City of Kitchener
The Schneider Haus National Historic Site is Kitchener’s oldest dwelling, and is located in downtown Kitchener. The homestead, built in 1816, first opened as a living history museum in 1981. The home, a Georgian-frame farmhouse, was built by one of the earliest non-Aboriginal settlers in the Region, Joseph Schneider. The Pennsylvania-German Mennonite came to what was then Waterloo County with a group of other settlers from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. His homestead has been restored to depict what life was like for the second generation of Schneiders, Joseph Eby Schneider and his family, in the 1850s.
The study and appreciation of Germanic culture is the primary objective of the Schneider Haus. They strive to collect, preserve, research, interpret, and exhibit folk and decorative objects from Waterloo Region, as well as other Germanic settlements in Canada.
Their educational programs provide curriculum-based learning, emphasizing a hands-on approach to history. There are programs available for students ranging from kindergarten to grade 12, English as a Second Language (ESL), or customized programs to suit unique classroom needs. The Schneider Haus also runs summer day camps, giving children an opportunity to travel back in time to the 1800s where they dress in costume and become members of the Schneider family.
The Schneider Haus’ Museum collection consists of more than 7,000 objects, and is home to the nationally certified Canadian Harvest collection. Other items in their collection include paintings, drawings, calligraphy, pottery, weaving, paper cutwork, ironware, treen, decorated furniture and needlework, woven coverlets, hooked rugs, quilts, book plates, illuminated family registers, birth records, inscribed books, glazed earthenware, weather-vanes and whirligigs (wind toys), sculptures, decorated utensils, leather work, decorated gun boxes, game boards, and much more.
Each year since 1990, the Friends of Joseph Schneider Haus have sponsored a Folk Artist-in-Residence. The museum showcases the work of one folk artists and raises awareness for the skills and handcrafted items, which might have otherwise been lost. Previous residencies have included a cabinet maker, blacksmith, wildfowl carver, basket maker, and glass artist.
For a full list of upcoming events and Exhibits, visit their website.
466 Queen Street South
Kitchener, ON N2G 1W7
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