Discovery Room, Museum Galleries
Keeping Time: The Art and Heritage of Mennonite Clocks, provides an in-depth look into the craft and art of Mennonite clocks made in Europe and transported by immigrants to the Americas over the last two centuries. Beautiful in and of themselves, each clock also has an important story to tell about its owners and their experiences of migration.
These clocks were made by a limited number of Mennonite clock manufacturers working in a cottage industry with small workshops in southern Ukraine. Extended family members pitched in to build and decorate the clocks. They were often purchased as wedding gifts for young couples, to be hung in their living rooms, and many were passed down to younger generations. The clocks came to symbolize family, permanence, and stability. It is no wonder that during times of migration, whether forced or by choice, these clocks were often carefully packaged and carried, by foot, cart, train, or boat, across thousands of miles, sometimes to multiple continents.
The Mennonite diaspora around the world is represented in these clocks, and all were transported by families from Ukraine to Germany, Canada, the United States, Mexico, Paraguay, Russia, and more. Hundreds made there way to Manitoba from 1874 to the present over multiple migration events, including initial Manitoban settlement in the 1870s, the Bolshevik revolution and civil war in Russia, followed by Soviet pressure on sectarian religious groups, and dispersal and exile during and after WWII.
This temporary exhibition features 15 Mennonite clocks, made between the late 1700s and early 1900s and transported to Manitoba by Mennonite immigrants over many decades. These beautiful timepieces were made in Mennonite workshops in Ukraine, and represent Mennonite migration stories, mechanical ingenuity, folk art, and family life.
Access to this exhibition is included in General Admission to the Museum Galleries.