Manitoba Pageant, Autumn 1965, Volume 11, Number 1
One of the highlights of Canada's Centennial celebrations in 1967 will be the opening of the Mennonite Museum at Steinbach in Manitoba. This imaginative project will include a Museum and a reconstructed Mennonite Pioneer Village. The Museum project was officially launched just over a year ago, when proposals presented by the Manitoba Mennonite Historical Society were officially approved by the Councils of the Town of Steinbach and the Rural Municipality of Hanover. The modern Artifacts Museum part of the $250,000 complex will be supported by the Province of Manitoba and by the Federal Government in the amount of $7,463 each, through the Federal-Provincial Centennial Grant Program.
Outside the modern building will be a cairn which will carry the names of the 18 families who were first to set foot on Manitoba soil and who staked out the first village in the East Reserve in the 1870s. The village will centre around a pioneer home to be reconstructed in detail, together with its stake fences, stock pens, open well and fruit garden.
On the same side of the street as the pioneer home, a church school will be built. Adjoining it will be another original home, built of oak logs and boasting a thatched roof. This building was moved to the site some time ago from its original location a few miles south of Morden.
The "business section" of the village street will be highlighted by a wind-operated grist mill, a replica of one built at this location by the forefathers of the present Steinbach Flour Mill operators in 1876. It will be an operating mill, capable of grinding prairie grain.
There will be a cheese factory and a saw mill, a blacksmith's shop, a general store. It is hoped that the general store will be outfitted, and that there will be articles for purchase. The cheese factory may actually manufacture cheddar cheese for sale to tourists. The first municipal building of Hanover will complete the business section.
An area has been designated on the site for display of large equipment such as old steam engines, threshing machines, other articles. The complex will contain a large picnic area, parking space, rest rooms and a caretaker's residence.
The first of the Mennonite families to come to Manitoba came from south Russia and about 7,500 emigrated to Canada from 1874-1880. The first 18 families established the village at Kleefeld, about 8 miles south-west of Steinbach. Of the 130,000 Mennonites in Canada today, about 50,000 live in Manitoba.
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