Joining the MHV team at the beginning of March, I arrived to see the village completely blanketed in snow. As picturesque as this scene was, it meant that many of the buildings on the museum grounds have been fairly inaccessible. So, as a curator stepping into a new role, I am eagerly anticipating the end of this long winter, as that will mean we can walk through the village unimpeded by snowdrifts and I can finally get a good look at the interiors of the heritage buildings on our grounds. I am looking forward to opening all the buildings and getting them ready for the season with Assistant Curator Jessica McKague and to seeing the village full of people during the summer months.
It has also been a privilege to meet some of the many volunteers who offer their time and talents here at the museum. To visualize a more detailed picture of just how vital our volunteers are to the work and programming that happens at the museum, consider this: Over 300 people filled approximately 900 volunteer shifts at MHV during our festival days in 2013! This number includes those serving with our education programs, at the front desk, or around the grounds. We also have a dedicated group of volunteers who serve here over the winter. One of the highlights of my first months here was taking a drive around the village with one of these volunteers, Dick Friesen. It was one of the first days that finally felt a little like spring, and I wanted to get a first-hand look at the hay-wagon restoration project he has been working on over the course of the winter.
While we were out there, we visited the buildings housing the museum’s collection of vehicles, machinery, and farm equipment, which I had not yet had the opportunity to visit. This introduction to our collection of large artifacts was cause to reflect yet again on what a unique museum this is, with its diverse collection of artifacts as large as the steam engines outside and as small and delicate as the child’s leather shoe excavated recently at the Blumenhof archeological site and currently on display in the Gerhard Ens Gallery.
What a privilege it is to be a part of the MHV team and to have joined it in its 50th year! I look forward to seeing the village in full swing, after we have finally shaken off the last vestiges of this long winter, and to meeting many new faces over the course of this summer season.