Friday, November 30, 2007

Holiday Open House tonight!

The Christmas tree in the lobby.

Everyone here is getting ready for the Holiday Open House tonight!

Chris is already whipping up a batch of ginger bread to bake over the hearth in the Street of Shops. Tonight he will be making homemade donuts -- YUM!

The live reindeer is all set and will be a bit hit again this year, I'm sure, down in Discover World. Hallie has made a special craft for kids. You can make a toilet paper tube Santa!

Yesterday Steve, our Facilities Manager, built a special "bar" for the opening celebration of "Footloose & Fancy Free: Canton in the Roaring Twenties." Volunteers Al and Barb Meyer will be on hand in their "Flapper" and "Sheik" finery, and our volunteers will serve our customers "drinks." Here's the menu:
  • BEER (Rootbeer)
  • GIN & TONIC (Ginger ale)
  • COCKTAIL (Hawaiian Punch)
It should be a lot of fun!

The Auxiliary will be coming in this afternoon to set up cookie trays for this evening's refreshments. Every year, members make hundreds of cookies for our visitors to enjoy! And the refreshments are ALL FREE.

I hope you are planning to come visit us tonight. Members are free, and guests each pay $5. If you can't make it tonight, we are open seven days a week. Fit us into your holiday schedule. You won't be sorry!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

New and improved aviation program

A balloon inflates in downtown Canton, 1907.

Today I am working on revising an outreach program on aviation. My new book, Canton's Pioneers in Flight, is coming out in January 2008, and I wanted to update my aviation program to reflect some of the information I uncovered while researching the new book. The program will include the following topics:

  • Frank S. Lahm and the Aero Club of Ohio
  • Frank P. Lahm and the Wright Brothers
  • Walter Wellman and the airship America (NEW!)
  • The Martin Glider (EXPANDED!)
  • Bernetta Miller, the 5th woman in the country to earn her pilot's license (EXPANDED!)
  • Canton's early airfields (NEW!)
  • Timken's contributions to flight (NEW!)
  • The Akron-Canton Regional Airport

The old program was part of my Canton: A Journey Through Time Lecture Series, based on my first book. It was presented on an old Kodak slide projector. I had to have each image converted into a 35 mm slide, and then I had to load and unload the slide carousel every time I did a different program.

When the Kodak projector finally stopped showing my images in focus, Director of Education Chris Kenney convinced me to convert my programs into PowerPoint!

What a wonderful change!

I converted each outreach program I do as people booked them, and all new programs are made using PowerPoint. I have added fancy backgrounds, captions, two slides on one page (unheard of with just ONE projector!), and even sound and video clips (only in Meyers Lake Revisited).

I am going to be doing the new and improved aviation program, which is being renamed "Canton's Pioneers in Flight," with a book signing, for our new Soup at Six series on February 28, 2008. The program is $10 per person and includes a signature soup, fresh bread baked over the open hearth, and a program.

Our two new series of programs Soup at Six and Tea with the Curator will feature programs inspired by the new Keller Gallery exhibit "Footloose & Fancy Free: Canton in the Roaring Twenties." Soups are on Thursday evenings, and Teas are on Monday mornings. We have a full line-up of interesting programs, presented by many different staff members.

Reservations are being taken now for all of the Teas and Soups from January to April. Call 330-455-7043 to sign up!

You can also book "Canton's Pioneers in Flight" for your group. The cost for the program is $25. Call me at 330-455-7043 to make a reservation. Visit the museum's website for a complete list of programs in our Speaker's Bureau.

The new book will be available in the Museum Shoppe in January. Here is a sneak peek of the cover!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Exciting new McKinley donation

We are thrilled to add this wonderful international poster to our collection!

You might recognize it from this summer's Keller Gallery exhibit "Celebrating 100 Years! Building the McKinley National Memorial." Sisters Shirley Smith and Judith Hartz loaned the poster for the exhibit, and they have decided to donate it to us!

They have also donated what we believe is architect Harold Van Buren Magonigle's first design submission to the McKinley National Memorial Association. For unknown reasons, Magonigle's first attempt was rejected, but he was given the opportunity to re-submit a new design. It was that second design that was chosen and stands here today 100 years later.

The drawing was too fragile to include in the exhibit. It is paper mounted on linen, and where it has been folded over the years, the paper is shearing right off. We hope to be able to conserve it in the future.

We knew that the fundraising for the McKinley National Memorial was an international effort, but this is our first piece of evidence that supports that claim. The poster is written entirely in French and describes a performance that will benefit the construction fund. It is an amazing piece of history, and we are so excited that Shirley and Judith have chosen to give it to us!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Don Mellet featured in Repository

Thank you again, Gary Brown!

In today's paper, Gary wrote another story about the exhibit, focusing on the murder of Don Mellett. Here is the link:

We have gotten great local coverage so far. With our new series of programs, we expect to see pretty good crowds for this exhibit!

Catching up on collections

While I work on an exhibit, new donations to the collection patiently wait to be cataloged. Once an exhibit opens, I focus my time on getting all of that work done, with the help of my volunteers and intern.

My volunteers generally catalog artifacts and leave them for me to number, photograph, and put away in storage. Val, my intern this semester, has learned how to properly number the artifacts and to photograph them.

Val works on the collection.

Numbering objects is a two-step process. First, we put down a layer of B-72 acryloid laquer, which is a clear, acid free liquid that resembles clear nail polish. Several years ago, curators actually used clear nail polish, but over time it will flake away and your object becomes separated from its number, which is a curatorial nightmare! The B-72 is stable and will not come off.

Val puts a layer of B-72 on a new acquisition.

Next, we write the number on the layer of B-72 using a fine tip, acid free marker. You have to be very careful, and write the numbers as clearly as possible so people in the future will be able to identify the artifact. We always place the number in a place that is slightly hidden, so that when the object is on exhibit, its number won't show.

Once the artifact is numbered, we take its picture. The photo will be added to the database record of the artifact.

To find the right place for it in collection storage, we have to search the database for other things that are similar. Each sub-group of the collection -- such as glassware, textiles, shoes, etc. -- is stored together.

The process takes about 10 minutes per artifact, which is a lot of time when you consider that we accept nearly 1000 artifacts every year!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Preview the exhibit at the Repository's website

On Saturday, Gary Brown at the Repository published a wonderful story about "Footloose & Fancy Free" -- click here to check it out!

In the Photo Gallery there is a slide show highlighting some of the artifacts you'll see in the exhibit.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Join us for some Flapper Fun!

Volunteers Barb and Al Meyer will be here at the Museum on November 30 for our annual Holiday Open House! They will be serving up drinks in speakeasy style for the official opening celebration of our new Keller Gallery exhibit "Footloose & Fancy Free: Canton in the Roaring Twenties."

Other highlights of the evening include:

* Special science and planetarium shows
* Crafts for kids
* Samples from the open hearth
* Performances by local choirs
* A visit with Santa and a LIVE reindeer!!!
* Unique gift items available in the Museum Shoppe

Refreshments will be provided by the Museum Auxiliary. The evening will conclude with the reading of Twas the Night Before Christmas.

The Museum will accept donations of canned goods for the Hunger Task Force, so please help us help those in need in our community.

Members are free, $5 per person for non-members. Reservations are appreciated. Please call 330-455-7043 to make your reservations.

Baby snake in Discover World!

The votes are in, and you chose....


The baby albino corn snake is a new resident of Discover World. Since his arrival, we have been holding a contest to name him. Kernel will be a wonderful addition to Ecology Island in Discover World!

Today, Kernel was joined by some bigger friends from the reptile collection of Jeff Risher:

Jeff's collection is a special feature at many of our special events. Look for him again in the future!

Open hearth cooking on the Day After Thanksgiving

We are having a blast today! The museum is buzzing with people, with lots of neat "extras" to entertain and educate our visitors.

Chris is doing special open hearth cooking demonstrations today. Here's what he's up to:

Here he is, rolling out the dough for his famous "apple cobbler"!

He uses a fork to pinch the edges of the top and bottom crusts together.

Then he puts it into a Dutch oven to bake on the hearth.

Here's what happens next:

And an hour later, this is what you get!!

Before and after!

Have you ever seen one of our cooking demos in person? Chris will be doing a lot of cooking in the next few weeks. At our Holiday Open House on Friday November 30 he will be making homemade donuts from scratch.

Then on Friday December 7, he and volunteer Bill Gouge will be preparing our Holiday Open Hearth Dinner. For just $30 per person, you can enjoy a three course meal cooked over the fire! We can seat up to 48 guests. As of this morning, there were only 8 spots left, so give us a call if you are interested!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Welcome to the Curator's Corner!

The Wm. McKinley Presidential Library & Museum is boldly stepping into the 21st century with a few staff members starting their own blogs to let you know what's going on in our departments. I am excited to share with you some of the "inside info" about what goes on behind-the-scenes in our museum!

Of course, this week we are gearing up for Day After Thanksgiving activities! There will be lots of events going on, so if you are looking for something to do, come in and see us! We will officially open "Footloose & Fancy Free: Canton in the Roaring Twenties" in the Keller Gallery that day. Somehow we were able to install the exhibit in RECORD TIME and we opened the doors last Thursday! I always believe that if an exhibit is done, we shouldn't keep it locked away until its official "opening." So several visitors have gotten a "sneak peak" at it over the past week.

Here's one of the gorgeous dresses currently on display:

Director of Education Chris Kenney is up in the cabin of the Street of Shops right now with volunteer Bill Gouge baking 16 loaves of bread that have been pre-ordered by the public. He came in early this morning -- before 7AM! -- to get the fire started. We have 5 classes from Green, Ohio in today who have been able to see the hearth in operation, and even sample a few goodies!

The holiday season promises to be another exciting one here at the museum! Plan to stop by and bring your friends and family.