Q & A with Alexandra Kroeger

   Alexandra Kroeger joined our team here at Mennonite Heritage Village (MHV) in late November as our new Assistant Curator. Some of our volunteers and members of the public have had a chance to meet Alexandra, but for those who have not, I thought I would sit down with Alexandra for a “Question and Answer” session about museum life and her first few weeks here at MHV.

What drew you to MHV?

   I was just finishing up a term position as Acting Curator at the Transcona Historical Museum when I came across this job opportunity. It sounded perfect – I would get to build on the skills I had gained in Transcona, and I would be able to do so while learning about my Russian Mennonite heritage. Lo and behold, I got the job, and it’s even more fun than I’d imagined.

What has been the highlight of your first two weeks at MHV?

   Some big highlights for me have been learning how the Mennonite history I learned in university applies to me and my family, and learning how to tell this history using the artefacts we have in our MHV collection. Also, I’m very excited to know that a large part of my job is learning new things and then telling people about them.

What projects are you working on at the moment?

   Right now I’m doing research for two new exhibits. The first one is a small exhibit that will replace some of the textiles currently on display in the Permanent Gallery, so I know a lot more about Mennonite folk art than I did three weeks ago. This exhibit will be complete by the end of December. The second exhibit I’ve been working on is our new themed exhibit for 2016, which will replace Mennonite Food: Tastes in Transition in the Gerhard Ens Gallery in the new year. I’m also busy cataloguing a backlog of artefacts and editing our collections manual in order to standardize our cataloguing procedures. (Yes, museum people find this interesting!)

And finally, the question every curator gets asked: What is an interesting artifact that you have worked with so far?

   I haven’t been here long enough to become very familiar with the collection yet, but I would have to say I’m most interested in our collection of Fraktur art. Fraktur combines gothic script, calligraphy, and painting in a way reminiscent of Medieval manuscript illumination but was used to decorate everyday things like love letters, wall hangings, and birth certificates.

   Thanks, Alexandra. Although our outdoor village is now closed, our indoor galleries are still open. If you have not yet had an opportunity to take in our 2015 exhibit, Mennonite Food: Tastes in Transition, we invite you to come and explore Russian Mennonite history from the vantage point of the foods Mennonites have eaten throughout the centuries.

Village Books and Gifts hours:

-   Monday through Friday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM

-   December 24 – open till noon

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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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