A month-long special exhibit at Mennonite Heritage & Agricultural Museum in Goessel will feature the work of Wesley Duerksen, a local retired mechanical design engineer who creates detailed to-scale wooden models of the large machines and equipment they represent.
“Out of the Wood: Toys in the Works” is scheduled to open July 2 and will close July 31. About 40 of Duerksen’s pieces will be on display.
Duerksen has been designing things for most of his life. His talent was evidenced at an early age. He was 10 years old when he made a toy disk—he still has it. As an adult he made a career in designing big equipment. Now he has the time to again make toys. But this time he doesn’t make them for anyone to play with.
Duerksen gets inspiration for his 1/16-scale reproductions from real-life equipment and machines. His “antiques” include a threshing machine, a 1912 Big Four prairie tractor and an Adams leaning-wheel road grader.
His modern pieces include a lattice boom crane, a four-wheel-drive articulated tractor, and a backhoe tractor. Each toy has multiple moving parts.
About a third of the toys are of Duerksen’s original design; he tweaks the patterns he uses from sources other than his own. Duerksen uses a variety of woods, including walnut, mahogany, teak, oak, birch, maple and red cedar.
The “Out of the Wood: Toys in the Works” exhibit can be seen in the museum’s Immigrant House during regular museum hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday; the museum will be closed July 4.
Regular admission rates will apply; admission includes a self-guided tour of the eight-building complex. The exhibit is a free event for museum members.
Call 620-367-8200 for more information.