Friday, December 19, 2014

Gas Station mechanic coming to the Street of Shops in 2015

We are excited to announce that the next figure to be added to the Street of Shops will be a mechanic in the Gas Station!

This is the head we picked today from Dorfman Museum Figures:

We will be having them add a 5 o'clock shadow so he looks a bit "scruffy."  He will be wearing worn coveralls and will be slightly bent, looking into the engine of the Model A at the Gas Station:

Thank you to Rachel Schneider who funded the figure in our Capital & Replacement campaign in memory of her husband and former board member Dick Schneider.

Look for him in early 2015!

Next up in the Keller Gallery -- The Sheila Markley Black Collection

This collection of vintage textiles was collected with a sophisticated eye by a single fashion connoisseur. This exhibition will feature exquisite dresses, suits, shoes, and hats collected by local attorney Sheila Markley Black. 

Black has donated more than 300 pieces of vintage clothing to the Museum over the past few years.  From Chanel suits to Christian Louboutin shoes, each piece in her collection is an outstanding example of refined taste and classic style.

The exhibition opens with a free reception on Friday March 27.  It will be on view through July 5.

Here is a sneak peek of what you'll see in the exhibition!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Use Shop for Museums when you shop online this holiday season

Wow! Santa found all these great gifts at AND gave free donations with each purchase to the McKinley Presidential Library & Museum? What a great holiday this is!

Click Shop for Museums to get started!

ShopforMuseums is an online portal that you click through to your favorite retailers.  We will get a donation -- at NO COST to you -- for each purchase you make!  It's free and easy to register.

Get your holiday shopping done AND support your favorite museum at the same time!

Click here for a list of more than 1300 online retailers who are a part of ShopforMuseums.  This list includes the donation amount each retailer has pledged.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Brader scavenger hunt

The charm of Ferdinand Brader's drawings lies in the details. So I decided to take a walk through the gallery yesterday and make a Scavenger Hunt to encourage our visitors to take a closer look.

The Scavenger Hunt will be available in the gallery for anyone who wants to try it!

Brader exhibit is ready and open two days early!

I can hardly believe we turned the gallery around this fast!  I had lots of help yesterday and we hung these gigantic drawings faster than I thought we would.  So we opened the doors around 3:30 yesterday afternoon.

The "official" opening is still tomorrow night at our Holiday Open House, but museum visitors can see "The Legacy of Ferdinand A. Brader" all day today and tomorrow!

I am working on a Scavenger Hunt to encourage people to look closely at each drawing.  The charm of these amazing works of art is in the detail!

Here is a sneak peek of the exhibit:

During the winter months, Brader checked himself into the Stark County Infirmary.  We have the registration book in the Ramsayer Research Library.  It is open to one of the four entries for "F.A. Brader."  The other three entries are reproduced next to the book.

The Stark County Infirmary

Brader drew a design on fabric for a family who did not have a farm he could draw.  The fabric was later quilted into a beautiful design.

There is only one colored pencil drawing in our part of the exhibition.  This one belongs to the Museum.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Bidding farewell to the underwear

Today we took down "Mentioning the Unmentionables" to make way for "The Legacy of Ferdinand A. Brader," opening this Friday at our Holiday Open House from 6:00 to 8:00 PM.

It was sad to take the underwear exhibit down because it has been one of my favorites!  We had tons of people come in to see it, and we got great press in some unusual places.  We had awesome comments in the guest book, including women who remembered squeezing themselves into a girdle and those who speculated about how awful it must have been to wear all those layers!

Like I have done with most of my Keller Gallery exhibitions, this one has been turned into a program which is available for your organization's next meeting or event.  Click here for a complete list of  outreach programs.

It is always amazing to me how fast you can un-install an exhibition.  It goes down 10 times faster than it goes up, at least!  Of course, I now have several piles of underwear in my office that need to be cataloged, returned to storage, or returned to their owners.  Fun times.

Installation of the Brader exhibition will begin in the next few days.  We have to completely reconfigure the gallery.  Even though we only have five days to turn the space around, we will be ready for the opening this Friday.  We always are.

Thank you, one final time, to our sponsor for the underwear exhibit:


Monday, November 17, 2014

Looking for 8-10 more wedding dresses

UPDATE: Just five more weddding dresses needed! If you have a dress, please let me know!

Last week we had our first Bridal Show committee meeting, so I tallied up how many dresses we have for the 2015 list.  We're already at 32!  We need just 8-10 more for a full show.

We have plenty from the 1960s and 1970s, so we're specifically looking for dresses from decades other than those two.

If you have a dress we can borrow, please give me a call at 330-455-7043.  I will put you on the list now, and I will call you in January to set up an appointment to bring your dress in and interview you about your wedding.

The show is a lot of fun!  Please help us spread the word.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Special announcement!! Our NEW website is LIVE!

 UPDATE:  Our email issues have been fixed!!


We are so excited to announce that our new website is LIVE!  Click here to see it!

We have been working with Jab Advertising and Lehman Website Design for several months to create a new and improved website that better reflects who we are.  The new site has several new features, including the ability to add a LOT more photos.

The back end is much easier, allowing us to update it more frequently.  The styles are all pre-set to ensure a consistent look on every page.

One tiny glitch:  The switchover to the new website has affected our email.  We cannot send or receive email at this time.  We are working to resolve this issue as quickly as we can.  In the meantime, please visit the website and let us know what you think!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A message from PastPerfect software

As a PastPerfect client, I just received the following email from President Richard Hilton.  I wanted to post it here to help disseminate information and stop rumors.

The curatorial department and the library both use this software, and we cannot say enough about how wonderful it is to use.  It is easy to train new volunteers and interns, and the tech support is phenomenal. 

We have no complaints and will continue to use this software to keep track of Stark County's historical treasures!

* * * * * * * 

Open Letter to PastPerfect Customers:

It has come to our attention that our competitors have been disseminating misleading information about PastPerfect Software. It is unfortunate that a company would employ a desperate tactic of fear to try and make sales at the expense of our PastPerfect users.

It is true that Microsoft will stop providing technical support for Visual FoxPro on January 13, 2015.  However this will have no effect on PastPerfect. Microsoft has never provided support to users of PastPerfect or any other products developed with FoxPro. Their support has only been available to software engineers at companies like PastPerfect who create applications. Our programmers fully understand the FoxPro language and have not required any help from Microsoft for over 10 years. And since all the new products we are now developing are not based on FoxPro, we will have no need of their help in the future.

To be clear, PastPerfect version 4 and version 5 will continue to work fine on January 14th and for many years to come.  PastPerfect works on all current versions of Windows including the latest version 8.1 and we have been assured that it will work on Windows 10 whenever that is released.

We also realize that FoxPro is not the future of software development. Therefore in 2012 we began working on new products using state of the art web-based development tools including, HTML, CSS, PHP and SQL server databases. Our goal is to provide a seamless, inexpensive migration path for current PastPerfect users who want to move with us into the future. Next month we will release the first in this line of products, a brand new PastPerfect Online. This web hosted application will replace and enhance the original PastPerfect Online product that was created in FoxPro. Next year we will complete development of the core PastPerfect collection management software.

Our mission at PastPerfect has always been to provide that best possible software at an affordable price with exceptional customer service. As our new software products become available we will provide current users an easy and affordable way to migrate without losing valuable data and images or having to retrain staff. We will continue to support PastPerfect version 4 and 5. No one will be left without support or forced to upgrade.

With kind regards,

Richard L. Hilton
PastPerfect Software, Inc.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Historic Onesto Lofts

All I can say is....WOW!

Chris and I stopped in at the open house at the Onesto this morning and we were amazed!  It looks absolutely fabulous.

It is really special to see a historic building brought back to life like this.  It's like walking into the past.

We were fortunate to visit a little over a year ago with a Canton Food Tour.  I blogged about it then -- click here to read about it and see a few pictures of what it looked like!  They have put a TON of work into the restoration.

Here are a few photos I took today:

Monday, October 13, 2014

CGP celebrates 50 years

Chris and I spent this past weekend in Cooperstown, NY, helping our graduate program celebrate 50 years of training museum professionals!

The Cooperstown Graduate Program -- called "CGP" or just "the Program" by students, alumni, and faculty -- was the first to offer graduate degrees in museum studies.  The first class of 28 students came in the fall of 1963.  Back then, the program was only one year, so the Class of 1964 is our oldest and dearest group of alums.

In the late 1970s, the Program began to develop a 2-year master's degree program with a full time summer internship in between.  That is the model that continues today.

It was wonderful and surreal to be back in Cooperstown.  Chris and I went back together a few times when we were living in Rockland County (and the drive was much, much shorter) to visit friends or to be a judge for New York State History Day.  I was there in 2010 for the first ever Institute for Cultural Entrepreneurship, a unique conference for mid-career museum professionals.  That year the Program was in the middle of a major building project.  I did not get to see its new home until this past weekend.

I was IN AWE.

The new building is very modern on the inside (white, glass, metal) while staying true to its heritage on the outside (brown, green).  It is still situated well into the landscape, but when you walk in -- WOW!

After passing a small reception area, the first thing you see is a wonderful new gallery space where students build exhibitions.  The current exhibition, "All Cooped Up," explores winter in Cooperstown.  It was very well done and quite impressive!  Students have more tools at their disposal than we did back in 1999.  There is a graphics lab now, furnished with a large format plotter and I assume a vinyl cutter, based on the exhibition design in "All Cooped Up."  Students traditionally unveil their class exhibit before Interview Weekend in March.  I'm anxious to see how students will top what's there now.

Back in the "dark ages" we had something like 4 computers, which we mostly used to type papers or check email in DOS.  Today the new lab has work stations for every student in a class to receive training on graphic design software or other programs.

I am thrilled for current and future students, but I am also a bit jealous!  What a grand space in which to study museums.

CGP is well-known for responding to trends in the museum field, and the present is no exception.  It is rolling out a new certificate program for Science Museum Studies.   One of the four faculty positions is now for science!

The weekend itself was a great time for reconnecting with old friends and revisiting museums that we haven't been to in years.  Our classmate Erik Strohl is now the Vice President of Exhibitions and Collections at the Baseball Hall of Fame, and he led a behind-the-scenes tour of their amazing collections.  We saw many rare and wonderful treasures of baseball, including:
  • Bats used by Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig (We got to hold them!!  With white cotton gloves on, of course.)
  • A rule book from 1859, when baseball teams were clubs of amateur players who paid a membership fee to play the game
  • The handwritten record of Jackie Robinson's first season playing baseball (Erik said once they wrote down the first game he played, that is the document that represents the breaking of the color barrier in baseball)
  • A shriner's hat worn by Ty Cobb
  • A baseball signed by both Ken Griffey and Ken Griffey, Jr.
  • And so many more documents, photographs, and artifacts!
It was a fantastic tour!  And it was great to see how far Erik has come.  When we were students, he was a curatorial intern at the BBHOF and has worked his way up to a very prestigious position!

We also had the opportunity to tour the "Folk Art & American Modernism" exhibition with Paul D'Ambrosio, President and CEO of the New York State Historical Association and fellow CGP alum.  The exhibition explores early 20th century art collectors who essentially saved early American folk art from oblivion. 

I am proud to be a CGP alum, and I am in excellent company.  There are only 950 of us, because each class is approximately 15-20 students.  There are CGP grads doing great things across the country and around the world.

And there are two of us right here at the McKinley Presidential Library & Museum!

Just two quick pictures from our weekend:

Members of the class of 1999:  Stacy Ward, Chris, and me at CGP's 50th Anniversary Dinner on Saturday night
The view from our hotel room.  The fall colors were so much brighter in person than they look in this picture!  Nothing beats autumn in Cooperstown.  It is one of the most beautiful towns I have ever seen.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Fall fun!

October is one of my most favorite months.  I love the changing colors of the leaves, the cooler temperatures, and the cozy nights at home when the sun goes down a little earlier each day.

It's also a great time at the Museum! 

In my department we are cataloging new artifacts like crazy, preparing for the next Keller Gallery exhibition The Legacy of Ferdinand A. Brader, getting started on the Bridal Show in April, and designing the Museum's Christmas card. 

But that's all behind-the-scenes.  What's coming up for our guests? 

Call 330-455-7043 to sign up for our next Soup at Six.  Reservations are not required for our Halloween Party, but pre-paid guest will enjoy express admission that evening!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Paperwork...and other exciting stuff!

It might seem like I've been MIA since the underwear exhibit opened, but really I've been holed up in my office catching up on paperwork!

When I'm in the middle of an exhibition, I don't have time to do donation paperwork, so I end up with a stack of it after the exhibition opens.  I'm making it a priority to try to set aside time every week to keep up with it, even if I am up to my eyeballs in exhibit planning, so I don't have to spend another week like last week.

This semester we have two new interns, Rebecca and Mary, who are doing a great job with cataloging all of these new donations.  They are each interested in doing an exhibit too, as well as populating a new artifact slideshow feature on our brand new website, scheduled to launch later this year.  Mary is working with our archivist one day a week, and Rebecca is taking photographs of the artifacts in the Street of Shops.  I'm happy to have the additional help with all of my collections projects.

The staff is also busy making our wish lists for this year's Capital & Replacement campaign.  Members will be receiving this annual appeal in October.  We work really hard to come up with new and exciting funding opportunitites that make our jobs easier.  Our budget is so limited, we can't afford many of these items without the generous support of our donors.  If you are one of them, THANK YOU!

Work is also in progress for Taste of Our Town this Thursday night.  We have a good crowd coming and we're looking forward to this event.

My Tea with the Curator on Monday September 29 is SOLD OUT!  We will be taking a tour of the underwear exhibit after a program on the history of women's underwear.  It promises to be a good time!  I completed the finishing touches on my program yesterday and printed out my notes.  This will now be a brand new outreach program too -- perfect for women's groups!

I also spent some time this week cleaning up my office.  I had piles everywhere!  Underwear that was not ultimately part of the exhibit has been returned to storage.  Research materials from the library have also been returned.  Donations have been processed and moved to the volunteers' office next door for cataloging.  Papers have been properly filed.  Lots of catalogs and magazines have been tossed in the recycling bin.  I had started to forget what color my desk was, since I haven't seen it in so long!

I think that's about it.  Some of the other things on my To Do List include:

  • Contacting the Brader owners who will be displaying their drawings in the next Keller Gallery exhibit, The Legacy of Ferdinand Brader, opening December 5 at our Holiday Open House.
  • Creating a program based on my book Canton Entertainment.  I was asked if I had a program based on the book, and I had not thought of that!  I'm booked for it in November.
  • Designing program and tickets for Taste of Our Town.  I have the 2012 program to tweak, which is much, much easier than starting from scratch!
  • I still have some cleaning to do in my files.  My filing cabinet is busting at the seams!  I have trouble getting rid of things.  Being a Curator is only a few degrees away from being a hoarder.  :-)

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Have you seen the tiara yet?


We had our annual Volunteer Enrichment Day today, where each department reports on the highlights of the past year.

OF COURSE, the Ida McKinley tiara was the biggest thing that has happened in my department this year!

I remembered that WFMJ was here the week before Chris and I were out of town in July, so we never saw the clip of their story about the tiara.  I searched for it and was excited to see that they were able to get a telephone interview with Rick Harrison!

Click here to see the story, featuring some of the Museum's volunteers who were also Tiara Fund Donors!

If you haven't see the tiara yet, come visit us.  You can also see some of Ida's underwear, while you're here!  "Mentioning the Unmentionables" is on view through November 30.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Underwear exhibit opens TONIGHT!

After a summer of immersing myself in the history of women's underwear, Mentioning the Unmentionables is finally ready to share with the public!

There is just so much to see.  We have everything from an 1810 corset to an underwear and cami set from 2003, and everything in between!

The exhibit is essentially a timeline of women's underwear history, with examples of garments and undergarments for most decades from 1810 to 1970.  Special sections include hosiery, nightgowns, bed jackets, and boudoir caps.

We even have two pieces of Ida McKinley's underwear on display!

Bloomers that belonged to First Lady Ida McKinley

The bloomers are marked "Ida Saxton" which dates them prior to her 1871 marriage
Text panels displayed with the artifacts provide context for each era's fashion changes, whether it's the hoop skirt of the 1860s, the bustle fad of the 1870s and 1880s, or the flat "Flapper style" of the 1920s.

The exhibit features more than 40 dress forms, plus additional garments on hanging display mounts and inside cases.

The opening is FREE and open to the public from 6:00 to 7:30 PM tonight.  If you can't make it, Mentioning the Unmentionables will be on view through Sunday November 30.

Here are a few more highlights!

1880s bustle, courtsey of Mary Doering

1880s bustle, Museum Collection

Corset waist, c1890s, courtesy of Mary Doering

One of approximately 15 exhibit panels in the exhibition

This is NOT A DRESS!  It is a petticoat and corset cover, c1890s, Museum Collection.

Long line corset, c1910-1912, courtesy of Mary Doeering.  Worn over a chemise of the same era from the Museum's Collection.

Chemise and drawers set, c1920s, Museum Collection

All-in-one, c1950s, courtesy of Jan Cassler

Cami and underwear set, c2003, courtesy of Linda Jordan

Morning jacket and boudoir caps, Museum Collection


Underwear, c1970, Museum Collection

Underwear by Pucci, courtesy of Mary Doering

Original drawing for a lingerie ad for The Parisian department store in Canton, courtesy of Jan Cassler