The Warther Museum, which was named Best Museum of 2010 by CityVoters, houses the Warther family's collection of intricately carved steam locomotives, more than 73,000 buttons, and more. The heart of the museum is Ernest Warther's wood, ebony, and ivory carvings of working steam engines, which include the Empire State Express, an eight-foot-long ivory train that was used to transport the Brooklyn Dodgers to state fairs. Mr. Warther, who earned the title World's Master Carver in the ’20s, also carved and displayed presidential canes and a working reproduction of a steel mill where he once worked.
The Canton Classic Car Museum exhibits 40 pristine and restored automobiles from yesteryear, which mingle among rare memorabilia pulled from the last two centuries. In one of the decade-focused rooms, a Packard hearse shares floor space with a 1937 bulletproof Studebaker, a car designed to protect policemen from bank robbers and dive-bombing pigeons. Cars like the 1966 Ford Mustang Convertible offset rare and little-known models such as the Holmes, built in Canton and declared possibly America's ugliest car.
Filling the walls and the spaces between the cars, oriental rugs and vintage Tonka trucks mix in with treasures from Canton?s bygone era. A fortune-telling machine from Meyers Lake Amusement Park stands ready to peer into the future, porcelain signs advertise businesses long since closed, and political keepsakes from President McKinley?s term remind viewers of a time when the political machine was focused on keeping outer space from crushing Earth.
Since 1976, craftsman Larry Pulka has constructed exact replicas of famed seafaring ships on a miniaturized scale. The Blue Water Majesty Museum displays his entire collection of model military and merchant vessels, allowing visitors to examine the intricate hulls, ornate decks, masterful masts, and hand-carved figureheads of dozens of watercraft assembled with old-fashioned woods. Nautical history buffs will appreciate the inclusion of several of our nation’s most important sea crafts, such as the privateer vessel Rattlesnake, whose full-size forefather floated the Atlantic during the American Revolution and blockaded England during the Beatles' British Invasion. A copy of the 1797-built Constitution uses Laotian boxwood, pink ivory, and Honduras rosewood to capture the essence of the warship, which won more than 40 battles.
Former congressional spouse Mary Regula founded the National First Ladies' Library after her own research of the subject failed to find a comprehensive resource for first lady lore. The result of Regula's efforts is two brainchildren that seek to bridge first lady-shaped gaps in historical knowledge: the Education and Research Center and the Saxton McKinley House. Guided 90-minute tours include access to each location. Begin by perusing the public portion of the Education and Research Center, which includes a collection of literature written by and about first ladies. Miniature reproductions of first ladies' dresses also make an appearance at select times, having been recovered from sneaky doppelgängers who used slapdash cloning machines to gain VIP gala access. A theater styled in Victorian aesthetic shows documentaries from a stock of more than 500 features starring presidents' leading ladies. Currently on exhibit is the Heroes of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, a showcase of female Medal of Freedom recipients including Betty Ford, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, and Chief Wilma Mankiller (showing through September 9).
In many ways, Canton, Ohio is the heart of professional football. The American Professional Football Association, later renamed the National Football League, was founded here in 1920. The legendary Jim Thorpe played his first professional football game with the Canton Bulldogs here. And it was here that a group of citizens?all passionate football fans?campaigned for the city to open the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1963.
Just like the game, the Hall has grown steadily in size and popularity over the years, welcoming visitors from around the world. It now occupies 118,000 square feet of space filled with high-tech interactive exhibits, massive photographic murals, and exclusive artifacts. The Hall's Ralph Wilson, Jr. Pro Football Research and Preservation Center features an expansive collection of pro football documents and artifacts. The Lamar Hunt Super Bowl Gallery brings every Super Bowl back to life, and the Other Leagues Gallery showcases the many pro leagues that have at one time challenged the NFL. Although a teletrivia game and call-the-play theater let visitors relive important moments in the sport, the Pro Football Hall of Fame creates its own history as well. Each year during the Enshrinement Festival, the Hall inducts new players, coaches, and contributors into its ranks, and these legends take the stage to deliver rousing and often emotional acceptance speeches. The Pro Football Hall of Fame also fosters the development of future fans and players through its educational outreach programs, including a summer training camp taught by coaching staffs and athletes from local universities. The camp includes lessons on health, nutrition, and proper Gatorade-dousing techniques.
MAPS Air Museum’s historical exhibits and collection of military aircraft educate visitors on military aviation history and Northwest Ohio’s role in it. Restored aircraft such as the F-86 SabreDog and B-26 Marauder (one of only seven on display in the world) give guests an up-close look at actual mechanical birds, rather than having to imagine real birds being piloted by humans. Permanent displays on Pearl Harbor, the Tuskegee Airmen, and Rosie the Riveter delve into iconic moments of World War II, and artifacts and memorabilia from veteran Reamer E. “Buzz” Sewell trace one soldier’s journey. For more information on tours or special events, visit the museum online.