Hundreds attended Friday’s grand opening of a museum dedicated to the history of the Mennonite people and their long struggle to find a homeland where they could practice their religion.
The Mennonite Heritage Museum features a permanent exhibition on the history of the Mennonite period, a temporary exhibition area, and space for the Mennonite Historical Society of BC, which has collected various valuable historical records. The exhibition currently includes a visual tribute to the Mennonite women, with panels telling dozens of stories, including that of the aunt of Paul Redekop – who conceived of, financed and built the museum.
More than 60 years ago, Peter Redekop was just a young boy as his family fled war-ravaged Europe for Canada. On Friday, Redekop, now a prominent local developer, was joined by family members, dignitaries including Premier Christy Clark, and many others during the museum’s opening.
“I’m just elated, I’m excited,” he said following the ribbon-cutting.
Redekop said it is important for Mennonites to see what their ancestors went through to get to the Fraser Valley.
“It’s very important. Our faith story started in 1520 and we were persecuted in Holland, then in Prussia, then we got to Ukraine and Russia. And now we came here to North America and we have religious freedom, and we want to tell our kids what we all endured for our faith, and that’s so important.”
The Mennonite Heritage Museum is located on the east side Clearbrook Road just south of Highway 1 and is open to the public. For more information, visit mennonitemuseum.org.