As every new year does, 2013 will bring new challenges and opportunities to Mennonite Heritage Village. We are confident that the lessons learned in past years, the vision and energy of our staff and volunteers, and the support of the community will combine to create an exciting and prosperous year.
Although we haven’t yet selected a catchy name for it, our theme this year will focus on windmills and wind power. Windmills have a prominent role in the history of the Mennonites. The windmill at MHV has long served as an icon for this community and draws much attention from our visitors. Today we see a different kind of windmill making appearances at various places in Manitoba and beyond -- windmills that are designed to generate electricity. It will be interesting to link the windmill’s history and its current role in society.
A number of exhibits are scheduled for display in our temporary galleries throughout the year. The Gerhard Ens Gallery will feature Ray Dirks’ art exhibit, On the Road to Freedom: Women Refugees of the 1940’s beginning in February. This will be followed by Windmills: Sailing the Skies opening in June. The Auditorium Gallery and the Art Hall will see a variety of art and photography exhibits.
Festivals are a staple in the life of our museum. We will again deliver Spring on the Farm, Pioneer Days and Fall on the Farm, all designed to teach, entertain and provide the community with a place to gather on these long weekends. These festivals also draw many guests from surrounding communities and even from other countries.
Each year thousands of children and youth visit the museum as part of our Education Program. They come on field trips with their school, they attend our Pioneer Day Camps or they come with their daycare group during the summer months. The Education Program is a key element in the pursuit of our mission and as such will again be given high priority, particularly from May to September.
To help us pay the bills, we will again host a number of fundraising events and activities. Our Sponsorship Program has been revised and will be offered to local businesses wishing to sponsor our summer festivals. The Tractor Trek and the Heritage Classic Golf Tournament are again being planned, as is a summer fundraising concert.
As we plan and prepare for our fiftieth anniversary celebrations in 2014, we will begin to tell stories of our history, our founding, and our development and growth throughout 2013. These stories will be designed to set the stage for the more celebratory events of next year.
MHV has become the venue of choice for many wedding receptions, family gatherings, staff picnics, business meetings and other group activities. We will again seek to improve and enhance the services we provide our guests, including the installation of air-conditioning in the Village Centre Auditorium.
We are pleased to invite our local community and our broader constituency of supporters to again partner with us in delivering the important stories of the Mennonites, their culture and their faith.