Jean Kilheffer Hess

About 1,500 people come through the Historical Society doors each month. Surprised? You may also be surprised that web users view more than 17,000 pages of our online resources monthly, many pursuing research in our unique collections.

Our staff and volunteers regularly interact with elementary school students, teens, and adults at many life stages. Some might call themselves “history buffs,” and some certainly do not. All value learning about others’ lives, whether that’s through a good story or by examining an item or document.

Recently I joined a stream of young people entering the Mennonite Information Center. This must be a school group, I guessed. To my surprise and delight they organized into two rows and began singing! It turned out they were the Limburg, Germany cathedral boys choir. As the sounds of folk songs filled the air I reflected with gratitude on the gift of knowing one’s own culture(s) even while reaching across boundaries to learn from others’.

Mennonite Information Center welcomes 6,500 visitors during a typical summer month. Surprised? These guests visit from all over the world to learn about Anabaptist faith and life and tour the biblical tabernacle reproduction.

At the 1719 Herr House and Native American Longhouse, approximately 400 monthly visitors enjoy an immersive historical experience. School group “frolics” that include period demonstrations, and other special tours and activities, brought 1,600 students to the museum during 2018. Throughout the summer we surveyed visitors to learn how they found out about the museum and how they evaluated their experiences. One respondent said, “It is fascinating how you bring history alive,” which typifies the many warmly positive responses we received. 

When is the last time you visited one of Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society’s three service centers or visited online? Consider stopping by. You may be surprised by what you find.