Creatively and respectfully sharing
Mennonite history, culture and faith.
Our Humble Beginnings
When The Mennonite Story was established in 1979, it was in response to unrelenting tourist pressure. In the age of televisions, video games and the arrival of modern computing, an Old Order Mennonite on a horse and buggy was an unexpected sight for visitors to the St. Jacobs’ region. Tourists would often stop to take photos of members of the Mennonite community, and on several occasions, walked into meeting houses disrupting religious services.
This growing pressure led Mennonite pastors and community leaders to come together and formulate a plan to ensure that visitors had somewhere to go, to have their questions about the Mennonite community answered in a respectful way. Thus, The Stone Crock restaurant was founded in 1975, by Milo and Laura Shantz.
Copyright Stone Crock Restaurant
From Restaurant to Museum
The Shantz’s hoped their restaurant would be a site where tourists would be able to have their hunger for good food and curiosity about the Mennonite community satisfied. Waitstaff received training that allowed them to field questions from tourists about the Mennonite community in the region. Demand for information continued to grow, exceeding the ability of the restaurant to meet these needs.
The solution? An interpretive centre wholly dedicated to telling the Mennonite story. After years of intense planning and fundraising, “The Mennonite Story” officially opened its doors to visitors, in 1979.
Learn, Discover, Reflect…
Since we opened our doors over 40 years ago, we have been honoured to host over one million visitors from over ninety countries! We endeavour to respectfully share Mennonite history and culture in a respectful and creative way. Our guests have the opportunity to take part in multimedia presentations, interactive displays, as well as short video or film presentations that offer in-depth knowledge of Mennonite history and culture.
Find out about the Mennonites’ early beginnings in Europe – how they came out of the 16th century Protestant Reformation and why they were hunted down and persecuted. Discover how Mennonites have flourished and grown to a global family of 1.5 million members in 75 countries, and how their desire to be faithful Christians and good neighbours has led them to acts of compassion, reconciliation and peace.