May 1, 2024 | Last updated May 2, 2024

Nebraska History Spotlight: Henderson Mennonite Heritage Museum and Park

(May 1, 2024)

The Henderson Mennonite Heritage Museum and Park is a tourism gem where the history of German Mennonites from Russia, along with the history of the town and community, are brought to life.

Founded in 1995, the non-profit organization bought eight-and-a-half acres to preserve and share community heritage. Since then, buildings have been moved or erected on the site, including a church, country school, farmhouse, barn, various downtown businesses, depot, immigrant house, and an agricultural building featuring a display of the beginning of deep well irrigation in the area.

To enhance year-round visitation, a town hall gathering room is Heritage Park’s latest building in progress. It is presently in the design development stage; the organization is soliciting donations to fund its cost.
In addition to individual, group, and bus tours throughout the year, a variety of special events are planned to bring people together to celebrate and remember Henderson’s history. The Park hosts an annual Heritage Day on the second Saturday of September, offering ethnic foods and demonstrations such as apple pressing, rope making, outdoor Russian oven bread baking, glass etching, country school activities, handcrafts, plus live music and other activities.

One of the Park’s main highlights is the Immigrant House, which holds a collection of artifacts brought to Nebraska by the Mennonites in the 1870s. These immigrants had been living in Ukraine, which at that time was part of the Russian Empire. The house also holds a Local Voices of Pacifism exhibit featuring stories of local Mennonites during wartime and how they served their country in a meaningful way through work of national importance.

Henderson Mennonite Heritage Park is entirely run by community volunteers and totally funded through donations and grants. It is open Memorial Day through Labor Day, Tue-Sat 1-4 pm, or by appointment. It is located at 720 Road B, 1.5 miles south of I-80 Exit 342. A calendar of events is posted at hendersonheritage.org and on Facebook (search Henderson Mennonite Heritage Park). Or call 402-723-5694 or email [email protected].

By Henderson Mennonite Heritage Park Committee, May 2024

 

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