The Massillon Museum, a local art and history museum, has major collections of photography; costumes and textiles; china, glass and pottery; domestic appliances; and circus memorabilia. The Museum was first accredited in 1972 by the American Association of Museums and has continued to be accredited by the AAM since that time.
James Duncan built his home in the early 1830s overlooking the booming canal town of Massillon, Ohio, which he had founded in 1826. In 1880, Dr. and Mrs. J.P. Barrick bought the house, which was later passed on to Mrs. Barrick’s son, Frank Lee Baldwin. As she and her husband had planned, Mrs. Baldwin bequeathed the house and grounds for use as a museum in the late 1920s.
The Baldwin Museum opened in 1933, exhibiting Captain Baatz’ Native American artifacts and the Pease Archaeological and Ethnological collection. The Museum closed in 1936 for remodeling and the construction of the adjacent library wing. The building reopened on April 3, 1938, exhibiting Abel Fletcher photographs, the Ella O. Shoemaker shell collection, the “Vigilant” hand-pumped fire engine, paintings and furniture. Its new name was the “Massillon Museum.”
The Museum was, from its inception, funded by county intangibles tax that was directed through the Massillon Public Library. When it became apparent that the Museum could not continue its quality service to the community within that budget, the Museum director and board members succeeded in working with state legislators to pass legislation permitting Ohio museums to place tax issues on the ballot. As a result, the Massillon Museum passed a tax levy within the city of Massillon and is now supported by property taxes from the citizens of the community.
In 1991, it became evident that more room to house the collections was imperative. The State of Ohio had given $750,000 towards a new building so plans were formulated to either build or buy a new museum. In April 1991, the Board of Trustees purchased a former department store in the center of town called the Giltz Building. A capital campaign fund drive for funds to remodel was launched in 1992.
The architectural firm of vanDijk, Pace, Westlake and Partners of Cleveland was contracted for remodeling plans and a $1.9 million dollar renovation was begun in 1994. On May 12, 1996, the new “state of the art” contemporary Massillon Museum opened its doors to the public with a “Gala Opening” and exhibit.
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Donations will be used for collection preservation and care, exhibitions and educational programming.
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