Joseph Schneider Haus

The Joseph Schneider Haus Museum and Gallery is a dynamic community museum in downtown Kitchener. The heart of the complex is the fine Georgian frame farmhouse built by one of the area's first pioneers, Joseph Schneider, a Pennsylvania-German Mennonite. A local landmark and Kitchener's oldest dwelling, the c. 1816 homestead was restored and furnished and opened as a living history museum in 1981. springhouse.jpg

Adjacent to the museum is a modern wing that houses administrative support areas, exhibit galleries, programming space, an artifact vault and a resource library. Among the museum's stored collections is the prestigious Canadian Harvest Collection of German-Canadian Folk Art which preserves significant artifacts from areas of Germanic settlement across Canada.

Check out all that Joseph Schneider Haus has to offer:

Programs and Events

The Museum offers a wide range of programs and professional services designed to educate and entertain. You can also explore the online collection.

View our Calendar of Events 2014 brochure.

May Events

Fleece to Fabric Frolic
May 3 and 4
The Wash House Opens for the Season!
The weekend of May 3 and 4 staff will be demonstrating spinning on the great wheel and traditional wool dyeing techniques! Learn to pick and card wool. Try spinning, weaving and more! Lend a hand as 2014 Folk Artist-in-Residence Sue Firkser demonstrates traditional felt making for Yurts.
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Sheep to Shawl and Sheep Shearing
May 4

Sheep to Shawl teams and spinners challenge each other in friendly competition. Interested in competing? Contact the Museum!
Sheep Shearing demonstrations and more. Excitement and hands-on fun for all!
Noon to 5 p.m.

From Bake Oven to Table
May 10 and 11

The bake oven will be fired up all weekend! The Schneiders will be baking pies, bread, pudding and more!
Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Scraps and Schnibbles
May 17 and 18

The Schneider family recycled nearly everything, with every bit of fabric being used up in quilts, pot holders and Schnibble mats.
Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Quilting Bee
May 24, 25 and May 28 to June 1
Mennonite quilters from the St. Jacobs area and members from the Waterloo County Quilters Guild will demonstrate their expertise. A selection of quilts going to the annual Ontario Mennonite Relief Sale and Quilt Auction in New Hamburg will also be exhibited from May 7 to 29. Costumed staff will be quilting petticoats and bonnets just as the Schneider woman would have done in the mid-19th century. First-time quilters are welcome to pull up a chair and try their hand at quilting.
Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday 1 to 5 p.m.
Wednesday to Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday 1 to 5 p.m.

Seniors Day
May 29

Admission is FREE for Seniors!
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Covered in Quilts PA Day
May 30
Collaborate on a paper quilt, hear some quilt stories, puzzle out the patterns in our quilt puzzles, take part in a quilting bee and much more!
10 a.m. - 4 p.m.


Summer at Schneider Haus

Open Monday to Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday 1 to 5 p.m.

Early Settlement
June 28 to July 4
This week celebrates the arrival of the Schneiders to the area in 1807. Throughout the week, costumed staff will demonstrate some of the skills the Schneiders had to use as early settlers, such as planking fish, baking bread over an open fire, making ropes, nets and shingles. Closed on July 1.

Seniors Day
June 26

Admission is FREE for Seniors!
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Wool Processing
July 5 to 11

The Schneiders will be washing, carding, spinning and dyeing wool all week.

Oral Traditions
July 12 to 18

One of the most colourful, dynamic aspects of Waterloo County folk culture is its language. Don’t miss this exploration of the dialect, storytelling and musical traditions of the local Pennsylvania-German community.

Summer Sampler
July 19 to 25

Explore the quiet pursuits of a long hot summer. Try traditional crafts, such as Fraktur and scherenschnitten, tour the garden or simply enjoy a cup of lemon balm tea on the front porch.

Folk Medicine
July 26 to August 1

Remedies, salves, charms and brews are on the menu this week. Time-honoured recipes for herbal medicines will be brewed up Pennsylvania-German style.

Seniors Day
July 31

Admission is FREE for Seniors!
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Wash House Blues
August 2 to 8

Roll up your sleeves and learn how the Schneiders made soap, did the washing, mending and ironing without modern appliances. Try our laundry relay race!

Fantastic Fibres
August 9 to 15

Try your hand at pulling flax and learn how to weave straw. Staff will be using home-grown fibres to make rope and nets all week long.

Pickling and Preserving
August 16 to 22

Get a first-hand look at the transformation of the harvest into sauerkraut, schnitz, pickles and jelly. Produce from the garden will be dried in the Schnitzhaus and pickled in the kitchen as the Schneiders prepare for the winter ahead.

Staff of Life: Wheat and Bread
August 23 to 29

Although Friday was traditionally bake day, our bake oven will be fired up every day this week. Help make yeast, rye bread, flat breads, pies and puddings.

Seniors Day
August 28

Admission is FREE for Seniors!
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Culture Days - Sept. 27 and 28

Heart & Hand Festival
Sept. 27

See artist at work, try some traditional crafts, hear storytelling and music and visit the historic house.
10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is FREE.

Guild Day
Sept. 28

Local handcraft guilds demonstrate traditional crafts. Try weaving, spinning, knitting and more!


Summer Camps at Joseph Scheider Haus

All camps run 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily and cost $150/week. Pre-registration is required. Please call 519-742-7752.

July 7-11 – Pint-Sized Play Days
Five to seven years
Sure-to-please hands-on activities, games, and stories with a historical twist.
Morning and afternoon snack are provided. Please bring a nut-free lunch.

August 11-15 – Schneider Survival 101
Eight to 12 years
Experience how early settlers like the Schneiders’ made it through their first year.
Morning and afternoon snack are provided. Please bring a nut-free lunch.

July 14-18 and July 21-25 – Visiting Cousins
Eight to 12 years
An immersive program that puts youth in Schneider shoes for two weeks.
Snack and lunch are provided.

Sue.jpgFolk Artist-in-Residence 2014

The Friends of Joseph Schneider Haus sponsor the annual Folk Artist-in-Residence (FAIR) Program, designed to support the efforts of local artists and artisans working in traditional crafts and trades.

The Friends are pleased to introduce FAIR 2014 Fibre Artist, Sue Firkser of Dundas, Ontario. View our brochure for more information on workshops and demonstrations.

May 3 and 4

Don’t miss this opportunity to visit with Sue as she demonstrates traditional felt carpet making for yurts.


Please call 519-742-7752 to register! Space is limited.

Nuno Felting
June 21 
1 to 4 p.m.
Make a summer scarf with silk chiffon and merino wool.
Cost: $70 (includes the price of supplies)

Hollow Form Sculpture
July 5 – 1 to 4 p.m.
Forming vessels from felt and embellishments. 
Cost: $70 (includes the price of supplies)

Painting in Fibre I: Needle felting
August 9 – 1 to 4 p.m.
Cost: $70 (includes the price of supplies)

Painting In Fibre II: Wet felting
Sept. 20 – full day workshop
Please call the Museum for workshop details. 


Education Programs

Check out this year's program opportunities in the 2013-2014 Education Brochure.

Build your own Schneider Wash HouseWashHousecutoutcompleted.jpg

The Schneider Wash House is the place where many household activities and chores are completed, especially in the warmer months. Check out the links below to create your very own wash house!

  1. Download the Wash House cut out.
  2. Watch the Build Your Own Wash House video for step-by-step instructions.

Student Interpreter Activity

Student Interpreter Activity

Students visiting the haus with their class will receive a Student Interpreter Pass with a link to our Student Interpreter Activity.

Show your pass for free admission for you and an adult. Take part in the Student Interpreter Activity to test your skills and have some fun!




In The Galleries

Heartfelt: Form, Function and Frivolity
This exhibit explores the work of the fibre artist and 2014 Folk Artist-in-Residence Sue Firkser. From functional clothing and hollow form sculpture to decorative arts for the home, Sue’s work with wool felting is sure to fascinate.

Exhibit Continues to November 2014

Evolving Urban Landscape: A Photographic Memoir
From May to August, Joseph Schneider Haus will host an exhibition of images captured over the past 40 years by photographer Philippe Elsworthy of Waterloo. Evocative of a vanishing urban landscape, these streetscapes and buildings, both vernacular and state-of-the-art, reflect the artist’s fascination with architecture while preserving moments in time that have contributed to Waterloo Region’s distinctive sense of place. From May 17 until Labour Day

Please join us for the opening reception on Sunday, June 1 from 1 to 4 p.m. Remarks 2 p.m.
RSVP 519-742-7752 or

*This exhibit is part of a larger initiative called Building Waterloo Region, which will see multiple sites in KW and Cambridge hosting exhibits, lectures, walking tours, etc. between May and January 2015 celebrating architecture in Waterloo Region.  

Backyard Tourists  

There is so much to do and see in your own backyard!

May 1 - Cambridge, McDougall Cottage & Dunfield Theatre
Our season begins with a trip to charming McDougall Cottage where we enjoy a walking tour and traditional Scottish Tea. Then we’re off to The Dunfield Theatre’s hilarious production of Run For Your Wife.

June 5 - Guelph, Arboretum & Honeybee Research Centre
We’ll be strolling down the garden path at Guelph’s Arboretum and Honeybee Research Centre, learning from the experts how the trees, bees, and blooms all work together there.

July - Huron County
We make our way westward toward Huron County, exploring Ontario’s beautiful “west coast”. We’ll be investigating the region’s history, sampling the local fare, and learning what makes Huron unique. Date to be confirmed.

August - St. Jacobs, Mennonite Farm Lunch
Join us as we head to St. Jacobs area for some traditional history, and stops in step with the season. Remember to pack your appetite as we’ll be enjoying a home-cooked Mennonite farm lunch and the hospitality of our hosts Esther and Wesley Weber. Date to be confirmed.

Sept. 4 - Toronto, Ripley’s Aquarium
Experience the city’s newest large-scale attraction, Ripley’s Aquarium. Discover a variety of aquatic environs, and be amazed by the stunningly beautiful creatures that dwell within.

Oct. 2 - Dufferin County
Leaves will be turning colour in Dufferin County as we head out for our last trip of the season. Explore these hilly highlands with a local guide who promises to reveal some of the lesser known natural nooks and cultural crannies.

Trips include transportation, admission and lunch. For details and pricing please contact the museum.

Backyard Tourists

Contact us

Joseph Schneider Haus
466 Queen St. S.
Kitchener, ON N2G 1W7
Phone: 519-742-7752
Fax: 519-742-0089

Hours of Operation

The Historic House, Galleries, Gift Shop and Offices are open Wednesday to Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday 1 to 5 p.m.

Galleries, Gift Shop and Offices are also open Monday and Tuesday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Joseph Schneider Haus will be closed on Canada Day - Tuesday, July 1, 2014.


  • Adults $2.25
  • Seniors/Students $1.50
  • Children $1.25
  • Family $5

Free parking is located across the street and the museum is accessible by transit routes 2, 8, 24 and 25. The main floor of the historic house and exhibit galleries is wheelchair accessible. A written guide is available for those unable to access the second floor.


Joseph Schneider Haus
466 Queen St. S.,
Kitchener, ON N2P 2R7

Phone: 519-742-7752
TTY: 519-575-4608

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