Education Director Bio
We are sad to announce Chris passed away on December 24, 2019.
Christopher Kenney graduated from St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York with a bachelor’s degree in History and Music. He went on to earn a Master of Arts degree in History Museum Studies at the Cooperstown Graduate Program. Chris is truly a Renaissance man with many different interests – he is proficient in open hearth cooking, has played the piano for 35 years, has his private pilot’s license, and is the proud owner of a 1969 Oldsmobile 4-4-2 convertible. In 2003 his series of school programs “Ohio & You” was honored with a Commendation Award for History Outreach by the Ohio Association of Historical Societies and Museums.
He published his first book entitled The William McKinley Presidential Library & Museum in June 2005. A second book, The McKinley Monument: A Tribute to a Fallen President, was published in 2006 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Monument in 2007. A third book, The McKinley Years: The Life and Times of our 25th President was released in April 2016. This book received a Silver Award for Visual Communication from the Ohio Museums Association. He recently completed an article entitled Catalyst for Change: The Assassination of William McKinley for White House History, the journal of the White House Historical Association.
In 2010 Chris was invited to present a four day residency entitled Unwrapping the Christmas Carol: The History and Cultural Impact of Modern Holiday Songs as part of St. Lawrence University’s Arts Collaborative program. In July 2015 he was a visiting scholar at Buffalo State University where he conducted a lecture and workshop on the McKinley presidency for teachers from throughout the United States as part of a NEH Landmarks Grant Program. He served 13 years as District 5 coordinator for Ohio History Day which covers 8 counties in Northeast Ohio.
Chris has been interviewed about the McKinley presidency by WESA in Pittsburgh, KHSU, the National Public Radio station in Arcata, CA, Univision, the Hispanic News Network, and TIME Magazine. He also appeared on the PBS documentary Nine Long Days: TR’s Journey to the White House.
Chris is also an Assistant Lecturer for the History Department at the University of Akron, teaching History 484/584 Museums and Archives. He has been the Director of Education at the McKinley Presidential Library & Museum in Canton since 2001, where he portrays William McKinley through first person interpretation, speaks on the construction and architecture of the McKinley National Memorial and coordinates the field trips for over 10,000 students every year.