Sawatzky completed his PhD in Archaeology at Simon Fraser University in 2005, with an emphasis on historic domestic architecture. Research interests broadly include the settlement period in Manitoba after 1870, architecture, Mennonite history, and material culture. He was Senior Curator at the Mennonite Heritage Village for 11 years, and has been the Curator of History at the Manitoba Museum since 2011. Recently Sawatzky was the lead curator in the development of the new permanent Winnipeg Gallery (2019), and involved in the new permanent Prairies Gallery (2021). Other recent major exhibitions include Divided City: The 1919 General Strike, Legacies of Confederation: Changing Views of Manitoba History, and Nice Women Don’t Want the Vote (about the Suffrage movement in Manitoba).