"Brimberly Village"

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The original PTM building's 4,000 sq. ft. space was unexpectedly transformed over the course of two years, from random displays of artifacts to a remarkable indoor 1920 - 1950s 'street' exhibit and it re-opened with perfect timing ~ at the beginning of the Pembina Threshermen's Museum (PTM) 50th Anniversary in 2018.

Read the unique and inspiring story below, of how "Brimberly Village" came to be!   

Brimberly Village Sign 

 

The Makings of

" Brimberly Village"

  at the Pembina Threshermen's Museum (PTM) 

 

May 2016 - Breanna Giesbrecht (PTM Summer Assistant) came into the museum Office and said to Kimberly Striemer (PTM Manager): "There's SO much stuff in Building #1. I don't know where to start to clean!  What if ... "

That's all it took for our thoughts to start flowing

 

Kimberly's Story (photos & 'Fun Facts' below) 

Little did I know, it would be two years later and well over 1,600 hours of hard work before what was to become "Brimberly Village", would be done enough for it to be opened to the public

Initially Breanna and I just planned to re-organize the artifacts (and I'd build a few walls between them) to create a more inviting look with a bit of a 'maze' so visitors could see more of the items. So in July 2016, we started sorting the 4,000 sq ft building whenever we had time and a few weeks later, I began buying and hauling in lumber. The first wall went up on July 29 and the remarkable transformation to what would ultimately become "Brimberly Village" had begun

Of course as we worked, our thoughts continued to evolve and before Breanna left to return to school at the end of August, we had decided to combine our names to create the fun name: "Brimberly". 

Breanna was able to come back a few Saturdays before it got cold, to help me 'board walls' that I had built and put in place the previous week and I worked late into the evenings and on weekends, knowing I only had a few weeks left before the weather would turn too cold for me to work any longer ... and as I did, what began with me "just building some simple dividers between the artifacts", took on a 'life' of its own ~ as I watched an unexpected and incredible indoor 'village' rise up before me out of the sawdust on the floor!  (Photo below taken by The Voice newspaper, of Kimberly holding her drill). 

 

Kimberly with her drill in Brimberly Village photo by The Voice   May 18

 

I got good at taking 'selfies' to show the progress because it wasn't too often that anyone else was around and on an event day, I would change into my pioneer outfit and then get back to work after.  Then when it got just too cold for me to keep building in the middle of November, I turned to researching and designing the various accents that would enhance things once I had the walls built. The next June I started 'back at it' whenever I had help in the Office and after everyone else had gone home, until it got too cold again the following October. 

Two years after it was started, just as the museum opened for its 50th Anniversary (and in its very first building no less!) Breanna had her 'maze' (from the street, through the house, into the baby room, garage & back out to the street) ... and the PTM ended up with SO much more than it could ever have hoped for

Not that "Brimberly Village" is complete. It never could be for I have far too many ideas but as it stands, it's now a remarkable life-size early - mid 1900s indoor 'street village' (with this VERY unique 'story') that offers the museum's visitors yet another distinct and different opportunity ~ to "walk through southern Manitoba history!"

 

   "Did You Know?" ~ Fun Facts 

Designers: Breanna Giesbrecht and Kimberly Striemer 

Built by: Kimberly Striemer (all but the 'Stable')

Funded / paid for by: Kimberly Striemer 

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Breanna and Kimberly  (April 2018)  

 

Blueprints:  None.  I made a few quick sketches now and then just to show the occasional person what I was planning ot do because they couldn't imagine it. 

The most exciting aspect:  That's hard to say as I found the entire project SO exciting (especially creating the initial layout with Breanna and later designing the 'Shops' to all have a different look) but certainly: 1. being at the point of being able to put the pictures up on the house walls and the silk 'flowers' in the window box planters was a lot of fun,  2. finishing off making the signs for the Theatre and finally getting them up was fabulous  3. walking back into the building in the Spring of 2017 and seeing a 'village' standing there waiting to be painted was really amazing, and  4. then watching as the 'street' came alive with colour when Audrey helped me paint the 'Shop' fronts a few weeks later ... well, that was just remarkable

If I could change one thing: It's not even the time it took, but rather that I never would have started using some 'chipboard' that I found for the walls. If I'd known it was ever going to become what it is today (SO much more than just some dividers between the antiques), I would have bought and used a nicer option for the walls. 

The most personally astonishing things: There are SO many things but if I had to choose I would have to say:  1. that I could envision and build an 8 foot x 8 foot wall frame in 'reverse' on the floor, then raise it on my own and balance it as I carefully pushed it between everything to get it to the other side of the building so I could then slide it into a narrow spot that I'd made for it to fit, as I continued to build another wall,  2. being able to lift and then balance a 16 foot long 2" x 12" board as I screwed it to the narrower 4 foot high frame to create the overhang for the Theatre topper, and  3. being able to sketch the fancy fonts (for the 'Shop' names and sign letters) all by hand onto wood, so they could be cut out and painted. 

The hardest physical aspects:  1. not passing out in the heat as I worked during those long days in the sweltering hot metal building each summer (vents were only added once the exhibit was open for the public),  2. the cold, rainy four days in Oct (2016) when I just wanted to be at home, but I managed to push through to get the four 'toppers' for the Print Shop, Dr. Office, Theatre and Laundromat built,  3. working on the ladder as I pleated and attached the fabric to the awning over the door of Bre's Bridal Shop and  4. having to be so careful not to get any dark colour on the cream wall of the Mural Gallery, as I painted the attached 10 foot tall pillars. 

How long did it take to build?  1600+ hours of actual 'build' time so far (as of Jun 2018, since it's not entirely completed yet).  Note: this does not include the extra time I spent designing it when it was too cold to work in the building or the time others spent helpng - see below). For example, it took me 5 hours to paint the 'bricks' on the front of the Dr. Office and 39 hours to build the 4 toppers mentioned above.   

The biggest challenge:  Getting people to believe I did the building of it (except the Stable), on my own. 

 

Certificate from MLA Cameron Friesen

 

Many thanks to ...

Breanna ~ for the initial dreaming to create the main layout and all the dedicated hours in 2016 to help re-organize the antiques, chipboard many of the walls and research options (and then visit to see the progress, including while back home from teaching in Thailand) especially on Bre's" Bridal Shop! 

* Bill ~ overseeing the building of the 'Stable' and help with the shingles, designing & building the street bench, moving heavier items and organizing e.g. lifting of the Shop 'toppers', some finishing touches and the blacksmith display

* John, Cornie, Bill ~ help with some priming & painting

* Audrey ~ working through some of the hottest weeks each season in a sweltering metal building to help me prime and paint

* Frank ~ helping with the windows, signs, moving heavier items and so many finishing touches 

* Steve ~ theatre window grill and brackets & blacksmith display

* Betty ~ ironing, donations and light bulbs (painting)

* Marilyn ~ donations and displays

* Alyce, Driedgers, Jake, Alyssa, Kara ~ cleaning and arranging some displays

* Breanna, Wanda, Eva, Alyssa, Betty ~ assistance in the Office when I was working in the building

All those ~ who were interested enough to come to the 'Opening' (June 2018) and visit or take the time to read about the village since then.  

My family ~ for your patience with me being at the museum so much.

My Heavenly Father ~ for giving me the creativity, energy, health, commitment, physical strength and endurance that I, as a petite mid-50 year old gal have needed in order to keep going (especially when after an already full day in the Office or on a weekend, I'd look around at all that I still had left to do) but I was able to push on ... and it was SO worth it! 

Enjoy!                    

                                                                                             

 2015 edited 5    Kimberly Striemer  (Spring 2018)

                        

                                           "Creating Tomorrow's History, Today!"

 

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