Meet the staff of mhm

Richard Thiessen

Executive Director

Richard has been Executive Director of the Museum since April 2014. He grew up in Chilliwack and was Library Director at Mennonite Brethren Bible College / Concord College from 1990 to 2000, and Library Director at Columbia Bible College from 2000 to 2014. He also serves as Managing Editor of GAMEO, the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. He has a passion for gathering and telling the Mennonite story.

Jenny Bergen

Museum Visitor and Outreach Coordinator

Jenny joined our team in October of 2019. She has always felt a strong connection to her Mennonite heritage and enjoys digging deeper into the Mennonite story. With a background in Art and Education Jenny has a passion for sharing the Mennonite story while building and strengthening community relationships. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, painting, and spending time with friends and family while exploring the great outdoors.

Jennifer Martens

Office and Volunteer Manager

Jennifer joined us as Office and Volunteer Manager in July 2016. She was recently employed as a Library Technician at Mennonite Educational Institute Schools for 19 years and the Fraser Valley Regional Library since 2013. Jennifer enjoys reading, history, organizing, facilitating projects and working with volunteers and teams. She has a keen interest in community culture, food history, genealogy and cross-generational relationships. Her favourite activities are spending time with family, making handmade cards and shopping for gifts, books, paper, art supplies, fabric and yarn.

Viola Wall

Cafe Cook & Baker Level 1; Cafe Team Lead

Viola is a proud Mennonite by name, faith and culture. She was born in Paraguay and lived in the Menno Colony, out on indigenous settlements, in Tres Palmas (East Paraguay) and Steinbach area and Winnipeg during her childhood, teen, and college years. Her ancestors moved from Manitoba to Paraguay in 1927 and founded the Menno Colony. So, she has a lot of Menno & Manitoba relatives. She enjoys playing the exciting Mennonite game of trying to figure out who her relatives are. After getting married, she lived on a peanut farm and cattle ranch in Colony Fernheim, in the new settlement Ribera for 13 years and now has lived in Abbotsford for 20 years. Viola enjoys a wide variety of music, reading novels or biographies, gardening, water sports, doing puzzles and traveling. She has even traveled as a part of a singing ensemble throughout Canada, from Ontario to BC, and numerous European countries. If she could, she would love to own a private jet so she could visit family anywhere at any time!

Colin Manning

Building & Grounds Maintenance

Colin came to our museum excited to recreate the success he had as a Site Manager for a school his two daughters attended when young. He has years of expertise as a Red Seal Electrician and with maintenance, having worked in various fields, including telecoms, irrigation, and landscaping. Colin grew up in England, 11 miles from Trafalgar Square, where he lived in the same house until he bought his own at age 22. He has strong roots in the UK, with his maternal grandmother being of Irish descent and his surname, Manning, originating from the centre of Ireland. Today, alongside his daughters, he calls the Fraser Valley home after having travelled to countries on several continents. He keeps busy doing home renovations, being the best grandad to his 4 grandsons and indulging in hobbies like reading books, listening to music, chuckling at corny jokes and keeping an eye out for the rare 1970s English sports car, the Triumph TR6, on hot summer days.

Darlene Klassen

Cafe Cook & Baker Level 2