One of the newest artifacts at Mennonite Heritage Village is a pair of hand-made ice skates. The skates were donated by Ken Kristjansen. It is estimated that they are more than 100 years old.

The skates are relatively simple, consisting of a steel blade with a wood block mounted on the blade and strips of leather to fasten them to shoes. The blacksmith who made the blades was obviously a craftsman who took great pride in his work. They have exquisitely curled tips and some additional design work at the back of the blade. While the wood blocks are somewhat crudely fastened to the blades, they are notched to accommodate the heel of a shoe, perhaps a ladies shoe.

Looking at the skates leaves one with the sense that standing on them, let alone skating on them, would make for a rather precarious perch. No doubt hockey games were not quite as fast moving at that time as they are today and probably triple axels were less common in figure skating. The skates are on display in a case in our main foyer.

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.