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.
Although The Canal Fulton Glassworks opened in 2009, the timber-framed structure that it inhabits was built nearly two centuries ago. Inside, the business has transformed its historic dwelling into a modern-day showcase of Ohio-based artists, with more than 3,000 handmade works on display, from glass and ceramics to furniture and paintings. The gallery also shares its artistic prowess with the community during hands-on classes, including glass-making workshops that focus on paperweights, pendants, and beads.
Founded in 1934, the Cuyahoga Valley Art Center is a self-supporting nonprofit that offers classes led by experienced artists to pupils of any skill level. Aspiring sculptors can jump hands first into the beginning pottery class, which includes a kiln-firing fee and a half block of clay ready to be deftly shaped into a bowl, mug, or more shapely block of clay. A sketchbook and drawing pencils are bestowed upon all who enter either drawing class, where former tracers will learn the fundamentals of elevating a flat image to realistic three-dimensionality. Classes take place at the center itself, which also contains a first-floor gallery where student and instructor work is proudly displayed–increasing your changes of being romanced by every sexy art thief in the greater Akron area. Check out a complete description of classes before registering.