About Us

Mennonite Heritage Center Harleysville

The Mennonite Heritage Center tells the story of Mennonite faith and life in eastern Pennsylvania.  It is home to the Mennonite Historians of Eastern Pennsylvania (MHEP).

The building’s architecture, with lines modeling the simplicity of traditional Pennsylvania Mennonite meetinghouses, points toward the spiritual center of Mennonite life. The concept was that “church” was the congregation, not the building in which they met. The building also suggests rural images of mill, barn and house, while exhibits show the movement toward a more urban society, giving contemporary expression to a deep-rooted heritage.

Begun in 1525 in Switzerland, the “Anabaptist” fellowship (a radical, nonviolent wing of the Christian Reformation) was later named for a leader, Menno Simons, from the Netherlands. In 1683, the first Mennonite couple helped to settle the village of Germantown near Philadelphia, the oldest continuing Mennonite community in the New World. The story of local Mennonites and their neighbors is introduced through an interpretive video presented in a room designed to resemble an early meetinghouse.

The Mennonite Heritage Center houses a permanent exhibit Work and Hope, fraktur and changing exhibits, an historical library and archives, and a museum store.

Brent Camilleri“For the last few years as a part of our Faith and Membership Class, Deep Run East has been taking a ‘field trip’ to the Mennonite Heritage Center in an effort to discover more about our local history and faith tradition. It continually proves to be a fun and enlightening experience for our entire class, both youth and adults alike, and provides us with great jumping-off points for class discussion. To have a local resource that is dedicated to preserving heritage while also inspiring faith in new generations is a real blessing.”
–Brent Camilleri, Associate Pastor, Deep Run East Mennonite Church

Mission

The mission of the Mennonite Historians of Eastern Pennsylvania is to collect, preserve, and interpret the Anabaptist-Mennonite heritage in order to educate, inspire, and witness to the church and broader community.

Staff

Sarah Wolfgang Heffner, Executive Director  heffners@mhep.org
Joel D. Alderfer, Collections Manager  alderferj@mhep.org
Ivan L. Derstine, Custodian
Steven P. Diehl, Director of Advancement  diehls@mhep.org
Timothy L. Kennel, Volunteer Coordinator  kennelt@mhep.org
Forrest L. Moyer, Archivist  moyerf@mhep.org
Rose A. Moyer, Assistant Director  moyerr@mhep.org

Board of Trustees

Christopher J. Detweiler, President
J. Oliver Gingrich, Secretary
Natasha J. Alderfer, Treasurer
Kathy Q. Bauman
Gerald A. Benner
Jeffrey T. Hackman
S. Duane Kauffman
Edith J. Landis
Andrew S. Lapp
Donald L. Nice
John L. Ruth
Stuart R. Suter

Trustee Emeriti

Ray K. Hacker
Mary Jane Lederach Hershey