The last major piece of our Windmills: Sailing the Skies exhibit is now in place. Recent visitors will have seen an old portable windmill on display at the west end of the Village Main Street, near the General Store. This portable windmill is believed to have been constructed by Abram B. Wiebe who homesteaded a farm near Mitchell in 1877. It was brought to our collection in 1985 by then curator John C. Reimer. In preparation for this year’s theme, Peter Wiebe once again brought his skills to MHV and rebuilt the sails for this windmill.

Guests may wonder how the simple wood-frame sails would ever catch any wind to produce and deliver energy to the crusher inside. These sails would have been covered with fabric when it was actually time to use the mill. An example of such a sail is on display in the exhibit in the Gerhard Ens Gallery.

Portable windmills were frequently used to saw wood and grind feed for animals. The energy of the wind was captured by the windmill and transferred through pulleys and belts to operate the equipment. This portable windmill will reside in its new location for the balance of the summer.

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.