Massillon Museum Presents First-Hand Stories of Immigrants and Refugees

News Release:  Massillon Museum Presents First-Hand Stories of Immigrants and Refugees

The Massillon Museum will present first-hand immigration stories from the personal experiences of Mexican and Central American refugees and immigrants on Wednesday, March 19,from 3:00 to 4:30 p.m. The discussion is free and open to everyone. No reservations are required.   

The panel will accent this year’s The Big Read book selection, In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez, which describes the oppression in the Dominican Republic under the rule of Rafael Trujillo and the heroism of the Mirabal sisters who worked to combat the despotism of his regime.

Free copies of the book will be offered as long as supplies last.  Books will first be available at The Big Read kick-off on Saturday, March 5, from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. That event is also free and open to the public. The Museum will distribute 1,735 free copies of In the Time of the Butterflies,  along with bookmarks, to local schools, organizations, and individuals. 

Attendees at the first-hand stories event can also see two new main gallery exhibitions—Masters of American Photography and Massillon’s Masters: Highlights from the Fine Art Photography Collection. In the lower level, guests can see an exhibit related to The Big Read, Las Mariposas: The Mirabal Sisters, as well as the Studio M photography exhibition,Growing Season, which tells the story of a migrant worker community in Hartville, Ohio. 

Visit for complete information about the 40 events surrounding The Big Read. Bookmarks listing event details will be available at the Museum.

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. The 2016 project marks the ninth year the National Endowment for the Arts has granted funding for the Massillon Museum’s ambitious participation in The Big Read.    

The Big Read in western Stark County is funded by the NEA, the Women’s Fund Endowment at the Stark Community Foundation, the Massillon/North Canton Elks #2029, and Massillon Rotary Foundation.”    

Local organizations collaborating with the Massillon Museum include:  the Massillon Public Library; Stark Parks (Exploration Gateway); Massillon/North Canton Elks #2029; Immigrant Worker Project-Centro San Jose; All a Flutter Butterflies; Partners Against Trafficking of Humans–Stark, the Artful Living Program; Walsh University and Walsh University Museum Studies Club; AHEAD/SPARK Massillon, Washington High School Drama Department, Washington High School, R.G. Drage, Soroptimist International of Canton/Stark County, the Stark County Convention and Visitors’ Bureau; The Wilderness Center; Anderson’s in the City; North Canton Public Library; Kozmo’s Grille; The Inn at University Village; Stark County Lake Branch Library; Augsburg Lutheran Church-Nuestra Casa;  Lincoln Theatre; Saint Joseph Catholic Church; Mo’ Joes Coffee House and Café Book Club; St. Ives Book Club; La Amistad at Dover Public Library; Ohio State University-ATI; Kent State University; Domestic Violence Project, Inc.; The Barrel Room; Massillon Woman’s Club; and many community volunteers.  

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

The Massillon Museum is located at 121 Lincoln Way East in downtown Massillon. Free parking is available on adjacent streets and in nearby city lots. For more information about The Big Read, call the Massillon Museum at 330-833-4061 or visit or A visit to the Massillon Museum is always free.

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