Thursday, May 29, 2014

Underwear research begins

There is a trend brewing in the museum world for underwear exhibits, it seems!  And happily, we are part of the buzz.

I schedule Keller Gallery exhibitions three years in advance (sometimes longer!), so I've been thinking about an underwear exhibit for a long time. 

After setting the dates for 2014, I discovered our neighbors to the north, the Kent State University Museum, did a marvelous exhibition called Undress: Shaping Fashion and Private Life.  My volunteer Kathy and I went up to check it out in 2012, where we discovered Fosshape for mounting textiles.

Around the same time, a Google search revealed another fascinating exhibition at the Missouri History Museum called Underneath It All

Today I found yet another underwear exhibition at The Museum at FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology) that opens soon called Exposed: A History of Lingerie.

Lest you think I've gone off my rocker with this idea, we are in very good company with our upcoming Mentioning the Unmentionables exhibition!

I am starting "official" research today.  Our archivist has been gathering materials from our research library for months, and I am finally ready to dive into the box.

Yesterday we started preliminary fittings of some of the undergarments in our collection.  We have discovered that they are not as easy to mount as we thought they would be!  The dress forms are small busted, likely for flexibility in display (you can always pad them up, but you can't cram something on a dress form that is too big!).  But with so much lace, stuffing the bust line has become...problematic.

We are working on solutions to this issue.  In the end, it will all work out!

Most underwear exhibitions seem to be organized chronologically, and that's my plan, too, for the Keller Gallery.  I am envisioning some independent sections as well, such as nightgowns, liberating undergarment fashions, and perhaps (gasp!) menstruation and maternity garments.  We also have some of Ida McKinley's undergarments that have never been on display! 

This summer is going to be a lot of fun as I immerse myself in this most interesting branch of fashion history.  Mark your calendars now for the opening on September 5.  It's going to be a hoot!

I would like to thank our sponsor for Mentioning the Unmentionables:

Less than $6000 left!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Search for vintage underwear

Ladies Home Journal, 1904

Now that Peanuts...Naturally is open in the Keller Gallery, it's time to begin working on the next exhibition -- Mentioning the Unmentionables!

Gary Brown wrote a great article in yesterday's Monday After column in the Repository announcing our quest to fill in some gaps in our collection.  Below is a list of what we're hoping to find in the community.  We have filled in some early gaps in our collection with a loan from a private collector in Washington, DC.  But there are still things we're hoping to find!

Mentioning the Unmentionables: Highlights from the Underwear Collection will examine the history of women’s fashion by what we’ve worn underneath our clothing to conform to the ideal feminine shape of the era.  The exhibition will examine the role underpinnings have played in shaping (literally and figuratively!) gender roles in the 19th and 20th centuries. 

The exhibition opens on Friday September 5 with a FREE reception from 6:00 to 7:30 PM.  It will be on view through November 30.  I'm going to be working on it this summer, so if you have anything to loan/donate, please call me as soon as possible so we can check things off the list!  (330-455-7043)

The following is a “wish list” of items we would like to include in Mentioning the Unmentionables:


  • Corsets (19th and early 20th century)
  • Hoop (1860s)
  • Bustle hoop (1870s – 1880s)
  • “Sleeve bustle” (1890s)  FOUND!  We are borrowing one from the Winterthur Museum in Delaware.
  • Bloomers (19th century)
  • Maidenform “bullet bra” (1940s-1950s)
  • Wonderbra (1960s or 1990s)
  • Girdle (mid-20th century)
  • Nightgowns/dressing robes/lingerie from any era
  • Trousseau items
  • Modern shapewear (such as Spanx)
  • Bathing suits (any era, especially early bikinis from the mid-20th century)
  • ADVERTISEMENTS from vintage women’s magazines featuring underwear from any era

Friday, May 23, 2014

Only $8000 left to go!

This morning I colored in THREE MORE diamonds!

We are now within $8000 of reaching our $43,000 goal!  We have been in touch with "Pawn Stars" to let them know how we're doing.  Plans are in place for the tiara to come to Canton, as soon as we send them our check!

We cannot thank our 250+ donors enough for your support of this project.  This is not something we are able to do every day, but the combination of this particular artifact, its connection to Canton, its fame on TV, and the amazing publicity it generated created the "perfect storm" to bring this tiara back to town! 

We are grateful beyond words.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Peanuts...Naturally opens tomorrow night!

We just have a few lights to tweak and the exhibit is READY TO OPEN!

Peanuts...Naturally is simply adorable!  Visitors of all ages will enjoy the Peanuts gang and their wacky outlook on life.

In addition to many, many comic strips, there are three interactive stations for kids to explore.  We will be adding additional interactive stations for one night only for our "Spaghetti at Six" event on August 7.  Check our website for details.

The exhibit is divided into seven sections:

  • Trees, Glorious Trees
  • The Universe
  • The Elements
  • Gardening
  • Web of Nature
  • Birds
  • Charlie Brown and the EPA
The exhibition also includes a video made for the American Lung Assocation called "Charlie Brown Clears the Air."

We hope you will join us for a FREE opening reception on Friday May 23 at 6:00 PM.  It's going to be a lot of fun!

Here's a sneak peek at what the gallery looks like!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Tiara fund reaches 75%!

We are now at 75% of our goal!  We have just over $32,000 now. 

That means we have LESS THAN $11,000 LEFT TO RAISE!

Please continue to help us spread the word.  We have more than a month until our deadline, but it sure would be nice to wrap this up early!

Don't forget, donations can be made online too!  Click here!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Crates arrived yesterday

Charles M. Schulz Museum

The crates for Peanuts...Naturally arrived yesterday!

This afternoon I'm figuring out the best layout for our space. This exhibit is going to be a lot of fun!

We've had a big gap between two traveling exhibitions, so we've used this time to make some improvements to the Keller Gallery.  It is rare that the gallery is completely empty like this, so we were able to complete a number of projects that have been on the list for some time.

A door that used to lead to the Timken exhibit in the old Industrial Hall has been removed.  I now have a nice, wide wall that is more usable space for display.  The door was moved to another location that will provide simpler access to my "prop" room, where all of the black and acrylic risers, artificial plants, plate stands, etc. are kept.  The floor has also been thoroughly cleaned from wall to wall, with no cases in the way to work around.  The perimeter walls have all been given a fresh coat of paint.

Installation will begin on Monday.

Charles M. Schulz Museum

There is a FREE opening reception on 
Friday MAY 23 from 6:00 to 7:30 PM!

We'll see you there!

We've reached $30,000!

After another big donation day today, I was able to color in FOUR MORE DIAMONDS!

We have completed the third line of the Diamond Chart, which means we have reached the $30,000 mark.  Only $13,000 left to go!

THANK YOU to everyone who has sent in a donation.  Please continue to help us spread the word as we enter the home stretch!

Donations can be made online on our website.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Tiara story on WFMJ in Youngstown

This morning as they were coming in for their field trip, one of the teachers told me she saw me on the news this morning!  Hopefully the link below will work:

21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio - 

They filmed a few weeks ago, so we've raised more money since then.  In fact, we're almost at $26,000!  I should be able to color in another diamond shortly...

UPDATE:  I see that the video is embedded in this post, but it goes off the screen.  And the link takes you to the WFMJ website.  Interesting... You can click here for the written version of the story too!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Tea with the Curator - Roaring Twenties Review

Join us for a Tea with the Curator on Monday June 16 at 10:00 AM for "Roaring Twenties Review!"

During the Keller Gallery exhibition on the 1920s called "Footloose and Fancy Free" several years ago, Chris and I developed a whole series of Tea with the Curator and Soup at Six programs based on the decade.

Around the same time, Hoover High School in North Canton had an Arts in Stark grant to create a unit about the 1920s.  They asked us to combine my slide lecture program with his piano program, and "Roaring Twenties Review" was born!

It's currently the only program we do together, so it's a lot of fun.  We're excited to present it at the Museum -- we've mostly done it for community groups throughout Stark County.

Guests will learn about fashion, silent movies, Prohibition, the automobile, Canton Daily News editor Don Mellett's murder, and MUCH MORE!

Pre-paid reservations are required.  The cost is $15 per person.  Call 330-455-7043 to make reservations!

School donates money for animals in Discover World

What a wonderful surprise!

McMullen Elementary, who came on field trip today, brought a very special gift with them. 

The 3rd grade classes collected $505.00 to donate towards animal care for the residents of Ecology Island in Discover World!

After lunch, we gathered all of the kids down in Discover World so one of the teachers could present Science Director Lynette Reiner with the money.

She told the kids that she planned to purchase a new cage for Kernel the Corn Snake, who has outgrown his current habitat.  She got Kernel out so the students could see the exact DW resident they would be helping.


The kids were as excited to give us the donation as we were to receive it!  When it arrives, their school will be honored with a plaque on Kernel's new cage.

THANK YOU so much to everyone at McMullen Elementary who contributed to this school fundraiser!  It is very touching for us to know that there are kids out there who take it upon themselves to help raise money for causes that are important to them.

After the presentation, the kids finished up their field trip with a trip to the Museum Shoppe, and a visit to the McKinley National Memorial (between raindrops!).

HUGE weekend for tiara donations

I was able to color in THREE DIAMONDS this morning!!

In spite of the iffy weather, we collected a total of $597 at the Dollars for Diamonds event this weekend.  The rest of the total came from individual donations (ranging from $10 to $1000!), including $600 from a Cub Scout troop who comes here for their Camp-In every year!

We are thrilled beyond words with the generosity of our community and beyond.  Donations have come in from many states.  It's like a party in the Front Office every time the mail is delivered!

I hand-color an enlarged version of the digital Diamond Chart that is displayed in the Front Lobby for our visitors to see our progress in person!
Donations in any amount are appreciated.  You can make your donation online.  Click here!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Dollars for Diamonds TODAY and TOMORROW!

(Photo credit:  Gold & Silver Pawn Shop)
Dollars for Diamonds is TODAY from Noon to 4PM and TOMORROW from 9AM to 1PM!  

Donations will be accepted on our grounds in any amount for the Ida McKinley Tiara Fund! 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

New Blacksmith figure!

We are thrilled to announce arrival of the newest realistic museum figure in the Street of Shops!

He arrived this afternoon and we have already installed him in his new home in the Blacksmith Shop!  He was made by Dorfman Museum Figures.

Donations to our annual Captial & Replacement fund drive made it possible for us to purchase another realistic figure to add to our growing group of residents in the Street!  We now have a Doctor and Little Girl, a Dentist and Little Boy, and a Blacksmith.

Which one do you think we should add next?

Here are some more images:

Th lighting is a challenge in that space, so I also took a video to try to capture the red glow from the fire reflecting on his shirt:

The following is the text of the audio tour buttons that were installed in the Street of Shops in 2012.  Ron Ponder recorded these for us.  There are also hammering and bellows sounds in the scripts. 

Button #1 – A Key Figure in Town

Since the first European settlers landed in Roanoke, Virginia in 1607, the blacksmith has been an essential part of life in every American town.  He would make everything out of iron that a household, farm or business needed, including horseshoes, pots, skillets, tools, and weapons.

It might be surprising to learn that making nails and fasteners of every size and type was a major part of the blacksmith’s work.  These small but necessary pieces were so valuable, abandoned buildings were often burned to the ground, just to salvage the nails.

Button #2 – African American Blacksmiths   
In the South, large plantations were often isolated and had to be self-sufficient when it came time to re-shoe a horse or repair agricultural equipment.  A few slaves were given a rare opportunity to learn an important skill.  After the Civil War, African Americans migrating north found work in many communities as a blacksmith.

Button #3 – The Bellows  

The design of the bellows is ancient and quite ingenious.  It consists of a lower and upper chamber, connected by a one-way valve.  A few vigorous strokes of the operating pole forces air from the lower chamber into the upper chamber, which is connected to the firebox through a tube.  Because the opening of the tube is smaller than the tube itself, the air passes slowly into the firebox, providing a steady stream of oxygen to fuel the fire.  A blacksmith could work for a considerable amount of time before he needed to pump the bellows again.  The forge on display in our Blacksmith Shop was used by the Flowers Welding Company in Canton.  Most of the tools date to the 19th century, although the same kinds of tools have been used for hundreds of years.          

Mothers FREE this Saturday


Several years ago we started offering free admission to Moms on the Saturday before Mother's Day and free admission to Dads on the Saturday before Father's Day.

We are open on Mother's Day and Father's Day, but only from Noon to 4PM.  So we thought it would be better to offer free admission on the Saturday before, when we're open all day from 9AM to 4PM!

So bring your mom to the Museum this Saturday!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Deadline extended for ICE

The registration deadline for the Institute for Cultural Entrepreneurship for Museum Leaders has been extended to MAY 16.

Click here to read my recent post about it. 

It's not your typical museum conference, believe me!  It is valuable in so many ways.  Consider signing up today!  You won't regret it.

This has nothing to do with anything, but the year I went, these baby lambs had just been born at The Farmers' Museum.  Aren't they ADORABLE?

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

We're half way there!

We have now officially raised $21,500 through donations from across the country to purchase a diamond tiara that belonged to First Lady Ida McKinley!

The tiara was recently sold on the History Channel show “Pawn Stars” and is for sale exclusively to the McKinley Presidential Library & Museum in Canton for $43,000.

But we still need your help!

Rick Harrison, co-owner of the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas, has given the Museum three months to raise enough money to purchase the tiara.   

Our deadline is JUNE 24.  

As a private non-profit organization that is not part of the modern, federally-funded presidential library system, the Museum does not have an acquisitions budget.  It is seeking the help of the community to bring this tiara back to Canton.

Donations of any size really add up.  We have received donations ranging from $5 to $5000.  We appreciate any amount people can give to help us bring this tiara back to Canton.  We still need those donations to meet our goal in time.

In addition to Ohio, the Museum has received donations from Texas, Nevada, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, California, West Virginia, New Jersey, Minnesota, Kansas, Virginia, New York, Washington DC, Florida, Georgia, Connecticut, and Alaska.

Click here to contribute to the Ida McKinley Tiara Fund online.  Donors can also send a check to:

Ida McKinely Tiara Fund
McKinley Presidential Library & Museum
800 McKinley Monument Dr NW
Canton OH  44708.  

Help us bring the tiara back to Canton before time runs out!