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Presidential Library & Museum

Keller Gallery

Something is always changing in the Keller Gallery, our temporary exhibition space! We develop several exhibits a year, mostly focused on the museum’s extensive artifact collection. We also host traveling exhibitions from the Smithsonian and other institutions. Sometimes we even focus on local art and history. The Keller Gallery exhibits are always changing so check back here for the latest schedule of exhibits often.


Coming Soon!

Thrift Style: Sponsored locally by Goodwill Industries of Greater Cleveland and East Central Ohio, Inc.

The traveling exhibition Thrift Style opens in the Keller Gallery at the McKinley Presidential Library & Museum on Thursday February 3 during regular business hours.  This exhibition offers a snapshot of 20th century domestic life, when recycling was as critical as it is today, and it provides one of the best examples of upcycling in our nation’s history. The exhibition is sponsored locally by Goodwill Industries of Greater Cleveland and East Central Ohio, Inc., who will be showcasing items from their retail stores in a section of the Keller Gallery. 

Thrift Style explores the reuse of feed sacks to make clothing and other household objects and illuminates how the “upcycling” of these bags mutually benefited twentieth-century consumers and businesses. With forty-one works from patterns to garments, it serves as an example of past ingenuity that can inform today’s efforts towards sustainability. 

The exhibition, organized by the Historic Costume and Textile Museum and the Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art, both located at Kansas State University, provides a nostalgic view into American ingenuity, sensibility, and optimism during a particularly challenging time of economic hardship and war—the period of the Great Depression and World War II. The reuse of feed, flour, and sugar sacks was a cost-saving and resource-saving approach employed by homemakers to make new items to meet their families’ needs.

In the 1920s and ‘30s, manufacturers began producing patterned and colored feed sacks to give home seamstresses more options. During World War II, the federal government limited fabric use for individual garments and homemakers were obligated to use thrifty approaches to repurpose what was available to them. As fabrics from feed sacks were not considered a limited resource, women turned to them as an accessible and patriotic option during the war effort. In response, trade organizations and manufacturers promoted the thrifty use of feed sack fabric by publishing how-to brochures and booklets with clothing designs, mending instructions, and other suggestions for restyling clothes.

The artifacts in the exhibition demonstrate a mutual goal of sustainability, with local businesses—mills and feed and seed operations—tailoring product design and marketing campaigns to attract customers; and consumers using their imaginations and practical skills to tailor clothing, aprons, quilts, dolls, and more out of the industry’s byproduct: feed sack cotton.

The exhibition will be on view through March 10.

 


“Why Do We Collect?” features 30 carefully selected ordinary objects with stories from donors that make them special.  For example, visitors will see a bronze statue of a horse that was a midway game prize at Meyers Lake Amusement Park.  The statue does not have any words on it, which means that its history would have been lost if the donor had not made a special effort to preserve it.

The exhibition also explores how and why museums build their permanent collections, how we assign meaning to material objects, and the psychology behind personal collecting.  To illustrate the process of conservation in museums, two of First Lady Ida McKinley’s gowns will be on display, accompanied by detailed information about the conservation treatment they have received to stabilize them.  The exhibition also explores how museums collect history in the making, illustrated by a selection of COVID-19 related items collected by the staff in their daily lives. 

A special section of the exhibition will explore the evolution of lighting devices and telephones, to explain how museums document everyday life over time. 

 “Why Do We Collect?” will be on view in the Keller Gallery through January 16, 2022.



 

 


Past Exhibition: “Righting a Wrong: Japanese Americans and World War II”

 

Embracing themes that are as relevant today as they were 75 years ago, “Righting a Wrong” looks at immigration, prejudice, civil rights, heroism, and what it means to be an American. The exhibition examines the complicated history and impact of Executive Order 9066 that led to the incarceration of Japanese Americans following the attack on Pearl Harbor.

“Righting a Wrong” includes historical images, personal stories and objects from those incarcerated at the camps. A duffle bag used by the Imada family when they were relocated to the Gila River camp in Arizona reflects the restrictions to bring only what they could carry. Takeo Shirasawa’s 1943 high school diploma from the Poston camp in Arizona exemplifies the experience of thousands of other teens who had to complete their high school education in camps.

 

 

 

 


 

The William McKinley Presidential Library & Museum is acquiring a unique piece of Canton history – and we need your help to tell the story!

We are creating an exhibit based on more than 1,400 images of employees at Canton’s Republic Stamping and Enameling during the 1940s and 1950s. The photos feature hundreds of men and women who worked in the plant off of Harrison Ave. S.W. making pots, pans and other enamelware.

Have a story to tell? Read more on our Republic Stamping and Enameling Oral History Project page.