The Mennonite Heritage & Agricultural Museum in Goessel will feature work by Wesley Duerksen, a retired mechanical design engineer from the area who creates detailed to-scale wooden models of large machines and equipment.
“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 most of his life, beginning with toys when he was a child. As an adult, he made a career of designing big equipment, and now he has time to make toys again. However, the toys he makes now aren’t 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 mind. He uses a variety of woods including walnut, mahogany, teak, oak, birch, maple, and red cedar.
The exhibit will be 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.
Call (620) 367-8200 for more information.