The Mennonite Heritage Centre, including its archival and art gallery programs, is being reorganized under a new partnership and name.
Discussions over the last months between Mennonite Church Canada, Canadian Mennonite University (CMU), and the Centre for Transnational Mennonite Studies (CTMS) culminated in a proposal for CMU to assume full ownership of the Mennonite Heritage Centre building and programming of the faith-based art gallery. The archives will be managed and funded by a three-way partnership of MC Canada, CMU and CTMS, itself a partnership between the University of Winnipeg’s Chair in Mennonite Studies and the D.F. Plett Historical Research Foundation Inc.
Under terms of the proposal, CMU will own and maintain the Mennonite Heritage Centre infrastructure, with staff of both the archives and gallery integrated into CMU’s human resources complement. Operational details within the partnership will be further clarified over the coming months. The proposal was accepted by MC Canada’s General Board at a Jan. 13 meeting.
The Mennonite Heritage Centre will be re-named the Mennonite Heritage Archives (MHA) on June 1, the anticipated transfer date to the new partnership.
To facilitate the transition to the new structure, MC Canada will be releasing the current archives programming staff. The full-time position of director, currently filled by Korey Dyck, is being eliminated, while the archivist position, currently filled by Conrad Stoesz, is being expanded to full-time as part of the new partnership. Further announcements for re-staffing the new MHA are pending. A committee representing the three partners will provide leadership to the MHA.
The partnership will seek to continue and to deepen the existing mandate of the archives program, including present and future deposits to the collections of MC Canada and other Mennonite denominations. At the same time, it will expand the focus to include resources that document the transnational Anabaptist experience, including materials related to church communities in the Global South, the Mennonite sojourn in Russia and the Low German Mennonites of the Americas.
The archives program has a distinguished record of service to the church community by storing and indexing congregational, area church and national church records. These records, such as baptismal and church membership information, also constitute a primary source of data for church and family researchers and genealogists. The program also receives donations of records from education faculty, church leaders and others.
The operations of the art gallery will be assumed entirely by CMU on June 1.
The gallery is a bridge between Mennonites and other faith communities, featuring visual arts that share the Mennonite faith story within its own community, as well as bringing the faith stories of other religious groups to the Mennonite community. While the gallery is based in Winnipeg, travelling exhibits have been featured in congregations, campuses, and events such as the MC Canada and Mennonite World Conference assemblies.