Brimberly Village

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

Read the remarkable 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 1,400 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 / 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 new name: "Brimberly". 

Breanna came back a few Saturdays to help me 'board walls' and I worked late into the evenings and weekends, knowing I only had a few weeks left before the weather would turn cold. As I did, what began with me "just building some simple dividers between the artifacts", took on a 'life' of its own ... and I saw an unexpected and incredible indoor 'village' rise up before me out of the sawdust on the floor!  (Photo below of Kimberly holding her drill). 

Kimberly holds her drill in Brimberly Village smaller size

I got good at taking 'selfies' to show the progress because it was a rare occasion that anyone else was around and on an event day, I would change into my pioneer outfit and then get back to work after.  When it got just too cold for me to keep building (mid-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' after hours and whenever I had help in the Office, 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 expected

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 early - mid 1900s indoor 'village street' experience (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 'Livery')

Funded / paid for by: Kimberly Striemer 

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Breanna and Kimberly  (April 2018)  

 

Blueprints:  None ... I made a few sketches here and there, just to show the occasional person what I was wanting to achieve because they couldn't imagine it. 

The most exciting aspect:  That's hard to say as I found the entire project exciting (especially creating the initial layout with Breanna and later designing the 'Shops' to all have a different look) but in addition to:  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. certainly, walking back into the building in the Spring of 2017 and seeing a 'village' standing there waiting to be painted, 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 truly amazing

If I could change one thing: It's not even the time it took. It's 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 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 things to get it to the other side of the building so that I could slide it into a narrow spot that I'd made for it to fit as I started 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) free-hand onto wood so they could be cut out. 

The hardest physical aspects:  1. not passing out in the heat as I worked hard during those long days in the sweltering hot metal building each summer (vents were added once the exhibit was open for visitors),  2. the cold, damp/rainy 4 days in Oct (2016) when I just wanted to be at home, but I pushed through to get the four 'toppers' for the Print Shop, Dr. Office, Theatre and Laundromat built,  3. working on a ladder as I pleated and attached the fabric to the awning of Bre's Bridal Boutique and  4. being careful to not 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? 1400+ hours (so far - as of Jun 2018, as it's not entirely complete yet) of actual 'build' time, not including my winter hours or the time others spent helping (see below). For e.g. it took me 5 hours just to paint the 'bricks' on the front of the Dr. Office and 39 hours to build the 4 toppers mentioned above. 

The most challenging aspect: Getting people to believe I built it myself (except the Livery). 

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, research options and then visit (including while teaching in Thailand) to see the progress, especially on Bre's" Bridal Boutique! 

* Bill ~ overseeing the building of the 'Livery' 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 & 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 & paint

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

* Steve ~ theatre window grill & brackets & blacksmith display

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

* Marilyn ~ donations & displays

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

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

Many of the above ~ for your ongoing encouragement.

My family ~ for your patience with me being "at the museum" so much over the past 2 years.

My Heavenly Father ~ for giving me the creativity, energy, health, commitment, physical strength and endurance that I, as a small 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 to do and wish I could be at home too.

Enjoy!                                                                                                                 

 2015 edited 5    Kimberly Striemer  (Spring 2018)

                        

                                           "Creating Tomorrow's History, Today!"

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