Mennonites of Yates Co. exhibit opens May 3

Staff Writer
The Chronicle Express
Horse-drawn buggies make up most of the Sunday morning traffic in Yates County.

The Yates County History Center is proud to announce the opening reception for the new exhibit, “How Should We Then Live?” The Groffdale Mennonites of Yates County from 5-7 p.m. Friday, May 3. The L. Caroline Underwood Museum at 107 Chapel St. in Penn Yan will host the exhibit.

Forty-five years ago, the first Mennonite family migrated to Yates County from Ephrata, Pa. Despite our proximity to one another and the many years they have been here, myths and assumptions about these deeply religious people prevail. In cooperation with Mennonite community spokesperson Ivan Martin, the History Center will present this photographic exhibit with narrative to answer the public’s questions. 

Photographers featured include: Spencer Tulis, Judson Reid, Steve Knapp, Sidney Mann, Sue Ptacek, and the staff at The Chronicle Express.

The reception will be followed by a talk at 7 p.m. by Ivan Martin concerning the Mennonite community’s beliefs and stories of farm and family life. The lecture will be held across the street at the United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall in Penn Yan.

Tickets are $8 for History Center members and $12 for non-members.

Mr. Martin and his wife moved their family to Yates County in 1977 and have raised 13 children here. Ivan and his family are Biblical literalists and their culture is deeply rooted in their religious beliefs. He is fascinated with science, history, and religion, and he maintains a home library of several thousand volumes. He enjoys sharing about Mennonite culture.

The Underwood Museum will be open Tuesday through Friday 9 a.m.-  4 p.m.

Donations are encouraged. (Summer hours are to be determined.) The exhibit will remain open through 2019.

The exhibit is funded by a Humanities New York Action Grant with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities.