Dr. H. Elizabeth Kroeger

On July 30, 2019, the Foundation lost its Founding Director Dr. H. Elizabeth (Liza) Kroeger. Liza has been the driving force behind the work of the Foundation, bringing her enthusiasm, zeal, and creativity to the work of documenting and sharing the stories of Mennonite clocks. The Foundation is committed to continuing this mission.

I love family stories. My father, author of ‘Kroeger Clocks’, instilled this passion in me. He was not only a storyteller, but a story-catcher. As Arthur’s daughter I come from generations of clockmakers and, thus, Mennonite clocks are in my DNA.

“When I was growing up, my father’s various workshops were filled with a myriad of Mennonite wall clocks from near–and many from far–that he was repairing, repainting, and restoring. If the owners couldn’t send the clocks physically they sent photos, often accompanied by journal and memoir excerpts.

“Their stories, many fragmented, but insights nonetheless into the families who had owned and loved their clocks, interested my father as much as the historical clocks themselves.

“How far had these clocks come and travelled with their people? What stories did these palimpsests hold? When my father died in 2015 he left records of more than 250 Mennonite clocks from around the globe, knowing that there were many, many more that had survived.

H. Elizabeth (Liza) Kroeger was the Founding Director and Donor of the Kroeger Clocks Heritage Foundation and sponsor of The Virtual Museum of Mennonite Clocks. As the Executrix of the Estate of the Late Arthur Kroeger, Liza established the Foundation to continue Arthur’s work in collecting and sharing the stories of Mennonite clocks. She held a Masters of Laws from the University of California at Berkeley and a Ph.D. in German Law from the University of Freiburg in Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany.


Dr. Rosmarin Heidenreich

Position: Founding Director and Sponsor of The Virtual Museum of Mennonite Clocks

I grew up in a family of readers, writers, and storytellers, and this determined both my personal interests and professional choices. As a child, I wrote stories and plays. As an adult writer and critic, I explore narratives and how they come to affect readers.

“Our Kroeger clock has been in our family since 1887. It was always referred to simply as ‘de Klock’–as though there were no other timepieces in the house–and it has its own unique story. Lifting the heavy brass weight to wind it, pausing the pendulum before it resumes marking time, is an exercise in mindfulness: for a fleeting moment, it evokes our family’s turbulent history through the Mennonite experience in Russia, exhorting me, in the same way that any good narrative does, to pay attention.

Rosmarin Heidenreich holds a doctorate in Comparative Literature from the University of Toronto. As a writer and academic, she has taught and published mainly in the areas of literary theory, criticism and translation studies. She taught at the universities of Tübingen and Freiburg before returning to Canada to teach at the Université de Saint-Boniface, Winnipeg, where she is professor emerita. Her publications include five books as well as numerous essays and articles.


Dr. Kathleen Wiens

Position: Founding Director, Exhibitions Developer

My passion for Mennonite clocks began when I worked as a summer student at the Mennonite Heritage Village in Steinbach, Manitoba. I have also worked as curator of a large musical instrument collection at the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, Arizona. My favourite artifacts in that collection were the ‘mechanical’ instruments, which are incidentally all close cousins of clocks, such as music boxes and human-like ‘automatons’.

“As an ethnomusicologist and museum professional, I am a huge believer that tangible and intangible heritage from the past have meaning and purpose for us in the present. I implement this belief through the museum and heritage projects that I help develop.

Kathleen Wiens works as Exhibition Developer for the Canadian Museum of Human Rights in Winnipeg, Manitoba. She holds a doctorate in Ethnomusicology from the University of California, Los Angeles. 


Dr. Roland Sawatzky

Position: Senior Historian

My appreciation for Kroeger clocks began when I met Arthur Kroeger, who attended my church. He was a fascinating character full of gentle kindness. He asked me if I would help him edit and publish his manuscript on Kroeger clocks through the Mennonite Heritage Village in Steinbach.

“I would come to his residence, manuscript in hand, and over a glass of white wine, we would talk and edit. One of my fondest memories was when his Kroeger clock would chime. He would smile at me and say, ‘Now we must observe a moment of silence.’ Kroeger Clocks was published in 2012.

Roland Sawatzky received his PhD in Archaeology from Simon Fraser University in 2005. He was Senior Curator at the Mennonite Heritage Village in Steinbach from 2003 to 2014 and has taught university courses in Anthropology and Archaeology at the University of Winnipeg. Since 2011, he has worked as the Curator of History at The Manitoba Museum in Winnipeg where he conducts research, develops exhibitions, and is responsible for acquisitions related to the settlement period and recent history in Manitoba. His research interests include the social meaning of material culture, domestic architecture, Mennonite history, and historical archaeology.  


Alexandra Kroeger

Position:  Assistant Researcher

I’ve been passionate about history ever since the day in Grade Three when I picked up a book about the Titanic and wanted to know more. Growing up, I was happiest with my nose stuck in a book (usually historical fiction) or while exploring a museum or historical site. Which is to say, it is not at all surprising that I studied history in university.

“My interest in Mennonite history, experience in collections management, and passion for research and storytelling made this project a natural fit. Not to mention the fact that I’m descended from the Kroeger clockmakers: Abraham Kroeger (1791–1837) is my four-times-great-grandfather.

Alexandra Kroeger holds a B.A. (Hons.) in History and a Master’s degree in Cultural Studies (majoring in Curatorial Practice) from the University of Winnipeg. She has served as Acting Curator at Transcona Historical Museum in Winnipeg, Assistant Curator at Mennonite Heritage Village in Steinbach, and now is the Curator and Administrative Coordinator for Dalnavert Museum and Visitors’ Centre in Winnipeg.


Carolyn Sirett

Position: Conservation Consultant

I have a passion for art and cultural heritage, and as the Conservator at The Manitoba Museum I’m responsible for the long-term preservation of more than 2.8 million artifacts and specimens in the museum’s collection. I am trained to use scientific, analytical and artistic techniques, to choose and execute the best methods for the care of historical objects.

“Often in my work, I find what brings my passion for preservation alive is the small detail in an otherwise mute object that nevertheless tells a great story. This could be removing layers of dirt off a clock face to see hidden brush strokes of shading or highlighting, to polishing brass gears and revealing maker’s marks.

“Having repaired and performed conservation treatments of several Kroeger clocks, including a joint treatment on a clock with Arthur Kroeger, I am intrigued by the individuality each object brings to the workbench and the challenges and problem-solving that comes with preserving each story.

Carolyn Sirett holds an Advanced Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and Classical Studies from the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, a Diploma in Collections and Conservation Management from Sir Sandford Fleming College in Peterborough, Ontario, and a Diploma in Cultural Resource Management from the University of Victoria in Victoria, British Columbia. Carolyn was the 2012 recipient of the Canadian Association for Conservation–Emerging Conservator Award and throughout her career has completed private contracts for federal, municipal and various non-profit organizations providing museum-quality conservation and assessment services.  




Anikó Szabó 

Position: Art Director, Graphic Designer and Project Manager

I have always been drawn to the arts, studying violin performance at a university level, then moving my career focus to design. After studying creative arts in Winnipeg, I worked for eight years as Art Director at The Manitoba Museum and therein found a niche in museum-related work.
“Since 2001 I have run my own graphic design studio. I love the unique clients and projects that come my way; each one calls for a custom design solution. My love of Kroeger clocks began when I worked closely with Arthur Kroeger to design his book ‘Kroeger Clocks‘, which was published in 2012.

Anikó Szabó studied creative arts in Winnipeg. A former Art Director for The Manitoba Museum, she is the founder of Anikó Szabó Graphic Design and includes among her clients architectural firms, authors, universities, international non-profit organizations, and composers.

Jerry Grajewski

Position: Photographer, Videographer

My preoccupation with photography began by chance–with a summer job. To pay for university courses, I began working in a professional photo lab in Winnipeg, at first making custom black-and-white prints. It didn’t take me long to realize that, hands-on, I was honing more skills more quickly than I ever would sitting in school. Soon I moved into film, then took over the photo studio. I’ve never looked back.

“On any given day I capture images, still or moving, of some aspect of our culture, from food to Fords, from mansions to musicians, with almost anything in between, including the remarkable Mennonite clocks. There’s always a challenge in my job, and with these timepieces it’s ensuring the images maintain a consistency while conveying the elegance of each clock, allowing each to ‘pop’ in the eye of the beholder. A neutral background, subtle lighting, plus a portable brace stand I purpose-built to secure the clock in a wall-like setting make this possible.

Jerry Grajewski has been a professional photographer and videographer in Winnipeg for more than twenty years.


Jerry Sutherland

Position: Digital Archives/Photography Re-touching

Though I’m an accountant by day, I have more than thirty years in the graphics industry, which started when I began working in my father’s printing business in Saskatchewan. In those years, I’ve moved from the film era to the digital age.

“I had the pleasure of working with Arthur Kroeger in 2011 and 2012, helping to turn his passion for clocks into a showpiece of a book, ‘Kroeger Clocks’, by digitally enhancing the images so no one could underestimate the beauty of the timepieces and their component parts. Revitalizing the images is an absorbing task I’m continuing to do for The Virtual Museum of Mennonite Clocks.

Jerry Sutherland holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Manitoba and a Horticultural Certificate from Olds College in Olds, Alberta. He has held positions in the graphics industry at True Colour Media Creative Studio, Pixel 8 Color Graphics, and Space2Work.

Bill Acheson

Position: Cinematographer
Contact: bill

I’m driven by my obsession to create and compose imagery and typography with a focus on graphic identities, cinematic storytelling and title design.

“At Red River College, I produce and direct all aspects of design and new media to promote the school in collaboration with the marketing team. Elsewhere, I’ve produced skateboard videos and animated collaborations for bands such as Royal Canoe and SC Mira.

“My passion for nostalgia which previously compelled me to collect and document classic cars, has naturally drawn me into the world of heritage clocks since becoming involved with this project.

Bill Acheson is Senior Designer, Art Director, for the Marketing and Web Presence Department at Red River College in Winnipeg, and a former photography instructor in its Digital Media Design program. He is also Art Director at Winnipeg-based Velocity Branding.


Doug Whiteway

Position: Editor

I most enjoy writing crime novels, and every good crime novel has a ticking clock. Not a literal one, like a Kroeger clock, but a figurative one–a time limit that creates urgency, raises tension, and makes you want to finish the novel in a breathless rush. In my novel Twelve Drummers Drumming, for instance, the detective-priest has to solve a young woman’s murder before another innocent falls victim. The clock was ticking.

“And so they have ticked through most of my working life. I’ve worked as a newspaper reporter and magazine editor where the ticking clock manifested as a deadline (and nothing concentrates the mind like a deadline). In between, I’ve written for, or edited, numerous other publications, including nonfiction books and, under the pseudonym C.C. Benison, written seven novels published by Penguin Random imprints. All with deadlines. All with ticking clocks. And now that clock is again playing a role in my life. But this time it’s real.

Doug Whiteway holds a Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies from the University of Manitoba and a Bachelor of Journalism (Hons.) from Carleton University. He is a former reporter and features writer for the Winnipeg Free Press and a former editor of Canada’s History


Roland Wickstrom

Position: Consultant

I was introduced to Kroeger clocks through Arthur Kroeger himself, a long-time friend of our family. Arthur was a man of wide interests, experience, and knowledge and we shared interests in ornithology, aquatic biology, history, flying, and mechanical things, including the restoration of an antique 1941 Piper Cub, in which Arthur flew with me several times.

“It wasn’t until later years that I had the good fortune to assist Arthur with his clock repairs, beginning with melting and pouring lead for pendulums. This kindled my interest in Kroeger clocks and led me to my role with the Virtual Museum of Mennonite Clocks––helping to remove and reassemble clock faces so the internal workings can be photographed for archival documentation.

Roland D. Wickstrom is a retired limnologist. He holds a Master’s degree in Science from the University of Manitoba with interim studies from the University of Toronto. His scholarship in the study of inland waterways took him to a career with the Canadian Wildlife Service, much of it spent in Yukon and the Northwest Territories. He is a member of the board of the Mennonite Benevolent Society, chairman of the board for the Autumn House Seniors residence, and a past president of the board of the Western Canada Aviation Museum.

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