Curious tourists, skunk invasions, biblical basement floods, incredible lake views and sunsets... just a day in the life of a Brubacher House host! 

What is it like to live in a museum? An exciting new digital exhibit explores this question from the perspective of the 22 hosts who have called Brubacher House home.

The 1850s heritage house, now owned by the University of Waterloo and operated in partnership with Conrad Grebel University College and the Mennonite Historical Society of Ontario, was originally built by early Pennsylvania German Mennonite settlers John E. Brubacher and Magdalena Musselman. When it opened as a museum in 1979, it was restored to include a modern, upper-level apartment for live-in museum hosts.

Over the years, many Grebel alumni have had the unique experience of serving in this role. Brubacher House 2021 Digital Historian-in-Residence Bethany Leis and Web Designer Chris Steingart weave these stories together in “Life Upstairs,” the museum’s first digital exhibit, supported by Grebel and the J. Winfield Fretz Publication Fund of the Mennonite Historical Society of Ontario. Heartfelt and humorous anecdotes, accompanied by photos of seasonal celebrations, quirky artifacts, and surprising encounters, provide a fascinating look at the changing seasons of Brubacher House.

Several Grebel alumni and former staff are featured in the exhibit: Nancy Maitland (Library staff), Arlyn (BA 1995) and Judith Friesen Epp (BA 1995), Colin (BASC 2001) and Jennie Wiebe (BES 1999), Chris Steingart and Jillian Burkhardt (BA 2003), Brandon (WLU 2001) and Bethany Leis (BA 2006), Allison (BA 2007) and Mark Brubacher (WLU 2006), Jacquie (BA 2012) and Karl Reimer (BSC 2013), and Laura (BES 2013) and Joshua Enns (BMATH 2012).