You are invited to the Grand Opening of Windmills: Sailing the Skies, an exhibit inspired by the symbol and spirit of the museum – our very own working windmill!

The Grand Opening will be held at the museum June 6 starting at 7:00 PM, kicking off with a talk by Senior Curator Roland Sawatzky and a tour of the exhibit. From there, visitors are welcome to enjoy schnetje with homemade strawberry-rhubarb jam and steaming coffee that will be served at the windmill. Serenading conversation will be the cheerful tunes of Art Rempel.

This exciting exhibit is the centerpiece of MHV’s 2013 annual theme and will be on display from June 6 to October 30.

Why was the windmill chosen for this year’s theme? For visitors and travelers, the windmill is the logo of the Mennonite Heritage Village and a landmark for Steinbach and southern Manitoba. According to Tamara Sawatzky, author of Material Culture: The Dutch Windmill as an Icon of Russian Mennonite Heritage, 1.2 million people visited MHV from 1972 to 2000, 90% of whom saw the windmill as the major attraction.

For those with Mennonite background, the windmill evokes village life. The windmill is an expression of Mennonite values of self-sustainability, simplicity, and agriculture - a unique structure that is associated with Mennonite history. As Tamara Sawatzky states “the windmill activates a knowing, an identity, for Russian Mennonites.”

The windmill dominates the village landscape and has aided the Mennonites in settlement from the Netherlands to the Vistula Delta, Poland, to Russia, to Manitoba. If any one thing could be chosen to encompass the Russian Mennonite experience, it would be a windmill.

The Windmills exhibit was an ambitious undertaking, including the restoration of two additional windmills of a very different style, multiple areas where visitors of all ages can get hands-on experience, and content that spans from 950 AD Iranian windmills to present-day wind turbines in Manitoba.

Get an inside look into the inner-workings of windmill technology, explore Peter Wiebe’s incredible to-scale windmill model, discover new ideas and implications of wind power; come and see the new exhibit Windmills: Sailing the Skies! (By Jessica McKague)

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.