Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

The museum will be closed tomorrow so our staff can celebrate Thanksgiving with our family and friends. We will re-open on Friday for our annual Day After Thanksgiving festivities, including Jeff Risher's reptiles, open hearth cooking samples, and more!

It has been a tough year for me, personally, but I actually think it is easier to be thankful for what you have when you've been through something tragic or sad.

Since last year at this time, we have lost both of our beloved kitties, and our dear friend John.

But I still have so much to be thankful for! Here is just a partial list:

1. The joy our new kittens Snickers and KitKat have brought to our lives. They are both unique kitties, but they share the best qualities of the two we lost this year. Since we adopted them on September 11, both have wrapped their tails around our hearts...
2. The museum continues to thrive, in spite of the floundering economy, because of all the great work we're doing. And we're doing it for YOU. So thank you all for continuing to support us. Schools continue to come on field trips, and our admission numbers are holding steady. There are MANY museums in this country that can't say that right now.
3. A year of successful programs, including our Tea with the Curator, Coffee & Crafts, and Soup at Six series; and our list of annual events like McKinley Day, the Bridal Show, the Car Show, Summer Science Splash, the Halloween Party, and our new fall fundraiser.
4. All of the generous donors who have given to our 2010 Capital & Replacement drive -- the staff truly appreciates all the extra goodies we can purchase through that program that just aren't in our budget!
5. The wonderful comments we've received for our Keller Gallery exhibitions this year, including the dollhouse exhibit Life in Miniature, the quilt exhibit A Stitch in Time, and The Victorian Age.
6. The opportunities I've had to serve my community at the state level through the Ohio Historical Society's statewide internship pilot program and the National Digital Newspaper Program in Ohio.
7. Opening a new storage building has been a long-term goal -- and this year it became reality! We are so very thankful to have the space to properly house our collection, and to have some room to grow.
8. The opportunity to teach. I recently found out that my museum studies course is a go at Mt. Union this spring! There is still a chance students might drop it between now and the beginning of the semester, but I am hopeful that we will still have enough to run it when classes start.
9. Gary Brown at the Repository for his continuing support of our programs, events and exhibitions! Let's face it -- we could do the best work possible here, but what difference would it make if people didn't know about it? We're also thankful for all the other newspapers in the region that have started to run stories about us in the past year. THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!
10. And last, but not least, MY HEALTH! I had one of my salivary glands removed in July and am now free of pain when I eat! Since I love food, being able to eat without stinging pain is a miracle that I am thankful for each and every day. I will never, ever forget what it felt like, and I will always be thankful that the pain is gone.

We hope to see you all sometime during the holiday season. The museum is fully decorated for the holidays, and we have lots of great special events coming up in December!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 12, 2010

1960s artifacts

I have just finished sifting through 839 catalog records for artifacts from the 1960s!

Now, keep in mind that not all of the items are actually FROM the 1960s. I did a search in the description field for "196," which meant that any item with that sequence of numbers would come up. That would include serial numbers, death dates, etc.

We have some really neat stuff! I'm excited about this exhibit -- it's going to be a lot of fun to put together!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The White House Garden

Can you believe The Victorian Age is closing in a few weeks? How fast the time has gone!

I heard from SITES yesterday and The White House Garden is shipping out on November 22 from DC. It has been on view in the White House Visitor's Center. It will arrive here that day or the next, depending on DC traffic!

The exhibit will open the evening of our Holiday Open House on Friday December 3. The event is free for members, and guests are $5 each.

The exhibit is going to be fantastic!

Since we will have some extra space in the Keller Gallery, I am also exhibiting recently donated McKinley artifacts from the past 10 years. Even though the President was assassinated more than a century ago, we still receive McKinley donations from time to time. I thought it would be fun to showcase the ones that have come in since I started back in 2001.

Simultaneously I am working on Celebrate the Sixties, our next Keller Gallery exhibition, because The White House Garden will only be with us for 8 weeks. I have chosen the panel and label design, and I am assembling a list of artifacts from our collection, as well as items individuals are loaning for the exhibition. It will be a fun one!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Halloween Party a sucess!

The numbers are in and we had more than 700 guests at the Boo-seum last Friday night!

We are thrilled with the turnout, and thankful for all the wonderful volunteers and staff who helped make this event a success.

I also wanted to mention that my computer is preventing me from blogging as much as I'd like to. The "hijacking" thing is all fixed, but the software that allows me to NOT jump to google analytics also prevents the photo uploading tool from working on Blogger. SO, I can't add any photos from my work computer. Bummer.

If you haven't already, please join the museum's Facebook page. There are no issues with that site, so I can upload whatever photos I want.

I'm still going to keep this blog, and hopefully down the line we'll figure out how to NOT get hijacked AND use the photo and video uploading tools. Right now, I can't post a link either.

Very frustrating.

Next up for the museum is the Day After Thanksgiving. We hope to see you there! For regular admission, you will get all kinds of extra activities. Bring your out of town guests!!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Halloween Party at the "Boo-seum"!!

The museum is hosting our annual Halloween Party at the "Boo-seum" on Friday October 29 from 6:00 to 8:30 PM!

Trick-or-treat throughout the building. Buy a hot dog supper cooked over the fire. Participate in a costume contest. Play games.

There's fun for everyone at our party!

The cost is just $5 per person. Pre-paid reservations can enter through the "short line" that evening, so call 330-455-7043 and sign up!

Friday, October 1, 2010

New Kittens

Regular blog readers know that Chris and I lost both our beloved kitties to cancer in the past 8 months.

Although it was hard to make the decision to move on with new kittens, our house was just too empty and silent. So, a few weeks ago we adopted two kittens!


Snickers and KitKat!

Snickers is on the left and KitKat is on the right.

They are so much fun to have around! And they have really helped heal our broken hearts.

Happy Anniversary to ME!

Believe it or not, as of today, I have been the Curator of the McKinley Presidential Library & Museum for NINE YEARS!

Where has the time gone? It seems like yesterday we were packing up all of our stuff and heading west.

It has been an amazing journey. I have had more opportunities in Canton than I ever dreamed possible! And there are still so many more things I want to do!

Here's to another nine years!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Tonight's the Night!

Everyone is scurrying about the museum, getting ready for Treasures of Stark County: A Behind-the-Scenes Adventure tonight!

I have made all the maps, signs and program. Stephanie is waiting until our field trip students are done to decorate the tables. Steve and his crew already have the tables in place. The caterer is coming at 3:00.

I will be placing our special loaned items in their secure case later today.

We're READY!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Exciting changes in Discover World!

Right now as I type, I can hear installation noise. It's the sound of progress!

Steve and his crew are building a habitat for our newest Discover World resident -- Bandit the Raccoon! He will soon be on exhibit, delighting visitors with his antics!

Another major change is happening today too -- Benchmark is installing the new Watershed exhibit! DW visitors will be able to learn about the water cycle and where our water goes.

Pictures will be posted soon!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Patio Fundraiser!

Come to Buehler's in Jackson Township on Saturday September 11 between 10:00 AM and 4:00 PM for a bite to eat!

Our volunteers will be serving food on the patio. At the end of the day, Buehler's will make a donation to the Museum. Come on out and support us!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Treasures of Stark County Event

We're gearing up for our fall fundraiser "Treasures of Stark County: A Behind-the-Scenes Adventure" on September 24 at 6:00!! Have you heard about it yet?

We're hard at work getting ready for it.

If you've been following Chef Meeker's weight loss project in the Repository, you might catch a glimpse of him at our event! Glenmoor is catering it again this year.

For $20 a ticket, you could win a raffle for an overnight stay at Glenmoor that includes dinner AND breakfast. Personally, I won a similar package a few years ago at another event and let me tell you, it was FABULOUS. Definitely a relaxing getaway!

Each guest will have the opportunity to complete a treasure hunt through our galleries AND areas that are usually not open to the public. We will be having a ribbon-cutting for the grand opening of the new Conservation Gallery, which is NOT open to the public! One night only you will be able to get a glimpse behind the scenes at our largest storage facility. You will see some amazing artifacts! We will draw a winner from the completed maps for an evening at Gervasi Vineyards.

This event will be a lot of fun -- call today to make a reservation at 330-455-7043. Tickets are $85 per person.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Computer fixed!

I am happy to report that my "click jacking" problem has now been FIXED!

So I will be blogging regularly about the museum once again.

Special thanks to Chris for figuring this out for me. It has been VERY frustrating!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Goodbye Sweet Bailey

This week Chris and I lost our other kitty, Bailey, also to cancer.
I found a lump on her neck 2 weeks ago. Although it did not show up on her x-ray, the biopsy came back as a carcinoma. A second x-ray showed it was in her lungs. Countless tiny clusters of cancer cells in both lungs. We were shocked, and devastated.
We canceled weekend plans to visit friends in Pittsburgh and stayed home with her all weekend.
As her breathing got progressively worse, we knew we had to have her put to sleep. Chris called on Monday morning, and we went home to spend her final hours with her. I brushed her for nearly an hour, which seemed to calm her and ease her breathing a bit. The time we got to spend
with her that day was so precious to us.
I cannot say enough good things about Dr. Klein and the staff at Stark Animal Hospital. Dr. Klein especially. His guidance helped us make this difficult decision, just as he did 8 months ago. We are so thankful to have found him when we moved here from NY 9 years ago.
We had "the ladies," as we called them, one year before we got married. Bailey just turned 11 in July. We lost her sister in December, when they were both 10 1/2.
We are just heartbroken. The house is empty when we come home, and we absolutely hate it.
We know there are two more kitties out there who need a loving home. We just have to find them.
Our cats meant the world to us and more. We will miss them every single day. They were great companions when we were strangers in a strange land, moving three states away from friends and family so I could take this job as Curator. They have made us laugh for most of their kitten lives, and at the end, they made us cry more tears that we ever thought possible.
They wrapped their little tails around our hearts, and made an impression that will last a lifetime...

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Still having trouble...grrrr.....

I still can't log onto the blog from my computer at work! I will have to take my investigation to the next level. Which means I have to find someone to look at my computer. :-)

Just a quick update.
  • Movie Camp is over. We had a great time! Check out our Facebook page for lots of photos and videos.
  • Prep work continues for Treasures of Stark County: A Behind the Scenes Adventure! I am making five treasure maps for the event. Guests will go to the galleries listed and find artifacts on the map. It will be a lot of fun!
  • Tickets are now on sale to win an overnight package at Glenmoor Country Club! Tickets are $20 each and can be purchased in the Museum Shoppe. You do not need to pay admission if you'd only like to visit the Shoppe.

That's it for now. I hope to be back on the blog from my office soon!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

RIP John Span

Our Volunteer Coordinator Stephanie Span lost her husband John this week, and Chris and I lost a close personal friend.

John had been battling cancer for 18 months. He fought this horrible disease with everything he had. He died peacefully at home on Monday afternoon, surrounded by his family.

The museum family has lost a wonderful man. He will be missed, and all of our hearts go out to Stephanie during this difficult time.

Click here to read John's obituary in this morning's paper.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Movie Camp!

I'm still having trouble posting from work, and of course I forgot the camera card...

So I'm posting photos and videos daily on our Facebook page. Click on the link to the right to "like" us and see all the updates!

Hopefully I'll be able to post more here from work soon.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Remember me?

What an odd month July has been!

First I had surgery and spent a week recovering. Then I was off for 10 days on a previously scheduled vacation. I finally returned to work on Monday.

Now for some reason my work computer will not let me make a new post on Blogger! So I am writing from home right now.

This week I've been working on reviewing the invitation and an ad for Treasures of Stark County: A Behind the Scenes Adventure, our fall fundraiser on September 24. It's going to be a great event! I just finished the press release so look for more information soon! I've also been working on treasure maps for the event.

LifeFormations came today to film a testimonial for their static and animatronic figures. I had a wonderful experience working with their artists, so I was more than willing to help. They made our animatronic McKinleys and the Doctor and Little Girl in the Street of Shops. They plan to post the video on their website, and I will be posting links here and on Facebook.

Speaking of Facebook, we've gotten three new Monument wedding photos! Become a fan so you can check them out!

We're also planning 2011 events so we can submit them for the CVB and the Sourcebook. We have some really neat things coming up. 2011 is going to be a great year! I will be posting more soon about our plans.

Next week is Movie Camp, so look for daily updates on our progress. I hear it's a "Night at the Museum" theme. Sounds like FUN!!!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Summer Science Splash

I haven't been around in awhile because I am home on a medical leave recovering from surgery to remove one of my salivary glands. I have had chronic salivary gland stones for a very long time, and my body finally made one that was too big to ever come out. So Dr. Ossakow from Ohio Head and Neck took it out last Friday. I am healing nicely, but it is still uncomfortable. I have a two-inch incision on my neck.

But things are still hopping at the museum in my absence!

The AC is working just fine, so it's a great time to beat the heat at the museum.

PLUS tonight is our 2nd annual Summer Science Splash. There are a few outdoor activities planned that can easily be moved inside if the weather doesn't cooperate.

So if you're looking for something to do, go to the museum tonight! Family fun for everyone.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Fallen soldiers banners

Photo by Steve Secrest

This year the banners around the double drive of the McKinley National Memorial feature a fallen Stark County soldier from Iraq or Afghanistan. Each one features a portrait of the soldier and the city or town they are from.

Scott Warner, whose son Private Heath Warner was killed by an IED in Iraq, sponsored these very moving banners.

Since President McKinley was a war veteran himself who died tragically at the hands of an assassin, it is a perfect setting to honor these hometown heroes on our grounds.

When you drive up the majestic double drive, please take a moment to look at each banner as you pass.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Great car show!

I've always had a soft spot in my heart for big fins and lots of CHROME!!

We had a great day for our car show! Everyone had a wonderful time.

Special thanks to all of our volunteers who make this day possible. And to everyone who brought a beautiful car to display. We couldn't have a car show without you all!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Weather looks great for car show this weekend!

Don't miss our 9th annual Cruisin' Thru History CAR SHOW on Saturday June 26!!

It is FREE to come look at the cars. Registration for cars is $10 on the day of the show. If you get your registration here by tomorrow at 4PM, it is only $7.

The show starts at 9:00. Trophies are awarded at 2:30 PM. There will be shows in Discover World, extra Planetarium shows, and we will be serving lunch starting at 10:30 AM. The menu includes hamburgers, hot dogs, and chicken -- all grilled fresh by our Special Events Committee! Milk & Honey will be here again selling their delicious ice cream.

Plan to come out and see us this Saturday. It's a great event!

Catching up

I am always a little let down after an exhibition opens. I spend months working on it and make so many lists! And when everything is finally checked off, I find it hard to believe it is actually finished.

So now I have lots of collections work to do. I haven't had a chance to complete the donation paper work for things that have come in over the past several weeks. I like to do them in batches anyway.

But paperwork isn't my favorite thing to do! I LOVE the artifacts, believe me. But there is a lot of work behind processing each one.

I also have posters and signs to make for the car show this weekend. I am caught up on my weekly Repository ads through the end of July. I'm also working on the treasure map for our September 24 event "Treasures of Stark County -- A Behind-the-Scenes Adventure!" Look for more details throughout the summer.

So even though an exhibit is done, there isn't any time to rest! Still lots to get done.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Stories about The Victorian Age

Special thanks to Gary Brown for covering The Victorian Age in the Repository and on his blog!

Click here for the article that appeared in Monday's Rep.

Click here to read Gary's blog post about the exhibit.

We're getting great feedback from visitors! Several people who came in today and yesterday said they decided to come to the museum because they read about The Victorian Age in the paper.

Come see it!! I'm really proud of this one.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Planning for 2011!

Believe it or not, dates for 2011 exhibits, programs and events are due soon for inclusion in the Source Book!

The Marketing Committee met this morning to begin hammering out the details for next year.

There are LOTS of new things to look forward to, including:
  • New Tea with the Curator programs on the history of the White House and a look at the tumultuous 1960s
  • New Soup at Six programs on presidential transportation, the space race, and the history of the flu
  • New Keller Gallery exhibits: "Celebrating the Sixties," "The Green Revolution," and "Unwrapping the Holidays: The History & Traditions of the Yuletide Season"
  • PLUS all our regular annual events: McKinley Day, President's Day activities, the Bridal Show, 10th annual Car Show, summer camps, our annual September fundraising event, the Halloween Party, Day after Thanksgiving activities, the Holiday Open House, and the Open Hearth Dinner!
Look for more information in the future on this blog, our Facebook page and our website!

Friday, June 18, 2010

What people said about the quilt exhibit

I love to read visitor's comments in our Guest Book in the Keller Gallery!

Here are some of the comments people left:

"Enjoyed the quilt display. Such wonderful work done by our ancestors, so much patience and time."

"It's nice to see our past being taken care of so gracefully! Great job!"

"One word...beautiful! My grandma and I had a wonderful time!"

"Enjoyed every quilt. I think the Dresden Plate was my favorite. Thanks for sharing."

"I love quilting so these quilts fascinated me!" (age 16)

"[in a child's handwriting - and spelling!] The stichwork and quilting were veary alabarat. Thanks."

"History. The greatest tale of all."

"Very nice textile/quilt exhibit. It's good to know the museum staff is doing so much to preserve our past."

"[in a child's handwriting] I really liked the William McKinley quilt that tells about his life. The person who made it must of been very artistic and a good sewer!"

"These quilts are cool!" [and this child drew a quilt patch!]

"Very impressive! Amazing quality! Appreciate the historical exhibit. Thank you!"

"[in "tween" handwriting] I thought it was really cool and learned a lot from it."

"We are quilters from NC. We loved seeing our quilt hertiage. Wonderful exhibit!"

The quilts in here are amazing. I have a quilt at hoem that was made by my great great grandma and my great grandma."

"The coverlet collection is most amazing for its condition. A beautifully displayed quilt exhibit. Makes me very proud and happy to also continue the tradition of more modern, creative quilting techniques."

Exhibit on CVB blog

Click here to read more about the new Victorian Age exhibition on the CVB's blog!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Victorian Age is FINISHED!

I am thrilled with how The Victorian Age turned out!

It looks exactly like I imagined it would in my mind. It's always fun to see things jump off of the page and into reality!

The exhibition opens tomorrow night -- June 18 -- with a FREE reception from 6 to 8 PM. Reservations are appreciated, but not required. Please call 330-455-7043.

Here are just a few highlights. You have to come in and see this one for yourself to truly appreciate the beauty of these artifacts.

Nine gowns are on display, plus one mourning dress and three of Ida McKinley's gowns

This is my favorite hat in the exhibit!

There are two cases of glass and china, plus a small case of glass 1876 commemorative items

This is a wire bustle, used to prop up the back of women's dresses.

Punch & Judy jack-in-the-box

Children's clothing in the Victorian era was just as fancy as what the grown-ups were wearing!

There is also a corset on display, with its original box!

I hope you will come to see the exhibition. It was a lot of fun to put together and features lots of great information about what it was like to live in the late Victorian era (1870-1900).

It will be on view in the Keller Gallery through November 21, 2010.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Exhibit installation

It is hard to believe that when I came to work on Tuesday morning there were still quilts in the Keller Gallery!

When I left today, all of the BRAND NEW cases were filled with gorgeous Victorian era artifacts!

We are making significant progress on the installation. The new cases look amazing, and I love the bright blue color I chose for the walls.

We have a pretty short list of tasks to complete before next Friday night's opening:
  • Hang panels
  • Hang children's clothing
  • Fabricate freestanding labels
  • Adjust lighting for walls (case lighting is DONE!)

And that's about it.

I am thrilled with our progress! Special thanks to Freddy and Steve for all of their hard work helping me in the gallery this week.

This is the part of my job that I love the MOST. :-)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Summer Science Splash on JULY 9!!

(Click on image to make it larger!)

Thursday, June 3, 2010

New cases and shelving for the new building!

I am pleased to report that the new cases for the Keller Gallery are HERE!

The are gorgeous, even if you can't really tell in these photos:


The new cases will make their debut in the next Keller Gallery exhibition The Victorian Age, opening June 18. They are modeled after the ones we got from Split Rock Studios in The Stark County Story.

I am SO excited to see how the artifacts really shine against a dark background!

Steve and his crew are also working on building the shelving for the new storage building. Thank you again to Gergory Industries for their generous donation of perimeter shelving!

We also received some small shelving from the Hoover Company a few years ago when they were emptying out their building in North Canton. Those shelves are being installed at the far end of the new building and will house our shoe collection.

As always, there is a lot going on in the Curatorial Department!!!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Panels complete!

I spent the ENTIRE DAY printing the panels for The Victorian Age.

Well, actually the 11 panels printed relatively quickly. The first one and the third one had some odd stripes on them so I had to reprint. No big deal.

Then I moved on to making the large scale photos from this era. Should have been pretty simple, yes?


For some reason -- probably because my file was WAY to big -- I could NOT print two drawings of Public Square in Canton in 1887. My plotter would print the caption, but not the image. I tried a bunch of different things, each one making me more frustrated when it didn't work.

I finally checked the file size and realized it was just too huge to work on my machine!

I had smaller versions I had made to post on the Museum's Facebook page, so I used those.

And it WORKED!

So I now have 11 panels and 10 large photos all printed and ready to be mounted on foam core!

Talk about a LOOOOOOOOOOOOONG Monday! Whew!

About magazine

Did you see photos from our Bridal Show in the latest issue of About magazine?

Look for our full page ad in the next issue too!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


I've pulled some more interesting artifacts, including an inkwell featuring a brass deer (complete with antlers!), a sliver caster set (sometimes called a cruet set) and some realy neat games.

I'm planning to spend the next two days in collections storage slogging through my lists. There is still much to do, but I'm making good progress!!

I made four newsboy ads this week that will appear in Ticket beginning next Friday. I also finished a full page ad for About magazine.

And I designed a new dash plaque for this year's car show:

It's been a busy week!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Making ads and exhibit panels

On this rainy Monday, I'm going to be chained to my computer for a little while doing graphic design projects!

First, I have to design a few newspaper ads. We were given an in-kind donation and we have quite a bit of money left that has to be spent before the end of the year. Which means we have to start cranking out some ads!

Second, I have one more panel to finish for The Victorian Age exhibition opening next month in the Keller Gallery. It is on Architecture. It has taken me three weeks (including the week I was out of town at a conference, so it isn't as bad as it seems!) to remember to bring my archicture textbooks from grad school into work so I can finish researching styles of the era.

I've already dressed six mannequins in AMAZING gowns.

This is one of more than a dozen Victorian gowns that will be featured in the new exhibit!

If time allows, I am going to continue pulling Victorian-era artifacts today. I hope to complete artifact selection by the end of this week. I have already pulled some really cool things!!

  • a corset in its ORIGINAL BOX!

  • a fan made of peacock feathers

  • a wire bustle

  • a gorgeous black and white silk and gauze parasol!

I started with my "accessories" list first. Other artifact categories include children's fashion, toys & games, household items, furniture, mourning artifacts, glass & china, and Ida McKinley artifacts.

I'm excited about putting this exhibition together!

Friday, May 14, 2010

We WON!!

The winners were announced moments ago and the McKinley Presidential Library & Museum was named BEST MUSEUM in the 2010 Best in Stark County Awards!

THANK YOU to everyone who voted for us. We truly appreciate the opportunity to serve this community.

Nominate Us!!

Please consider nominating us for the 2010 Nickelodeon Parents' Picks Awards for Best Museum in the Cleveland area!

Click here to nominate us!

We won last year thanks to all of you. Let's see if we can do it again!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Top ten artifacts / historic sites / pieces of art?

I am working on some articles for my Museums site at BellaOnline and I'd like to pick your brain!

What would you say are the top ten artifacts you MUST see before you die (ie: the car JFK was assassinated in, the Wright Flyer, etc)?

What about the top ten historic sites? (ie: Gettysburg, Pearl Harbor, etc)

I'm not well-versed in art, but what do you think the top ten pieces of artwork are?

You don't have to give me ten. Just post your ideas!


Monday, May 10, 2010

Cultural Entrepreneurship Institute

Have you been wondering where I've been?? Hopefully some of you missed me. :-)

Last week I had the amazing opportunity to attend the first ever Cultural Entrepreneurship Institute for Museum Leaders sponsored by my alma mater, the Cooperstown Graduate Program in Cooperstown, NY.

What a transformative experience!!

The Institute brought together 20 mid-career professionals to learn about entrepreneurial thinking. For most of us, it was the very first time we had ever been exposed to these types of ideas that have been in place for decades in the for-profit world.

I can't even begin to tell you how much I learned during my time there. I met some wonderful people with whom I feel a very real connection, and I was reinvigorated personally AND professionally.

It was the break I really needed -- my shift in perspective gave me some amazing insights during my time there. I am excited for the future!!

I also got some great ideas for articles at my Museums site at -- you'll be seeing those appear on Thursday mornings over the next several weeks.

It truly is a privilege to do what I do. I am so thankful for the opportunity to be reminded of that.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Stories in Stone

My weekly Museums article at BellaOnline this week is a BOOK REVIEW of Stories in Stone by Doug Keister.

A few years ago we hosted a traveling exhibition based on Stories in Stone. At the same time, we also hosted an exhibit based on Doug's book Going Out in Style.

I wanted to share my review on the blog because Stories in Stone is still the absolute best resource for decoding cemetery symbolism out there. It is the most comphensive field guide I've seen. I never go through a cemetery without it!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Busy tour season is HERE!

This marks the first day of the busiest time of the year for us -- spring school tour season!!

I've lost count of how many kids we'll see in the next 5-6 weeks. I think it is more than 5000.

Today one of our docents was sick, so Chris had to do the three tours she had signed up for. Which meant the role of "Chris" was played by "Kim" today! (We also call this role "Traffic Cop"!!)

During the busiest school field trip season, I often don my portable mic and head out to the lobby to help get the kids where they need to go. We can have hundreds of students from 3-4 schools in the building at once, and when they switch from tour to tour, it is organized chaos.

If Chris has to give a tour, someone has to step in to make sure the switch goes smoothly, so the kids have the longest possible time doing their programs.

Teachers can choose any of the following tours for one low price of just $5 per student:
  • American Heritage Tour (history galleries)
  • Discover World
  • Planetarium
  • Ohio & You (history programs)
  • Science Expeditions (science programs)
  • McKinley National Memorial
  • Museum Shoppe

Click here for more information about our education programs.

I don't mind helping out. It's fun to see how excited the kids are when they come into our building. Their eyes light up when they see the pendulum or Alice the Allosaurous in DW. (I'm sure their eyes light up when they get upstairs to the history galleries too, but I don't get to see that from the command center -- aka: the lobby!)

Anyway, if I'm not in my office in the morning between now and June, chances are I'm out playing traffic cop.

And if you'd like to become a volunteer, now is an excellent time to learn!

Call Volunteer Coordinator Stephanie Span at 330-455-7043 and tell her you want to be a docent!

Believe me, we can use all the help we can get!!!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Coffee & Crafts

Today I'm getting ready to teach a counted cross stitch workshop for our Coffee & Crafts series on Wednesday April 28.

We are making a matching set of towels with a pink floral border. I'm going to make one today to see how many strands of embroidery floss I use for each one. Hopefully I won't have to go back to Pat Catan's to get more supplies.

There are still a few spots open so if you're interested, call 330-455-7043 to sign up! The cost is $20 per person and includes all supplies. (And the coffee is decaf!)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Victorian gowns


I just dressed five mannequins in spectacular Victorian gowns for the next exhibit!

I had intended to only get the boxes out of storage, but I was curious what they would look like on mannequins, so...

I've gotten through the grueling database search. Over the next few weeks I'll be pulling other kinds of artifacts, including mantel clocks, corset covers, toys, games, glass, china, mourning outfits and furniture.

This is going to be a lot of fun to put together!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Searching the database

Today I am continuing to search the database for artifacts that date between the 1870s and 1890s for The Victorian Age exhibit.

It is tedious because I have to search through hundreds of records. I am doing a search for "187" "188" or "189" in the description field to find the right era. There are almost 1000 artifacts for each of those searches. Tedious.

Normally I would prefer to go into the storage areas and make my selections by just looking at the artifacts. For example, when I did the glass and china exhibit, I went through that area of storage and pulled things that I liked. I was not concerned about dating them, since the exhibit wasn't focused on a specific time period.

For this, I need to be sure the artifacts date from the Victorian era if I'm going to include them. And we don't group our artifacts by time period -- they are stored by type or material. So the textiles are all together, the hats are all together, the china is all together, etc.

I could walk through the storage areas and "guess" the dates and then go back and check them, but that would be extra work in the long run. And I might be disappointed to find out something I really, really like is actually from 1910 and can't be included after all!

So the only way to verify an artifact's time period is searching the database!

Did I mention it was tedious? :-)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

On to the next exhibit!

The Harter Mansion was a grand dame in Victorian-era Canton

Now that the Bridal Show is over, I am concentrating on the next Keller Gallery exhibition The Victorian Age, which opens June 18 and will be on view through November 21.

The exhibit will feature a wide range of Victorian-era artifacts, including fancy dresses, furniture, vintage photos of Stark County and other items from the era. Visitors will learn about fan language, mourning customs, flower symbolism and much more!

PLUS we will be exhibiting some of our collection of Ida McKinley dresses, which are rarely on view!

I will begin with a quick database search for things I'm looking for, and then I will move into the collection storage areas to select the artifacts that will be included.

It's going to be a great exhibit!

2010 Best of Stark County Awards

Please VOTE for us!!

2010 Best of Stark County Awards

In the past we've been nominated for Best Place to Spend the Day with Family and Best Museum.

Help us win!! You can only vote once per email address, so this isn't something you have to remember to do each day. Take the time and VOTE NOW!!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Bridal Show a success!

Tina wearing a beautiful dress from the 1980s.

What a fantastic Bridal Show!!

The show was just fantastic. We had an amazing day!

Everything went exactly as we planned. No glitches. Delicious brunch catered by Chateau Michele. Beautiful models. Gorgeous dresses. Fabulous stories. A sunny spring day.

What else could we ask for?

Here are some highlights of today's show!

As always, Stephanie and her committee did an amazing job on the raffle baskets!

Volunteers Jane and Linda at our popular $10 raffle -- guests spent $10 per ticket and were guaranteed a gift certificate valued between $10 and $50! (I bought two!)

Chris played the piano for the social hour and during the show.

Overall view of the basket raffle during the social hour.

Helena in a classic ball gown dress!

Rachel -- this dress was a showstopper!

Joyce greeting guests.

My former intern Erin wore her own unique and gorgeous dress from her December 2008 wedding.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Photo in Ticket

Chris and I were shocked this morning to see ourselves on the cover of Ticket! Click here to see it!

Bob Rossiter took the photo at the Pictures of You exhibit opening on Wednesday night. It's a great picture! I think I'm going to order a copy. :-)

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Rehearsal went great!

I got home from the Bridal Show dress rehearsal a little while ago -- it went great!

Everyone did a wonderful job. The models and dressers are phenomenal!! Without them, we couldn't have a show. Cindy coordinates everything wonderfully -- all the dressers know exactly what to do to get our models out on time. And all the models looked absolutely beautiful!

I'm looking forward to Saturday's show!

Building update

The new storage building is 99% complete!!

We are thrilled with a major donation from Gregory Industries of a unistrut shelving system for the perimeter walls. THANK YOU so much!

We expected it would be several months and/or years before we would be able to raise additional funds for shelving inside our building. This means we can move the artifacts into their new home much sooner than we expected!

We are still seeking funding for compact rolling shelves for the center of our building. We want to maximize floor space, and the best way to do that is with rolling shelves.

For now, we are going to move large items onto the perimeter shelving, and we will also be moving hanging and flat storage textiles, as well as our hat and shoe collections, into the new building.

It has been a long term goal to build this much needed addition. We are thankful for all of our Capital Campaign donors who made this project possible.

When it stops raining, I'll get some pictures!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Pictures of You exhibit

Chris and I just got home from the exhibition opening of Pictures of You: A Tribute to Stark County featuring the work of Repository photojournalists Mike Balash, Julie Botos, Scott Heckel, Stan Myers, Bob Rossiter and Ray Stewart at the Joesph Saxton Gallery of Photography.

What an AMAZING exhibition!

I had the chance to speak to each photographer (except Ray Stewart, who couldn't be there) and they were all so humble about their work. They all took amazing photos, but were so modest about it!

We have such fantastic talent at our local newspaper, which is celebrating its 195th anniversary this year. It is no small feat to be in business that long, especially if you are in the newspaper business. They are fortunate to have great writers and great photographers. And we've had the chance to talk with many of them over the past 8 1/2 years. They've all been a pleasure to work with.

It was strange -- and quite nice! -- to attend an exhibition opening that had nothing at all to do with me being relieved that the work was finally done. I go to lots of exhibits and many museums, but rarely do I get the chance to attend an opening event! It was a lot of fun.

The exhibit will be on view through April 24. Definitely stop by and see it. You'll be glad you did!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

New niece!

Chris and I just got back from visiting family in NY for Easter. And look who arrived last week before our planned trip home anyway!

Brianna Marjorie was born on March 31 by c-section after my sister spent 36 hours in the hospital. She was due on April 12, so we didn't expect to be able to see the new baby at Easter!

And here is big brother Dylan, who wanted to take his baby sister home the day he met her in the hospital!

It was fun to take a few days off to see our families.

Now back to final preparations for the Bridal Show!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010


I spent the ENTIRE day steaming wedding gowns.

The good news is, the end is near!

My steamer's swtich broke yesterday, which sent me into crisis mode. I went out and bought a new one, but I don't like it as much as my old one. Steve has a part ordered for the old one, so hopefully when it gets here he can fix it -- and that's the only thing wrong with it!

I'm sure of two things:

1. The show is going to be beautiful.

2. Tomorrow morning when I wake up my arm is going to be KILLING ME.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Holding pattern

I have so many projects I want to complete for the Bridal Show, but something is hanging me up on each one!
  • I ran out of paper last week so I can't finish printing the back drop for the stage. The paper was shipped, but is not here yet. So I'm waiting.
  • All of the raffle prizes aren't in yet, so I can't finish the program.
  • I'm still waiting on a few people to call me back to clarify dress information, so I can't finish the script.

So I'm in a bit of a holding pattern at the moment...

Spring Break!

If your kids are on spring break this week or next week, bring them down to the museum!

We will be having daily planetarium shows for these two weeks at 1:00. Plus all the other great things we have at the museum!!

Come see us!

Friday, March 26, 2010

"New" 50s dress

I just went upstairs and changed the mannequin's dress in the 50s kitchen in The Stark County Story exhibit!

This dress was recently donated, and is such a fabulous 50s dress! I just had to put it on a mannequin right away.

Come in and see it in person!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

We love museums love us back?

A grad school friend posted this on his Facebook page -- hysterical!


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Bridal Show script

I am finally able to sit down and work on the bridal show script!

What a wonderful show we have in store for you! Beautiful gowns, romantic/funny/touching stories, great food. What could be better?

We will be taking reservations through Friday April 2. Please call if you'd like to come! 330-455-7043

I have given the model order to Cindy, who will begin coordinating the changes with her team of dressers. We have to make sure the models assigned to the same dresser have all their dresses hanging together. It is a complicated system, but we are a well-oiled machine. :-)

A week before the show we will steam all of the dresses with distilled water to smooth out any wrinkles that have taken place over time. Each dress will look as pressed as the day the bride originally wore it!

All of the trains will be unfurled, where they will remain until the show.

In addition to writing the script, I still have to design the program (paper is purchased!) and print out a large garden photograph for the backdrop of the stage.

Stephanie and her committee are busy gathering gift certificates and prizes for our raffle (let us know if you or your business would like to contribute!). Cindy has been making favors.

The event will be fabulous!

Museums at BellaOnline on Facebook

Since 2004 I have been the Editor of the Museums site at I write a weekly article on something museum-related. My articles are aimed at museum professionals and museum visitors.

This is a volunteer position for me! I love being a part of the BellaOnline community because I am able to connect with museum enthusiasts around the world.

My involvement at BellaOnline has also allowed me to become a member of the Artwork editorial team for Mused, a literary journal published by BellaOnline.

It's a great community of writers!

I have just created a Facebook fan page for my site. If you are on Facebook, consider joining! I will post links to my weekly articles, so you can keep up to date on what's new at the Museums site.

Click here to view the Museums fan page!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

History Day in progress!

I just finished my judging assignments for History Day! Another great group of kids with some amazing projects!

Because Chris has more judges than ever before, it drastically reduced the number of projects each team had to review. Which means I don't feel nearly as fried as I have in years past!

The awards ceremony will be held at 2:30.

There are no winners or losers today -- all the kids worked really hard, and that came through in all of the projects.

Congratulations to everyone who came to the Region 5 competition!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Crazy week!

What an EXTREMELY busy week I've had!! And yet, there is still a 6th day to this week -- History Day is tomorrow!

Monday seems like a month ago. We had Tea with the Curator: "Hearth & Home" and a tour of the new quilt exhibit A Stitch in Time.

Tuesday I spent the entire day with the Travel Channel.

On Wednesday we went to a marketing seminar hosted by the CVB on partnering and packaging, followed by a meeting at Glenmoor about our special event in September. Then I had to rush to the Malone retirees to give my "Canton: A Journey Through Time -- General History" program. Chris and I stayed late for History Day judges training.

On Thursday we picked up a bequest of a china cabinet filled with glass and china that had to be boxed up for transport.

And today I went to the Akron Woman's City Club to do my program "Canton's Pioneers in Flight." What a lovely group of ladies, and a fabulous lunch!

So, as you can see, I've been swamped.

Next week should be a little quieter, and I hope to be able to finish the Bridal Show script, as well as several other projects on my list that require me to actually sit still for a period of time to complete them!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Travel Channel filmed here today!

Chris took this picture of the Travel Channel crew's monitor!

The Travel Channel came here today to film a segment for a new series called Mysteries in the Museum!

We talked about McKinley's assassination and took a closer look at a few related artifacts. We began filming at 9:30 this morning and we didn't finish until almost 6:00! I am exhausted! But it was also a lot of fun.

They have a lot more to film at museums across the country. They expect to finish filming this summer and edit this fall. The show will air in 2011.

I will let you know when I know more!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Learn more about cool cars at Soup at Six!

This is a photo of a hydrocar MADE RIGHT HERE IN CANTON! We believe they are driving it into Meyers Lake for a trial run.

It was an amphibious vehicle that was way ahead of its time. People here in Stark County were experimenting with this around 1917, a few decades before the military seriously considered using this type of vehicle.

Learn about this and much more early automotive history at the next Soup at Six on Thursday March 18. For just $10 you will get soup, bread, a drink and dessert PLUS this fascinating program!

Call 330-455-7043 to make reservations.

Bridal Show script

I am working on the Bridal Show script this week!

When people bring in their gowns, we sit and talk for a little while about the stories relating to the wedding, engagement, honeymoon, etc. I take notes. Lots of notes.

Next, I look at each dress to describe its style and special features.

Then I put it all together into a script.

We move through the past 100 years in chronological order, for the most part. There are two reasons that the order isn't exactly linear:
  • We like to put family groups like mother/daughter or grandmother/mother/daughter out on the stage together. All of the dresses in the group come out in the timeline for the oldest dress in that family. The oldest dress comes down the runway first, while the newer dresses stay on the stage. The oldest dress leaves the runway and we do the next dress in the family. After the family group is finished, we go back to that place in our timeline.
  • We can't alter the dresses, so sometimes our models fit into dresses that are too close together in the timeline to make a quick change. So we re-order the dresses a little to make sure we give the models enough time to change.

This year, we have a special set of two 2008 brides. In fact, they were married on the same day in December of that year!

Both have modeled for us in the past. Amanda's grandmother volunteers here. Erin was my intern a few years ago. Amanda's dress is difficult to put on, so she requested that she wear her dress before the other dresses she is modeling, to give her dresser enough time to get her into it.

So we will have "bookend" 2008 brides -- Amanda will be first, and Erin will be last. Both girls have very unique dresses. You won't want to miss them! Amanda's is embroidered in gold, and Erin's has a gorgeous red sash and train.

I am at the "describing the dresses" stage with the script. I am also finalizing the order of things. Next will come the actual writing of the script.

Call 330-455-7043 to make reservations!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

New little girl in the Doctor's Office!

The little girl came back from LifeFormations today and she looks FANTASTIC! They did a great job. Come in and see her in the Doctor's Office in the Street of Shops!


and AFTER!!

Here are some more images of the new little girl!

Tea with the Curator is FULL!

Thank you to all who signed up for Monday's Tea with the Curator: "Hearth & Home." We're thrilled to report that it's FULL!

The morning will include light breakfast sweets, a program and a tour of A Stitch in Time.

There are still spots left in the Soup at Six on March 18. Chris will be doing his program "On the Move" about the automobile industry in Stark County. It's a great program, so sign up!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Quilt exhibit article

Click here for a wonderful article on the new quilt exhibit by Gary Brown of The Repository!

Also click here to see a slide show of photos of the exhibit from Repository photographer Stan Myers.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Quilt exhibit opens tonight!

Here are some highlights from the new Keller Gallery exhibit A Stitch in Time!

It opens TONIGHT with a free reception from 6:00 to 8:00 PM. Brave the snow and come join us!

New video of the museum!

Check out this fantastic video made by Kathy Gray of the Canton/Stark County Convention and Visitors Bureau! (She also happens to be a mom and a museum member!)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

We're ready!

I completed all the finishing touches on the quilt exhibit A Stitch in Time this morning. We are READY for our opening tomorrow night!

Hopefully the snow will stay away from us...

The exhibit features 17 quilts and 7 coverlets ranging from 1837 to 2005. There is a nice mix of styles, colors and patterns.

And it is fantastic to see them all unfurled together, for the first time! While working on them, I rarely had any of them spread out fully, and I certainly didn't see them next to each other.

I'm excited to bring you yet another exhibit that was inspired by our amazing and wonderful permanent collection!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Almost done!

All of the quilts and coverlets have been hung! All the labels are printed. I have to hang the panels, add a few object labels and that's IT!

The FREE exhibit opening will be this Friday night from 6:00 to 8:00. The exhibit turned out great -- I'm excited to share it with all of you!!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Quilt exhibit progress

Here are some photos of the installation in progress...

We were able to plan out where each quilt will go today, which is a huge achivement by itself!

I laid out the quilts that will be hung from the ceiling in the center of the gallery so I could measure each length. They are folded in half to save a little space. I laid them out on clean sheets to protect them from any dirt that might be on the floor from moving out the dollhouses and their cases.

We are in good shape!