Annual General Meeting

   The Annual General Meeting (AGM) of Mennonite Heritage Village (MHV) was held on Tuesday, March 22, at the museum. This meeting, required by law, provides members the opportunity to hear about museum events and activities, evaluate the success of MHV in achieving its mission, elect directors to the board, and participate in other decision-making regarding the museum’s governance.

   Reports from each department of the museum addressed our various programs, reflecting on the past year and also providing some information about plans for the upcoming season.

   The Curatorial report indicated that 104 artifacts had been received from 34 donors in 2015. Last year’s exhibit in the Gerhard Ens Gallery, Mennonite Food: Tastes in Transition, is about to be replaced by a new exhibit, Beyond Tradition: The Lives of Mennonite Women, to explore MHV’s 2016 theme. This department is also preparing to do a major restoration of the Waldheim House in 2016 and 2017, for which we will receive funding through the Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program. Both our windmill and the Old Colony Worship House are scheduled for restoration work this year.

   The report from our Programs Department indicated strong attendance on our festival days in 2015 but somewhat less in our Summer Education Program. Members were reminded of the significant role volunteers play in the success of museum programing. Our Programs Department will be introducing some changes this year. Our usual one-day Spring on the Farm festival will be replaced by a number of special-focus spring activity days, each highlighting a particular activity.

   Our MHV businesses all performed well, bringing in net income of just over $134,000 to help pay some of the museum’s operating expenses. Our facility rentals, the Livery Barn Restaurant, and Village Books and Gifts all contributed to the museum in this way, while also providing goods and services to the community.

   In the MHV Auxiliary’s report, members were informed that this fundraising arm of the museum raised over $44,000 toward various projects and initiatives at MHV. Beyond these significant dollars raised, the Auxiliary generates goodwill through their various activities, particularly their waffle production on festival days.

   In addition to our usual fundraising events throughout the year, MHV rolled out a new development initiative last fall -  Foundations for a Strong Future. This complex project is designed to strengthen the base on which the museum is built by providing a permanent building to replace the tent that serves as the venue for our festival entertainment; by restoring the Waldheim House and a number of other heritage facilities; by replacing all the furnaces and air conditioners in the 26-year-old Village Centre; by paying off our remaining debt; and by adding to our Endowment Fund. Each of these components of our Foundations campaign will strengthen the museum for its ongoing role in the community.

   Thanks to revenue already received in 2015 toward the Foundations campaign, our Audited Financial Statements indicate that our corporate fund balance improved by $67,608 during 2015.

   Six people were elected to the MHV Board of Directors. Doris Penner, Scott Barkman and Scott Reimer were each reelected for another three-year term. Glen Klassen, Marlene Reimer and Waldemar Ens will be new directors on the board. John Klippenstein, former Board Chair, was recognized for his contributions to the board during his almost six years of service.

   As usual, the evening ended with socializing over coffee and homemade doughnuts, compliments of Dora Penner.

Calendar of Events

- Apr 3 – Vespers Service – 7:00 PM

- Apr 21 – Volunteer Orientation – 7:00 PM

- May 1 – Outdoor Village and Livery Barn Restaurant will open for the season.

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.