Massillon Museum Launches The Big Read 2015

News Release:  Massillon Museum Launches The Big Read 2015

The Big Read 2015 in Western Stark County will launch with a special event at the Massillon Museum on Saturday, April 25, from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m.  The event will be free and open to everyone with no reservations. Free copies of this year’s book selection, Old School by Tobias Wolff, will be distributed as long as the supply lasts.  

Representatives from The Big Read partners—Stark Parks, Massillon Public Library, AHEAD, and others—will be on hand with information about their events that relate to The Big Read as well as their regular programming. A new main gallery exhibition, Ludlow Prep, 1929: A Schoolroom Installation by Craig Joseph and Clare Murray Adams—will open concurrently with The Big Read kick-off, as will Old School Days in Western Stark County, school photographs and memorabilia from private collections and the Museum’s permanent collection. 

Anderson’s in the City in the Museum lobby will display Massillon AHEAD: Artworks by Members of the Boys and Girls Club of Massillon Inspired by Old School  from April 25 through May 3.  The artwork will be exhibited at Massillon Public Library from May 5 through May 24.

Also on April 25, Stark Parks will debut its Stark County’s Own Ernest Hemingway exhibit at Exploration Gateway.  The exhibit will feature Pitt Sanders, who, like Hemingway, a character in Old School, was a big game hunter.  Stark Parks will also host the Ready, Set, TYPE Scavenger Hunt throughout The Big Read, April 25 through May 24. 

To enhance understanding of the book, printed readers' guides will be available at the opening only.  Online readers’ guides are available at for downloading and printing at home at other times.  Massillon Public Library staff will be available at The Big Read kick-off to instruct readers about accessing and using the new digital readers' guides.

The Big Read 2015 includes about 30 additional events, nine of which will be book discussions with various leaders held throughout the community.

Gary Spangler will lead a series of handmade book workshops: paper making, bookbinding, calligraphy, and story writing. Diane Gibson will teach an Old School drawing workshop.The “Do the Mu!” theme on May 2 will be typewriter art.  The next day, JoAnn Shade will present a self-publishing workshop.

The Museum’s April Brown Bag Lunch (April 28) will feature a panel of Perry History Club members talking about the history and preservation of Genoa School. 

Massillon Public Library will screen Dead Poets Society as part of The Big Read (May 9). The May ReelMassillon film series screening at the Lincoln Theatre (May 7) will be The Killers, a film noir adaptation by Hemingway of his short story by the same name. The Museum’s Rhythms Roger Hoover concert will reflect how the folk singers has been influenced by literature, particularly works by Hemingway.

The Museum’s traditional collaboration with the Washington High School drama department will feature original one-act plays, inspired by Old School.  Winners of the Massillon Public Library Poetry Contest, announced at the library’s poetry read-in—also an event of The Big Read—will read their poems before the one-act performances. 

As part of The Big Read, the Kent State University MuseLab exhibition, (Non)fiction: Literary Legends Unbound, (April 15, 2015 through January 25, 2016), will explore the three visiting authors highlighted in Old School: Ayn Rand, Robert Frost, and Ernest Hemingway.

Two tours are part of The Big Read schedule. Stark Parks will host a School-to-School Bike Ride on May 16; the next day, the Massillon Museum will host a self-guided driving tour of one- and two-room schoolhouses in Western Stark County.

The grand finale of The Big Read will be the keynote address by Old School author Tobias Wolff at the Lincoln Theatre on May 21. “This is the first time The Big Read in Western Stark County has featured a book by a living author, so this will be the first time we’ve been able to present this wonderful opportunity to our community,” said Museum Education and Outreach Coordinator Heather Haden, who coordinates The Big Read.  Kent State University at Stark will sponsor this special evening.

Visit for complete information about the events. Bookmarks listing event details will be distributed with books at the kick-off event. [A complete list is included at the end of this release.]

The Museum will distribute 1,500 free copies of Old School, along with bookmarks, to local schools, organizations, and individuals. The Museum has been selected to participate in The Big Read since the second year of the national program.  During the first seven seasons of The Big Read in Western Stark County, the Museum distributed thousands of free books (The Call of the Wild, The Age of Innocence, The Shawl, Tom Sawyer, The Short Stories and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Fahrenheit 451).

The Big Read, the largest federal literature program since the W.P.A., is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) designed to restore reading to the center of American culture. The NEA presents The Big Read in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services; the program is managed by Arts Midwest. The Big Read brings together partners across the country to encourage reading for pleasure and enlightenment.  Individual communities may choose from among two dozen book selections from American and world literature.   

Massillon is one of only 77 communities nationally to secure the program for the 2014–2015 grant cycle. It is the only Ohio institution to receive a share of the $1,012,500 funding during this grant cycle.

The Big Read answers a big need. "Reading at Risk: A Survey of Literary Reading in America," a 2004 report by the National Endowment for the Arts, found that not only is literary reading in America declining rapidly among all groups, but that the rate of decline has accelerated, especially among the young.

The Big Read aims to address this crisis squarely and effectively. It provides citizens with the opportunity to read and discuss a single book within their communities. The Big Read supports organizations across the country in developing community-wide reading programs which encourage reading and participation by diverse audiences. Organizations selected to participate in The Big Read receive a grant, access to online training resources and opportunities, and educational and promotional materials designed to support widespread community involvement. Participating communities receive high-quality, free-of-charge educational materials to supplement their selected titles, which also are available for download on  

The 2015 project marks the eighth year the National Endowment for the Arts has granted funding for the Massillon Museum’s ambitious participation in The Big Read. “The Massillon Museum sought this eighth NEA grant to help us continue to engage the community in an activity that everyone can enjoy together. We’re thrilled with the enthusiastic collaboration of individuals and organizations within western Stark County,” said Massillon Museum Executive Director Alexandra Nicholis Coon.   

Local organizations and individuals collaborating with the Massillon Museum include: Massillon Public Library; Stark Parks; Kent State University and Kent State University at Stark; Massillon/North Canton Elks #2029; Rotary Club of Massillon; the Massillon Area Chamber of Commerce; Washington High School Drama Department; the Stark County Convention and Visitors’ Bureau; and many community volunteers.  

The Massillon Museum receives operating support from the Ohio Arts Council and ArtsinStark to augment its primary local funding.

For more information about The Big Read, call the Massillon Museum at 330-833-4061 or visit or

Media Contacts:

Scot Phillips -  Massillon Museum Operations Officer  -  330-833-4061

Heather Haden -  Massillon Museum Education and Outreach Coordinator / The Big Read Coordinator  -  330-833-4061

Margy Vogt  -  Massillon Museum PR Coordinator  -  330-844-1525


Tuesday, March 24  •  12:10–12:50 pm  •  @MassMu

MassMu Brown Bag Lunch:  

Author David Giffels: “The Hard Way on Purpose”


Wednesday, April 15  •  6:00–8:00 pm  •  Exhibit through 1/26/16

(Non)fiction: Literary Legends Unbound

MuseLab  •  Kent State Main Campus Library, Third Floor


Saturday, April 25  •  3:00–5:00 pm  •  @MassMu

The Big Read Kick Off and Book Give-Away 

Meet The Big Read partners 

Massillon Public Library assistance with digital book guides


Saturday, April 25  •  3:00–5:00 pm  •  @MassMu

Ludlow Prep Exhibition Opening

Exhibit through 5/24/15

Old School Days in Western Stark County Exhibition Opening  

Exhibit through 5/24/15

Massillon AHEAD: Artwork by Member of the Boys and Girls Club of Massillon Inspired by Old School

Through 5/3/15  •  Exhibit at Massillon Public Library 5/5–5/24/15


Saturday, April 25  •  @Various Stark Parks locations

Ready, Set, TYPE Scavenger Hunt  •  Through 5/24


Saturday, April 25  •  @Exploration Gateway  •  Through 5/24

Stark County’s Own Ernest Hemingway Exhibition


Tuesday, April 28  •  12:10–12:50 pm  •  @MassMu

MassMu Brown Bag Lunch:  

Perry History Club Panel—Genoa School


Tuesdays, April 28/May 5,12,19  •  5:30–7:00 pm  •  @MassMu

Handmade Books with Gary Spangler (Series / Single Workshops)*

All ages  •  1st session (4/28):  Paper Making


Tuesday, April 28  •  6:30 pm  •  @Massillon Public Library 

National Library Month Poetry Read-In


Wednesday, April 29  •  7:00 pm  •  @Washington High School

One-Act Plays and Poetry Reading

Original plays inspired by Old School 

performed by Struts and Frets Drama Club

Poems by Massillon Public Library poetry contest winners 


Thursday, April 30  •  5:00–6:00 pm  •  @MassMu

Book Discussion with Heather Haden 


Thursday, April 30  •  5:30–6:30 pm  •  @Kent State University at Stark

Book Discussion with Mary Rooks


Saturday, May 2  •  12:00–2:00 pm  •  @MassMu  •  All ages

Do the Mu—Typewriter Art  


Sunday, May 3  •  2:30–4:30 pm  •  @ MassMu  •  18 & older

Self-Publishing Workshop with JoAnn Shade*


Monday, May 4  •  12:00–1:00 pm  •  @Anderson’s in the City

Book Discussion with Sherie Brown


Tuesday, May 5  •  5:30–7:00 pm  •  @MassMu  •  All ages

Bookbinding with Gary Spangler* (2nd in series)


Wednesday, May 6  •  6:00 pm  •  @Kozmo’s Grille

Book Discussion with David Harding


Thursday, May 7  •  6:00 pm  •  @Gallery 121

Book Discussion with Gwendolyn Kiste


Thursday, May 7  •  7:00 pm  •  @Lincoln Theatre

ReelMassillon: The Killers*   


Saturday, May 9  •  11:00 am–1:00 pm  •  @Whittier Elementary

Old School Drawing Workshop with Diane Gibson*


Saturday, May 9  •  2:00 pm  •  @Massillon Public Library

Film Screening: Dead Poets Society


Tuesday, May 12  •  5:30–7:00 pm  •  @MassMu   •  All ages

Calligraphy with Gary Spangler* (3rd in series)


Wednesday, May 13  •  2:00–3:30 pm  •  @Massillon Public Library

Book Discussion with Massillon Public Library Staff


Thursday, March 14  •  7:30 Doors/8:00 Concert  •  @MassMu

Rhythms Concert:  Roger Hoover*

Singer-songwriter in the tradition of folk, Americana & blues


Saturday, May 16  •  1:00–4:00 pm  •  BYOBike (and helmet!)

School-to-School Bike Ride at Stark Parks

@ Middle Branch Trail, Schneider Park Trailhead  •


Sunday, May 17  •  2:00–6:00 pm  •  Pick up “report card” @MassMu

One- and Two-Room Schoolhouses: Self-Guided Driving Tour


Tuesday, May 19  •  5:30–7:00 pm  •  @MassMu  •  All ages

Story Writing with Gary Spangler*


Thursday, May 21  •  Doors 6:30/Program 7:00 pm  •  @Lincoln Theatre

Tobias Wolff Keynote Address with Q&A

Sponsored by Kent State University Stark


Saturday, May 23  •  12:00–1:00 pm  •  @MassMu

Poetry-themed Book Discussion with David Harding



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