OHIO MILITARY MUSEUM MOVES FROM MASSILLON TO MAPS AIR MUSEUM

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“We’re not closing, we’re moving!” says Ted Stults, chairman of the board of the Ohio Society of Military History, which operates the Ohio Military Museum. The museum will move from 316 Lincoln Way East in Massillon to the MAPS Air Museum, 2260 International Parkway, North Canton—near the Akron Canton Airport.

And they’re growing! At the Massillon location, the Ohio Society of Military History hosts about 2,200 visitors each year. MAPS officials anticipate a total of 35,000 visitors in 2015. While the Ohio Military Museum has traditionally been open several days a week from the middle of March through the middle of December, it will now be open six days a week all year.

The last day to view exhibits at the Lincoln Way location will be Saturday, October 17. The current World War I exhibit will be immediately installed in a newly renovated second-floor area of the MAPS Air Museum.

“This is a perfect match,” Stults says.  “We needed a venue offering more space and less overhead (in building maintenance, utilities, marketing dollars, and volunteer staff time), and MAPS was looking to broaden its scope.”  While the new location won’t add much exhibit space, the storage area will better protect the collections. The Ohio Military Museum, which has operated for 22 years with a volunteer staff, will benefit from the MAPS structure, while its volunteers will still have the opportunity to work with the artifacts that have been donated by families and individuals for nearly a quarter of a century.

The Ohio Military Museum’s 13 permanent displays—12 “Medal of Honor” displays and the “Fallen Feathers” memorial—will continue as permanent exhibits at the new venue. A total of 77 displays rotate on a regular basis. The “Medal of Honor” exhibit includes three medals presented to Massillon men of valor: Robert Pinn (Civil War) and Robert Scott and Harold Epperson (both World War II). Three other Massillon recipients from the Civil War are honored:  William Richardson, George V. Kelley, and William Pittenger. The “Fallen Feathers” memorial, initiated by Graham Webb, displays 281 feathers carved from native Ohio woods by Ohio woodcarvers representing fallen American heroes of Afghanistan and Iraq.

Kim Kovesci, executive director of MAPS, is jubilant about the collaboration. “It’s perfect timing,” he said. “We’ve grown during the past three years, and we’ve handled several of our building and grounds priorities and we’re ready to move upstairs.” That expansion, including elevator access, has been made possible with grant funding from Jack and Joy Timken.

The Ohio Military Museum is moving into a hub of activity. The MAPS mission is to educate the public

[especially children] about the history of aviation and its impact on society. A special mission has been to welcome a corps of retired engineers and aviators who have found a passion for restoring and caring for the 46 aircraft at MAPS. With the tour guides and general volunteers, they contribute 52,000 hours each year to augment the work of the two paid staff.

Upcoming MAPS activities will include a Halloween party with LaFlavour, Portage Lakes Career Center aviation classes, Boy Scout badge weekends, and an event to thank veterans from the 1950 to 1975 Korea and Vietnam era.