Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping!

UPDATE:  Someone asked what perecentage the Museum receives for an online purchase through ShopforMuseums.com.  The simple answer is, it varies!  Each retailer has a different arrangement with ShopforMuseums.com, but you can see what the deal is before you shop.  Usually it is somewhere between 1% and 3% of your total purchase.

You will see the donation amount after you choose your Museum Partner and select a retailer.  I just checked Amazon for an example, and they donate 2.5% of your total purchase.


Create a free donation when you shop online for the Holidays

First and foremost, we hope you SHOP LOCAL this holiday season -- especially at the Museum Shoppe!

But if you plan to do some shopping online....please click through ShopforMuseums.com first and choose us the McKinley Presidential Library as your Museum Partner!  You shop at your favorite online retailers as you normally would, but a percentage of your total cost is donated to us -- at NO COST to you!

There are some exclusive Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals through ShopforMuseums too.  So please click before you buy!

If you have any questions about this program, please leave me a comment and I'll try to answer it for you.  (The comments come to my email before they go live, so you only have to send your question once!)

Little girl's 1930s dress

Museum volunteer Rosemary Shaheen did a fantastic job helping me prepare for the Keller Gallery exhibit A Secret Gift.  She sifted through the entire collection of photos in the library, looking for anything that was dated in the 1930s.

Her work is most apparent in a large banner in the exhibit titled "Sam Stone's Canton," shown here:

But there is a more personal part of Rosemary in the exhibit too... 

She loaned us this adorable dress, which was made in the 1930s from a sash from one of her mother's dress, presumably to save money.  And today, she brought us a photo of her wearing it as an adorable little girl!

Thank you, Rosemary!

Saturday, November 23, 2013


I'm sure by now many of you have heard about the robbery at Taggart's last Thursday night.  Thankfully no one was hurt.  But plenty of people -- customers and staff -- were shaken up.  To show support, someone organized a "cash mob" today from 12 to 4.

Chris and I stopped in for lunch.  Ernie greeted us with a big hug and a smile, clearly overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from the community.  As he started to find us a seat, we saw museum volunteers Barb, Barb's sister, Bill and Judy across the room, so we pulled up an extra chair and sat with them.

The food was great, as always, and it was great to see everyone enjoying themselves and proving once again what a great place Canton is to live.

As we were leaving, Ernie asked us to pass along that he has hired an off-duty police officer for the last 4 hours of the day.  He will provide security, including walking people to their cars.  He wanted you all to know that he is doing everything he can to make sure his customers feel safe.

Taggart's has been around since 1926.  That's a long time!  Some of you may recall that I searched high and low for a historical photo to include in the book.  I never did find one, but Barb Abbott of Canton Food Tours graciously allowed me to use the following picture.  What represents Taggart's more than a row of yummy Bittners?

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Onesto Hotel

Last night I had the amazing opportunity to tour the Onesto Hotel in downtown Canton, which is currently being renovated, with a Canton Food Tour.

I got to go behind the desk and see the old cash register, with buttons for telegraph, cigars, valet, etc.  There were still rolls of receipt paper on the shelves beneath it.  I saw the old electrical box, the mail slots, and the safe deposit boxes behind the counter too!

There was a mail chute in the lobby (much like a laundry chute where guests on each floor could send down their mail to be sent) that was sealed by the US Postal Service in 1973.  While part of the building was apparently used for offices after that, the hotel did not operate past that date.

I felt like a kid at the North Pole.  Truly.  We even got to go up to the 12th floor -- at the very top! -- and see the new windows that were just installed yesterday.  The floor was framed out for the four penthouse suites that will be built there.

The invitation to tag along on a portion of the sold out tour came last week from Barb Abbott, owner of Canton Food Tours.  I follow her on Facebook.  Last Wednesday I was sitting at home in my jammies on the couch, and she posted a picture of her tour in the lobby of the Onesto.  I immediately sent her this picture, which was exactly where she was standing with her group:

You could see the arches of the gorgeous ceiling, and the columns, and the windows.  It was one of those amazing moments where the past meets the future -- I could send her a picture of an old hotel, across town, in real time, to share with her group where they were standing.  Isn't technology grand?

I mentioned to her that I would love to peek inside that building, so she invited Chris and I to come for part of this week's Corks and Forks tour.  She also asked me to bring copies of my new book Canton Entertainment to sell for the Museum Shoppe, which I did.  There are a total of 7 photos of the Onesto in the book.

Chris and I stood exactly where the above photo was taken, and looked out at the lobby, imagining couches and potted plants where we could only see marble and peeling plaster.  It was nothing short of AMAZING.

For a historian to get to see what she's written about, it's just priceless.

They have restored the ceiling on the entire stretch along the windows and it looks brand spanking new.  It was a great time to be there to see the before and after comparison:

After poking around the hotel for about an hour, we took our leave of the group, who was headed to the Canton Club for what I can only imagine was a fabulous dinner.  We decided to go to Milk and Honey for a bite to eat before going home.  After spending time at the Saxton Gallery and the Onesto, I was definitely in the mood for something local.

Special thanks to Barb Abbott for allowing us to tag along last night.  It was MAGICAL.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

New lobby video!

Thanks to Brad Evans, a former Movie Camp student, we now have a new video in our lobby!

Click here to go to YouTube and view it!  The quality is much better in person, so stop in and see it for yourself.

Response to A Secret Gift

A page from the Keller Gallery Guest Book

So far, the response to our exhibit A Secret Gift has been incredible!

We've been getting many requests for people to see letters in the library -- some knew they had a family member in the B. Virdot Collection, and some did not.  It's been gratifying for our Archivist Mark Holland to connect these people with the past in a way they never expected!

Sam Stone's daughter Dorothy (Dotsy), the "dot" in B. Virdot, was in town for the Soup at Six and the exhibition opening last week.  She came back yesterday for her third trip through the exhibit, where she was able to take in more of the content without the big crowds.  She loved it, and for me, that's one heck of a stamp of approval!

We hope you'll take some time this holiday season to visit us at the Museum.  A Secret Gift is a wonderful story about the spirit of giving that resonates all year round, but especially so at this time of year.

I hope it inspires people to be generous, "in the spirit of B. Virdot."

Monday, November 18, 2013


Wow, so much to post about today!

Today is the release date for my new book Canton Entertainment!  I'm in the midst of signing my first stack for the Museum Shoppe:

The book is available "wherever books are sold," but I sure do hope you support our Museum Shoppe and buy your copy here!  Don't forget -- museum members get a discount!  And if you're not a member, you don't have to pay admission if you just want to visit the Shoppe.

I'm going to be doing a book signing on December 6 at our Holiday Open House from 6:30 to 7:30 PM.  All of my books sold in the Museum Shoppe are always signed by me, but at the book signing you will have the chance to have your book personalized for yourself or to give as a gift.

Canton Entertainment features 216 photographs of FUN in Canton's past!  You're gonna LOVE IT.

Highlights from A Secret Gift

Thank you to everyone who came to the exhibit opening and Soup at Six preview event last week!  We were thrilled with the turnout, and we hope you enjoyed looking at A Secret Gift in a 3D way.

Before guests went up to view it on Thursday night, I told them what I had told Gary Brown of the Repository the week before.  Ted Gup looked at some letters and saw a book.  Frank Motz read the book and saw a play.  Eric Benjamin read the book and heard music.

I read the book and SAW AN EXHIBIT.  I found myself checking off artifacts in the collection in my mind as I read it:

"We have the sign from Fairmount Children's Home."

"We have a bottle from Superior Dairy."

"We have a feed chopper from Dick's Manufacturing."

And so the idea was born!  Then in 2011 Ted donated the letters and checks, and I officially put the exhbition on my Keller Gallery schedule for 2013, to celebrate the 80th anniversary of Sam Stone's remarkable gifts.

I'm not an artist, so it can be difficult for me to get my ideas out of my mind and onto paper for people to see ahead of time.  One of my favorite parts of the creative process is when I'm able to bring my vision into reality by setting up the gallery.  That's when my ideas become "sharable" with others!

And let me tell you, this exhibition looks exactly the way I envisioned it!

Here are some highlights:

The suitcase where Ted found the letters
Full sized Dick's Manufacturing feed chopper from our collection
Salesman's model of a Dick's feed chopper
On loan from Sally Dick

1930s era paint set

Shirley Temple doll

A sweet bear from our collection

McKinley High School yearbook from 1923 opened to the page with Sam's wife Minna's picture

1930s era radio from our collection

A re-creation of Sam Stone's office
All of the furniture belonged to him and is on loan from Ted
It is "staged" with artifacts from our collection

Photo highlights from our collection from the 1930s

The sign from the Fairmount Children's Home with related letter writer panels underneath

Some of the letters, thank you notes, and checks

1930s women's dresses

Some "context" artifacts, including Hoover presidential campaign items, a Superior Dairy milk bottle, 1933 McKinley High School yearbook, and a 1933 Ohio license plate

If you weren't able to come to the opening or the Soup at Six preview event, the exhibit is on view through Sunday February 2, 2014.  Our hours are:

Monday - Saturday
9:00 AM to 4:00 PM

Noon - 4:00 PM


Complete list of B. Virdot letter writers from A Secret Gift

As I've mentioned in previous posts, not all of the letter writers were included in Ted Gup's book A Secret Gift.  We were able to add one letter writer -- Lester Rice -- to our exhibition because Archivist Mark Holland recognized him as his great uncle.

We'd love to be able to add "the rest of the story" to the B. Virdot Collection in our archive for more letter writers!

If you or someone you know is related to any of the names on this list, please contact us.  Remember the letters are all handwritten, and sometimes difficult to read, so there may be slight spelling errors in the names.  Don't rule out a connection just because it isn't spelled exactly like you'd expect it to be!

If you'd like to view any of these letters, contact Mark at 330-455-7043 to make an appointment, and he will have the letter ready for you.

Here is the list:
  • Ackers, Marie
  • Albrecht, Mrs.
  • Allen, Lottie
  • Aman, Ruth
  • Ammeck, Bessie
  • Anderson, R.E.
  • Bailey, Mr.
  • Baum, Edward
  • Beggs, R.M.
  • Billings, E.J.
  • Black, Mrs. Harold
  • Blackburn, Mrs. A.R.
  • Bonnafield, Allen C.
  • Boyer, Mrs. John
  • Boylan, P.C.
  • Brenner, Thelma E.
  • Brigham, Mrs. W.L.
  • Brown, Mrs. Clara
  • Brown, Theodore
  • Brown, D.
  • Brownlee, J.A.
  • Brunner, Mrs. Walter
  • Bunt, Elizabeth
  • Burson, E.
  • Burson, James E.
  • Calhoun, Mrs. A.
  • Carlin, George
  • Carlin, L.W.
  • Carnes, Ethel V.
  • Carpenter, Vance J.
  • Christian, James
  • Clark, Dorothy
  • Coldren, Geroge D.
  • Colombo, Mrs. Ralph
  • Compher, Oscar B.
  • Conway, Mrs.
  • Cook, Clark
  • Cooper, Harry
  • Cottrell, P.E.
  • Criswell, Mrs. R.E.
  • Cunningham, Mrs. Joseph
  • Deckman, Mrs.
  • DeHoff, Mrs. Rachel
  • Denhoff, James
  • Dennis, Mrs. Harry
  • DeWalt, Anna
  • Dick, Frank
  • Dickerhoof, Walter
  • Dierdorf, V.M.
  • Dreher, Mrs. Marie
  • Dugan, C.R.
  • Ecrement, Harry
  • Emmerling, Robert
  • Englant, Johnny
  • Evans, Willis
  • Everett, Mrs. Paul
  • Everhart, Carrie
  • Fach, Mrs. Delbert
  • Felton, Frances
  • Gaffney, Edith
  • Garber, Mrs. Clara M.
  • Gatschet, John F.
  • Gissiner, J.S.
  • Gray, Bill
  • Hasper, Joe J.
  • Haverstock, Bertha
  • Hayes, Ellen
  • Henninger, Charles
  • Heusel, George
  • Hillman, Mrs. Paul
  • Hoffman, Mrs. Mary
  • Jackson, William
  • Jacobs, Walter
  • Jones, Mrs. William
  • Jones, Howard
  • Jordan, D.H.
  • Jury, Mrs. Donald R.
  • Keener, Mrs.
  • Kendzora, Paul
  • King, Mrs. Bessie
  • Kuhn, Hazel E.
  • Long, David
  • Margo, Mrs. L.
  • Marks, Mrs. Carl J.
  • May, Edith
  • McClain, L.B.
  • McCort, A.C.
  • McCoy, J.D.
  • McMahon, C.L.
  • Miller, Catherine
  • Miller, Ella
  • Miller, Mrs. M.
  • Minor, Charles
  • Moezek, Bernard
  • Monnot, George W.
  • Moore, Marry
  • Myers, Mel
  • Neff, Archie
  • Neiss, Erwin
  • Nelson, H.C.
  • Nickalaz, Josita
  • Nixon, E.H.
  • Olds, Arlen (Helen)
  • Palm, Helen
  • Pryor, Freeman
  • Pugh, Walter
  • Reese, John
  • Rhoads, Roy
  • Rice, Lester
  • Richards, J.
  • Rogers, Joseph P.
  • Rolfi, A.
  • Romesburg, Nora
  • Saal, George A.
  • Saunders, Edith M.
  • Schaub, Edna
  • Schrader, Alice
  • Schuck, Margaret
  • Seery, Raymond
  • Sell, Charles C.
  • Shane, Jessie
  • Sipe, Ann
  • Slentz, C.E.
  • Sommers, Howard
  • Stamm, Myra
  • Stanley, Harry
  • Stein, Katherine
  • Stewart, C. Leroy
  • Stovor, L.A.
  • Tausch, Paul P.
  • Taylor, Betty
  • Teis, Roy M.
  • Tierman, August
  • Tuck, L.
  • Uebing, Mary
  • Van Calhoun, Frank
  • Vaughn, John G.
  • Vogt, George C.
  • Volzer, Clyde A.
  • Wagner, Mrs.
  • Waidman, Albert M.
  • Welsh, John A.
  • White, J.L.
  • Winters, Charles A.
  • Winters, Ray J.
  • Wise, Charles
  • Woodburn, Clarence
  • Wright, Mrs. A.
  • Young, Chester A.
  • Zirley, George W.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

And it's beginning to snow...

I am not a winter person.  I was born and raised in Central New York, so I know a thing or two about snow.  Canton winters are a cake walk in comparison!

Although I don't appreciate snow as much as a skiier or a child anxious to build a snowman, I admit I do love the very first snowfall.  I was watching the rain turn to snow last night, falling in the streetlight, thinking about how there's just something magical about that first snow.  And doesn't everyone, deep down, really want a white Christmas?  No blizzards, thank you very much.  But lightly falling snow on Christmas Eve?  That is just about perfect.

In truth, I can tolerate snow right up until New Year's Day.  Then I want it all to melt so I can go dig in my garden.

I love this photo of the Monument with a fresh coat of deep snow, untouched by a plow.  It is a gorgeous photo, even if you aren't much of a winter person.  I try to post it on the Museum's Facebook page on the first snowfall of the year. 

And I believe I used it for the Museum's Christmas card/invitation a few years ago.  This year, I used a photo of a family Christmas tree, taken by A Secret Gift letter writer Frank Dick.  I've planned an exhibit of his amazing photography for the Keller Gallery in 2015.  Stay tuned for more about that.  What a treasure trove of images from Canton's past!  Plus adorable portraits of his children, landscapes, still lifes and more.

Museum members will be receiving their invitations in the mail next week.  Our Holiday Open House is December 6, and is FREE for members.  Guests are $5 a person.  We ask that you bring a non-perishable food item to help those in need in our community, "in the spirit of B. Virdot."

Also, the Museum is already decorated for the holidays!  We know it's a bit early, but with a Christmas-themed exhibit opening in the Keller Gallery on November 15, we thought it would be nice to have everything finished before then.  It looks beautiful -- we hope to see you soon!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Deuber-Hampden bicycle!

I feel like the Holy Grail just walked in the door...

We just received a Dueber Grand bicycle!

This has been on our Wish List for YEARS. And someone just walked in the door and donated one. 

A quick internet search seems to indicate that Dueber-Hampden only produced these bikes for 5 years beginning in 1896. This model was $55 -- which translates to more than $1200 today! 

This is a ladies model, not only because there is no bar between the handlbars and seat to accommodate a skirt, but the back fender also has holes in it where there were strings across the spokes to keep a skirt from getting tangled up in the wheel! 

This is an AMAZING donation and we are so very thankful to G. Scott Wild for his generosity.

Here are some more photos of it:

Badge on the handlebar tree.

Some of the original painted decoration.

Holes in the back fender for the skirt guard strings.
What's left of the string.

The bicycle chain.

The seat.  We believe there was another covering over this that has since disintegrated.

The seat from the side view.

From the rider's perspective!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Would you like to bake cookies?

Do you like to bake?


Christmas is fast approaching, which means our Holiday Open House is right around the corner on December 6.

We have seen crowds of 1000 guests at that event, and we provide complimentary cookies as part of the festivities.

If you would like to bake and donate a few dozen cookies, we would very much appreciate your help!  Please call Stephanie Span at 330-455-7043.

We love all kinds of cookies.  They don't have to be fancy.  They don't have to be frosted.  Just bake your favorites!

If you're not a baker, but would still like to help, you can also make a cash donation for us to buy cookies.  The gingerbread men in the photo above are among the fabulous cookies that we purchase from a baker.

Thank you so much! 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

I love that new book smell!

Me with all four of my books!

Last night a bunch of us stayed late to help decorate for Christmas.  When Chris and I pulled into our driveway, I saw a box on the porch.  I had no idea what it could be.  I ordered coffee on Saturday, but that would be crazy fast shipping!

When I picked up the box and saw it was addressed to Kimberly Kenney (AUTHOR), I knew right away it was the advanced copies of my new book!

Canton Enterainment looks FANTASTIC!  The team at Arcadia did great job with the layout. The photos are crystal clear.  And the cover?  It is PERFECT.

I'm so very excited about this one.  I think it's going to be very popular, because it includes pictures of just about every aspect of how generations have had fun in Canton -- from the Moonlight Ballroom to Mother Gooseland, and everything in between!

The release date is still November 18.  I expect we will have copies for sale in the Museum Shoppe by then. 

And the timing couldn't be more perfect, because this book will make a wonderful Christmas gift!!!