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This article was published 3/3/2015 (812 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Located in a small storefront building at 1417 Main St., near Luxton Avenue, the non-profit Polish Museum Society Inc. Ogniwo is run completely by a group of dedicated volunteers.
"Our mission is to present Polish history, culture, traditions, and folklore, as well as the history of Polish immigrants in Manitoba and Canada to the Canadian public," says Christine Tabbernor, president of Ogniwo’s board of directors, as she sits in the museum’s modest-sized display area.
"We want to develop an awareness and understanding of the Polish experience in Canada in current and future generations of Canadians, presenting our stories through exhibitions, presentations, workshops and special events."
Tabbernor adds that an essential aspect of that focus is the collection and preservation of artifacts reflecting both rural and urban lifestyles of Polish immigrants and their families.
Over the past few years, the museum has held a number of interesting exhibits and events that promote the Polish experience here.
For example, Tabbernor points to Dance Through Time: A Reflection of Polish Folk Culture in Winnipeg, which ran for several months in 2014.
"We cover the entire gamut of Polish culture — visual art, music, literature, history," says Tabbernor, whose Polish parents immigrated to Canada after the Second World War.
"When the museum was originally created in 1985, most museums had static permanent displays. But, when I got involved in 1996, along with a few other new members, we felt that this wasn’t doing justice to the Polish existence in Manitoba."
So, Ogniwo changed its focus from permanent to temporary exhibits.
"This allowed us to concentrate on items in our collection that might not otherwise see the light of day," Tabbernor explains.
"For example, in 1999, we happened to have a few centenary events with Polish churches. So, we used these occasions to create an exhibit about Polish churches in Manitoba, and to showcase some of the church and religious items that were in our collection."
While the organization is focused on preserving links to Polish Canadian history, they’re also working to establish links with the present, she stresses.
"So that this information brings meaning to those of us living in the here and now, so that information is exchanged and that we all have a greater understanding of each other," Tabbernor says.
Martin Zeilig is a community correspondent for the North End. You can contact him at email@example.com