“Why Do We Collect?” Exhibition to Open in the Keller Gallery at the McKinley Presidential Library & Museum

The new Keller Gallery exhibition “Why Do We Collect?” will open to the public on Friday July 16 at the McKinley Presidential Library & Museum. A virtual opening video will be posted on the Museum’s Facebook page on Thursday July 15.

“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 COVID19 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, 2021.


The McKinley Presidential Library & Museum is located at 800 McKinley Monument Dr NW in Canton. The Keller Gallery is the Museum’s temporary exhibition space and features a variety of topics each year. The Museum also includes the McKinley National Memorial, McKinley Gallery, Street of Shops, The Stark County Story, Discover World, Ramsayer Research Library, and the Hoover-Price Planetarium. The Museum is open Tuesday – Saturday from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM. The Museum is closed Sunday and Monday.