies of Celebrations, about a dozen copies of their first book, Mennonite Girls Can Cook, as well as a number of aprons.
Saturday saw 38 vintage-tractor drivers show up at MHV before breakfast to get their machines ready for a day of driving. This Tractor Trek was the fourth annual fundraising event organized by MHV and Eden Foundation. Breakfast and dinner were provided by The Livery Barn Restaurant at MHV. Members of the RM of LaBroquerie Council provided lunch and a great rest stop at the LaBroquerie Park. At the end of the day, the event had raised $29,000.
Also during that busy week, our Education Program staff and volunteers hosted over 500 students as well as an adult tour group. Groups of school children will now be an everyday occurrence here until the end of June. Our rentals business also hosted a wedding and a number of other functions during the week. We’re happy to be busy.
Last Thursday I had the privilege of attending a meeting at a heritage museum in Cook’s Creek, Manitoba. The Association of Manitoba Museums initiated this meeting for museums in the Eastern Region. Participants represented the St. Georges Historical Society, Cook’s Creek Heritage Museum, Canadian Museum for Human Rights, Enfant-Jesus Heritage Site, the Association of Manitoba Museums, and Mennonite Heritage Village.
It was interesting to share strategies, successes and challenges around the table. The Association of Manitoba Museums reported that their application for operating funds through the federal Museum Assistance Program has recently been declined. This grant has been a regular source of funding for them, used to subsidize one of their programs. As these funds will now be unavailable for this year’s operations, the association will unfortunately need to reduce services provided to museums.
The association also reported on their Museum Certificate Program. Seven one- and two-day courses are offered to museum staff and volunteers to equip them to do the work of a museum. These courses are offered in a variety of geographic locations in order to accommodate people from across the province. The association website can be found at www.museumsmanitoba.com .