A vision for the MHC Archives and Gallery

July 20, 2016 | Focus On | Volume 20 Issue 15
Aaron Epp, Young Voices Editor

Did you know that if all of the textual records and photographs in Winnipeg’s Mennonite Heritage Centre (MHC) Archives and Gallery were stacked on top of each other, they would be taller than the CN Tower?

That was one of the facts Korey Dyck shared during a seminar entitled “History matters: A new vision for the Mennonite Heritage Centre” that he led.

Dyck, as the centre’s director, said there is something for everyone in the archives: “We can find stories that everyone will appreciate.”

He outlined six strategies that MHC staff have created to ensure the centre’s future viability and to help it carry out its mission to facilitate “respectful community dialogues so that faith perspectives engage current events through the collection, preservation and exhibition of curated art and heritage projects.”

Those strategies include establishing a national presence through things like travelling art exhibits and digitizing archival material; engaging new audiences by developing the MHC’s online presence as well by as hosting diverse public events; and institutional collaboration, like the Mennonite Archival Image Database, which includes material from the MHC as well as other archival partners.

Archival material is important, Dyck said, because it allows people today to learn from those who came before them. “If we collect the material and it’s available in an archive, it’s just waiting for people to learn from,” he said.

Further strategies that the MHC staff hope to implement to ensure the centre’s future viability include: income growth through grant writing and promoting legacy gifts and bequests; maximizing operational efficiency by developing a technology replacement strategy and simplifying the intake process; and exploring archival growth opportunities, such as creating an art bank and developing educational programming.

In addition to serving Christians, Dyck said that the MHC serves many people who have never stepped foot in a church. “[The MHC] is a way to host people . . . so they can understand who Mennonites are [and] why faith is important to [us],” he said.

To learn more, visit the MC Canada Archives.

More about seminars at Assembly 2016:

Making a case for community
‘Young adults don’t need the church’
The future lies in the past
A vision for the MHC Archives and Gallery
The place of a ‘confession’ in church life
Laments and hopes for MC Canada
Exploring tough subjects and intense spaces
Good news sometimes comes in small packages
‘Partnering with God’s healing and hope’
Seeing dystopian heroines as prophets

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