Archives and Library

About the Velma B. Erwin Research Room

Carved from a corner of the Massillon Museum’s third floor collections storage area, the Velma B. Erwin Research Room is an efficient and supervised work space for scholars, students, researchers, staff, and community members seeking information from the Museum’s archives. The Museum’s library of art and history reference books will line the adjacent hallway.

The dedicated research area has been possible with a portion of a bequest from Velma B. Erwin, who passed away in March 2010.  A Washington High School and Kent State University graduate, Erwin taught in the Massillon School System—at Longfellow Junior High School and Gorrell Elementary School—for 34 years. Many remember her devotion to Central Presbyterian Church and the Massillon Woman’s Club.

“Velma Erwin dedicated her career to education; she spent much of her leisure time reading and researching. It is fitting that this permanent facility will be her legacy.  With our generous benefactor’s foresight we’ve taken another step forward in our commitment to serving our community.”
— Alexandra Nicholis Coon, Executive Director, Massillon Museum.

The Velma B. Erwin Research Room is open by appointment. To review information and photographs in the Museum archives, contact Museum Archivist Mandy Altimus Stahl via email or by phone at 330-833-4061 x113. 

About the Paul Brown Research Library in Memory of Bob Shiring

The Paul Brown Research Library in Memory of Bob Shiring completed construction in 2020 shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic.  The space, adjacent to the Paul Brown Museum on the second floor of the Massillon Museum, is a dedicated space to Massillon's football heritage.  The Museum partnered with the Massillon Tiger Football Booster Club in 2014 to be the safe guards of this extensive collection of archives and objects dating back to the first Massillon football teams in 1891.  

The space is outfitted with bookshelves that hold the Junie and Dolores Studer Binder Collection that encompasses the entire history of Massillon football, including every player and coach to come through the program; flat file cabinets that hold team photos and other oversized archives; and file cabinets that house a nearly complete set of game programs from 1910s to the present. 

The Paul Brown Research Library in Memory of Bob Shiring is open by appointment. To review information and photographs related to the football history in the Museum archives, contact Curator of Football Heritage Bailey Yoder via email or by phone at 330-833-4061 x116.

About Bob Shiring
Charles Robert "Big Bob" Shiring is considered the greatest center of the pre-NFL era.  He played for the professional championship teams of Homestead, Pennsylvania, in 1901; Pittsburgh Stars in 1902; and Massillon Tigers from 1903 through 1906, including his role as captain of the infamous 1906 season.  Shiring and three of his teammates from the East End Athletic Club were recruited by Tigers manager and Stark County Clerk, Jacob J. Wise, to help Massillon defeat Akron for the Ohio League state championship.  Professional football gained national attention over the next three years, with many of the country's best players joining the loosely affiliated Ohio League.

Using The MassMu Research Spaces

research, archivesThe Massillon Museum will be glad to help you research a topic. The permanent collection contains more than 100,000 objects and archives.

Use of Materials & Fees

You may want to look at our Research Frequently Asked Questions list, many popular requests can be answered here.

Please refer to our fees, rules, and regulations for research requests and appointments. To ask a research question about general Massillon history, please email Archivist Mandy Stahl.  To ask a research question about Massillon's football history please email Curator of Football Heritage Bailey Yoder.

*Due to a high volume of research requests, our research staff will answer your request in the order it was received. Please allow up to 4 weeks for a response. Thank you for your patience.

Archival  Holdings

The Massillon Museum Archives hold more than 17,000 archival documents and 60,000 photographs. Staff and volunteers are continually scanning photographs and documents to make them more accessible. Check back often for online images, inventories, and finding aids.

Click here for available online resources (including scanned pamphlets, inventories, finding aids, oral histories, documentaries, and more).

Click here for available virtual exhibits featuring photographs and archives from the permanent collection.

Audio-Visual Archives

Hundreds of hours of audio and video including oral histories, collections highlights, local home movies, Dr. Immel describing his circus, and more. Some of these archives are available online. Click here for a full list of podcasts.

For film transfers, video tapes, and recently recorded videos, please view our Youtube channel.

Click here for available online resources (including scanned pamphlets, inventories, finding aids, oral histories, documentaries, and more).

Reference Library

Thousands of books from the permanent collection have been processed and added to our database. These include reference books relating to art, furniture, local and state history, rare books, local business publications, unpublished manuscripts, and local family genealogies.

Many of these rare books need extra care. Archivist Mandy Pond is seeking sponsorships for book boxes. To learn more about how you can help, please click here.

Internships in the Archives

The Massillon Museum typically hosts several interns per semester. For a complete list of available internships and projects, please visit the Internships page.

Interesting Finds

To read about interesting finds, upcoming projects, and progress in the collections and archives, please visit our MassMu blog or our blog on the Massillon Independent newspaper page.

Preserving Your Own Objects

To learn more about preserving your historic artifacts, please click here.


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