Extraordinary wall clocks on display at Mennonite museum
An exceptional collection of Russian Mennonite wall clocks is on display this month at Mennonite Heritage and Agricultural Museum in Goessel.
The oldest is dated 1822. Several other privately owned clocks also will be on display.
A Russian Mennonite wall clock is a large, long pendulum wall clock driven by weights, all metal and without a wooden cabinet.
These clocks were intended for the farm households of the 19th century. They were sought after in the Mennonite villages of Ukraine and were essential in every Mennonite home to maintain the order of daily living.
The well-made clocks were hielooms and status symbols.
When a couple got married, the groom received a clock from his parents. The couple’s initials and the year were painted on the clock’s face.
In 1890, a laborer had to work two months to earn the price of a clock. Those who could not afford a clock were “not properly established.”
Clocks were packed and taken along by Mennonite immigrants. Some were packed into trunks or baskets and some were wrapped in a blanket and carried on to their ship for the long trip to their new homes on the prairie.
Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Regular admission is $5. Members are admitted free.
Last modified Sept. 19, 2019