Last weekend I participated in Assembly 2013, the Convention and Annual General Meeting of the Mennonite Brethren Church of Manitoba. After one of the sessions I encountered Gord. Gord is aware of my involvement with Mennonite Heritage Village so he had a story to tell me. The story involves him taking a particular young woman to MHV on their first date. Both lived in Winnipeg at the time and this seemed like a suitable place for a first date. This young woman eventually became Gord’s wife. Did MHV play a “match-making” role for this couple? Who knows?

At the same convention I met Ed, another person I’ve known for years but don’t normally encounter other than at “conference” functions. Ed told me of one of his visits to MHV where he was startled by the size of the oxen we had at the time. He had never imagined that an animal, other than an elephant, could be so large. This was clearly a memorable experience for him and his guests. MHV creates all kinds of memories for different people.

Some time ago I met Dan at MHV on a Sunday afternoon. Dan and I were in the same grade in high school many years ago. We hadn’t seen each other for so long we didn’t even recognize each other until we introduced ourselves. Dan told me that he was dealing some health issues and that visiting MHV was on his “bucket list.” A few months later I learned that Dan had passed away. What an honor to realize that our museum was on someone’s “bucket list.”

MHV is a popular destination with young families. From time to time I meet these families and learn that their reason for visiting the museum has to do with the fact that the child/children visited with their school as participants in our education program. That experience inspired them to convince the parents to bring them back for another visit.

The mission of Mennonite Heritage Village is “to preserve and exhibit, for present and future generations, the experience and story of the Russian Mennonites and their contributions to Manitoba.” It would seem that this mission would primarily appeal to people with a significant interest in history, specifically Mennonite History. In fact, a large portion of our guests are not necessarily historians. The Village appeals to many demographic groups as can be seen by the stories above. The Village also creates memories for many people which is a positive thing for both the museum and the guests.

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About the Author

Barry is the Executive Director of the Mennonite Heritage Village. While he does not consider himself to be a historian, he places a high value on the preservation and interpretation of the Mennonite and pioneer stories that help people of all ages understand and appreciate their heritage. Learn more about the MHV.

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