Schneider Haus National Historic Site is Kitchener’s oldest surviving building, located in downtown Kitchener. The study and appreciation of Germanic culture is the primary objective of the Schneider Haus. They collect, preserve, research, interpret, and exhibit folk and decorative objects from Waterloo Region, as well as other German settlements in Canada.
The homestead, built in 1816, first opened as a living history museum in 1981. This Georgian-frame farmhouse was built by Joseph Schneider who was one of the earliest non-Aboriginal settlers in the Waterloo Region. 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. Costumed interpreters demonstrate traditional tasks and provide visitors with the opportunity to enjoy hands on activities, workshops and more. Included on the property are three outbuildings, along with a typical Pennsylvania-German garden. Schneider Haus also features a gallery that is separate to the haus where changing exhibits are showcased on a regular basis.
Educational programs at Schneider Haus provide curriculum-based learning, emphasizing a hands-on approach to history. There are programs available for students from kindergarten to grade 12 as well as customized classroom programs. The Schneider Haus also runs summer day camps, giving children an opportunity to experience life in the 1800s as they dress in costume and become members of the Schneider family.
The Schneider Haus’ museum collection consists of more than 7,000 objects, focusing on items that reflect the unique identity and folk traditions of Waterloo Region. Items in the collection include paintings, quilts, birth records, leatherwork, board games and more.
Each year since 1990, the Friends of Joseph Schneider Haus have sponsored a Folk Artist-in-Residence. The program is designed to support local artists and artisans working in traditional crafts and trades, such as wood carvers, blacksmiths, painters, and master bakers.
For a full list of upcoming events and Exhibits, visit their website.