By Jessica McKague

Mennonite Heritage Village is turning fifty, and we invite visitors to “Celebrate with Us” by joining in our events, projects, and festivities. Last year our Windmills: Sailing the Skies theme generated several large-scale projects, and the momentum has only ramped up this year. Take a trip down memory lane in our auditorium exhibit MHV at 50; our grand, jam-packed Gerhard Ens Gallery exhibit A Growing Community Collection, 50 Years; our monthly events throughout this year. . . and our featured project to restore one of the museum’s hidden treasures – our handmade 19th century long hay wagon.

Even as it sat drowning in grass and spare parts in a far corner of our property, this time-worn wagon still retained its beautiful design: dished-out wheels, antique iron, and hand-carved spokes. Homemade circa 1890 or prior, with its hand-carved and welded features, this is no ordinary wagon.

Dick Friesen, one of our museum’s dedicated volunteers, is spearheading the restoration project along with his team: Dave Ginter, Jack Loewen, Peter Giesbrecht and Bob Schmor. As much of the original nineteen-foot-long wagon will be kept as possible. Using whole pine tree trunks, ash logs, and salvaged parts, rotten pieces will be replaced. The wheels have presented a major challenge in the project, but Dick is confident they will be able to either fashion or salvage the needed components. The wood of the wagon will remain unpainted, staying true to its original design.

The project is tentatively expected to be completed by May 1st so that it can be on display for the 50th anniversary summer season.

About the Author

Gary is responsible for the overall management of MHV. Guiding the staff, informing the board, and networking with officials, volunteers, corporate sponsors, individual donors and other guests. He has a business diploma and a MA in Global Studies from Providence Theological Seminary. With his family he did humanitarian work for 18 years in Asia, including being a CEO of a Compost Enterprise in China. He loves to discuss the Mennonite story and how it is relevant in our world. Learn more about the MHV. is Steinbach's only source for community news and information such as weather and classifieds.