Situated in northeast Ohio, Canton is a friendly city that is renowned for its Pro Football Hall of Fame, which honors National Football League players through a variety of outstanding permanent and traveling exhibitions. Canton, OH and the surrounding region boast a wealth of attractions and activities for the whole family. Top attractions include the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the domed William McKinley Tomb, and the McKinley Presidential Library and Museum. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.
1.The National First Ladies' Library, Canton, OH
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Founded by Mary Regula, wife of former US Representative Ralph Regula, in 1995, the National First Ladies' Library is an organization dedicated to educating visitors about the important role of the first ladies of the United States and their vital contributions throughout history. The National First Ladies’ Library consists of the Ida Saxton McKinley House and the Education and Research Center, which features a modern exhibit space, a research library, a beautifully preserved 91-seat Victorian theatre where films about the first ladies are shown, archival storage and processing rooms, and administrative offices. The Saxton-McKinley House was the family home of President William McKinley 's wife, Ida, and is historically significant as being the only residence with direct historical ties to President William McKinley remaining in his hometown of Canton.
331 S. Market Ave. Canton, OH 44702, Phone: 330-452-0876
2. Pro Football Hall of Fame, Canton, Ohio
© Pro Football Hall of Fame
The Pro Football Hall of Fame honors the top players in professional American football. Established in Canton, the birthplace of the National Football League, in 1920, the hall of fame has grown from a 19,000-foot, two-room building to the 82,307-square-foot structure it is today, which features a GameDay Stadium and a 20’ by 42’ Cinemascope screen that shows NFL films. The Pro Football Hall of Fame chronicles the history of professional American football and showcases the sport’s top players, of which there are currently 310 inductees. Visitors can explore the hall of fame alone or join a guided tour, which is led by experts in the field who share fascinating facts, figures, and anecdotes about the players and the game.
2121 George Halas Drive NW, Canton, OH 44708, Phone: 330-456-8207
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3. Blue Water Majesty Museum, Canton, Ohio
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The Blue Water Majesty Museum is a small home-based museum that features the intricate and impressive work of Larry Pulca, who creates handmade, museum-quality bone and wooden model ships. One of only a dozen master artists who build model ships exclusively from exotic woods, such as African mahogany, ebony, and Jatoba, Larry Pulca has been building model ships for more than 30 years. Ships are made to exact scale from copies of the original blueprints, which he purchases from reputable institutions such as the Smithsonian, with construction beginning from the keel with as many as 150,000 hand-made pieces. Model ships in the museum include replicas of The Rattlesnake, The Constitution, and a frigate. Group tours of the museum can be arranged.
2810 Columbus Rd NE, Canton, OH 44705, Phone: 330-452-4330
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4.Amateur Sports Hall of Fame, Canton, Ohio
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The Amateur Sports Hall of Fame is a local hall of fame that celebrates and honors the heroes of local football and a variety of other sports, including basketball, billiards, bowling, swimming, and wrestling. One of Canton's best-kept secrets, the museum is based in an historic mansion at 1414 Market Avenue N that dates back to 1908, which features three floors of exhibitions and displays showcasing memorabilia, sports equipment used by local amateur athletes, photographs, items, and other sports-related objects. The museum is home to the game-day gear of hometown hero and former New York Yankee Thurman Munson, along with any other interesting facts, figures, and exhibits about local sporting heroes.
1414 Market Ave N, Canton, OH 44714, Phone: 330-453-1552
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5. Canton Classic Car Museum, Canton, Ohio
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The Canton Classic Car Museum is dedicated to exhibiting rare and unusual classic and vintage automobiles. Established by Marshall Belden, Sr. in 1978, the museum features over 40 beautifully preserved classic cars, including a 1901 curved-dash Oldsmobile, a 1911 Model T Ford, a 1966 Ford Mustang, and 1970 Plymouth Super Bird. The museum also showcases an array of memorabilia, car-related items and objects, vintage toys, historical photographs and movie posters, and other automobilia relating to some of the world’s most famous and beautiful cars. A large gift shop sells a variety of souvenirs, clothing, merchandise, games, toys, and model cars and is open during museum hours.
123 6th St SW, Canton, OH 44702, Phone: 330-455-3603
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6. Canton Museum of Art, Canton, Ohio
© Canton Museum of Art
The Canton Museum of Art is an open community arts organization dedicated to encouraging, inspiring, and promoting fine arts in the city. Established in 1935, the Canton Museum of Art is located in the beautiful complex of the Cultural Center for the Arts in downtown Canton and houses a permanent collection of works that focus on 20th and 21st century American art as well as contemporary ceramics. The Canton Museum of Art also offers a range of educational programs, art classes, workshops, and lectures throughout the year, and hosts special art-related events such as family days and the ever-popular Christkindl Markt during the holidays.
1001 Market Ave N, Canton, OH 44702, Phone: 330-453-7666
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7.Harry London Candies, Canton, Ohio
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Harry London Candies, Inc. is a confectionary store and factory that produces and sells high-quality chocolate products, caramels, mints, and toffees. Based in North Canton, the company offers free tours where visitors can learn about the history of Harry London, explore the facility and watch how chocolate and other sweets are made, and sample some delicious chocolate and handmade gelato. The tour begins with a short film and a walkthrough timeline showcasing the history of Harry London and how they have grown from humble beginnings into a large international company. The tour ends with sweet treats and samplings and tastes of chocolates, caramels, and mouthwatering gelato.
5353 Lauby Rd, North Canton, OH 44720, Phone: 330-494-0833
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8.Historic Zoar Village, Canton, Ohio
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The Historic Zoar Village is a quaint village that is famous for being one of the most successful communal settlements in American history. Established in 1817 by a group of German religious separatists, who were looking to escape religious persecution in their homeland, Zoar Village is a living example of how a community can build itself into a unique society and thrive for more than 100 years. The historic village is home to beautifully preserved houses, museums, theaters, wineries, and other buildings that showcase early American architecture and are surrounded by rural village scenery. Tours of the Historic Zoar Village explore the history, culture, art, and design of the iconic village, and there are plenty of other activities to enjoy such as shopping, wine tasting, theater performances, and more.
The Zoar Store & Visitor’s Center, 198 Main Street, Zoar, OH 44697, Phone: 330-874-3011
9.Jackson Bog State Nature Preserve, Canton, Ohio
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The Jackson Bog State Nature Preserve, also known as the Jackson Bog, is a 58-acre nature reserve located in northern Stark County that is home to more than 20 state-listed rare plants. The Jackson Bog State Nature Preserve features several artesian springs and seeps created by groundwater from glaciers that advanced into Ohio more than a million years ago. Jackson Bog is a fen or a wet prairie and is home to several populations of flowering and carnivorous plants, including the shrubby cinquefoil and the northern pitcher plant as well as rushes, sedges, and many species of migrating songbirds and waterfowl.
7984 Fulton Drive NW, Massillon, OH 44646, Phone: 614-265-6561
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10. Things to Do in Canton, Ohio: MAPS Air Museum
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The MAPS Air Museum is dedicated to inspiring and educating visitors about the history of military aviation. Located on the west side of the Akron-Canton Regional Airport in Green, Ohio, in a former US Air National Guard hangar, the museum is managed by the Military Aviation Preservation Society and features a variety of aircraft on display, including an F-14 Tomcat, a MiG-17, an F-11 Tiger, and an F-4 Phantom. In addition to the airplanes, the museum also has a Goodyear blimp, three helicopters, and the gondola from the Spirit of Akron, along with a collection of rare artifacts. The MAPS Air Museum also boasts a display room called the Gallery of Heroes, which showcases period items and detailed models of aircraft from various wars.
2260 International Pkwy, North Canton, OH 44720, Phone: 330-896-6332
11.McKinley Presidential Library and Museum, Canton, Ohio
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The William McKinley Presidential Library and Museum is the presidential library of the 25th President of the United States, William McKinley. Owned and operated by the Stark County Historical Society, the library and museum chronicles the life and career of William McKinley and how he built his career as a lawyer and prosecuting attorney and later as a congressman, governor, and then the president of the country. The museum is home to the most significant collection of McKinley artifacts in the world and has a modern science center with fossils and wildlife as well as a planetarium show. The museum also features displays of other objects and items about the surrounding city of Canton.
800 Mc Kinley Monument Drive NW, Canton, OH 44708, Phone: 330-455-7043
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12.The Canton Brewing Company, Canton, Ohio
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The Canton Brewing Company was the first brewery to open in Canton. Founded by Bavarian-born Otto Giessen in 1883, the Canton Brewing Company was built with a strong focus on Canton’s fascinating local brewing history and today produces three core beers and a selection of seasonal and rotational beers as well as barrel-aged and limited release beers. The brewery hosts a variety of events each month, from live music and paint nights to yoga classes and quarterly beer dinners, and visitors can enjoy guided tours of the brewery with samplings of the eight beers on tap, which include Tuscora Pilsner, Tiny Tusc Kolsch, Spiced Saison, Cascade Pale Ale, Red Wine Barrel Aged Apella Belgian Strong Dark, DIPA: A Double IPA, and Carpe Noctem Coffee Porter.
120 3rd St NW, Canton, OH 44702, Phone: 330-409-0343
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13.Things to Do in Canton, Ohio: Canton Airsports
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Canton Airsports is an adventure company that offers tandem skydives and complete skydiving courses for all levels from beginners to advanced. One of the oldest skydiving schools in the world and conveniently located at the Barber Airport just 3 miles north of Alliance, Canton Airsports has been taking people to the sky for more than 44 years with an outstanding team of professional United States Parachute Association (USPA) certified skydiving instructional staff.
The head office, classroom, hangar, and parachute-rigging loft are located next to the large open drop zone at Barber Airport, and free camping is provided near the drop zone for those guests not wanting to stay in a hotel, of which there plenty nearby.
14008 Union Ave NE, Alliance, OH 44601, Phone: 330-823-0370
14.Things to Do in Canton, Ohio: Canton Food Tours
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Canton Food Tours offers a fun and foodie way to explore Canton with an array of walking and van-based tours around the city. Catering for groups of six people or more, Canton Food Tours explore Canton and the surrounding areas while sampling some of the best food and drinks on stops along the way. Public and private tours are available, and customized tours for specific events can be arranged. Tours include an Afternoon Hall of Fame City Tour, an Evening Hall of Fame City Tour, and a Canton Underworld Experience Tour, all of which are led by passionate and experienced guides who share their love of food and the city with guests.
555 Market Ave N, Canton, OH 44702, Phone: 330-495-0929
15.Beech Creek Gardens
There’s something ethereal about a visit to Beech Creek Gardens, a botanical garden and nature preserved known and loved for its seasonal butterfly house. At this garden and preserve, guests can gain more appreciation for butterflies and learn just how essential they are to Mother Nature. Beech Creek Gardens has several features to help visitors learn about a butterfly’s stages of life like The Caterpillar Nursery and The Amazing Garden Plant Science Center. There is also a beautiful encloser to step into with native butterflies, moths, and skippers flying around or resting on the many kinds of plants they call their home. In addition to this, there are also four hiking trails to walk through and a sensory garden to experience.
11929 Beech Street NE, Alliance, Ohio 44601, Phone: 330-829-7050
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16.Canton Palace Theatre
© Canton Palace Theatre
Located in Downtown Canton, a visit to the Canton Palace Theatre is a fantastic way to step into the vintage past, and an equally amazing way to celebrate just how long the theatre’s legacy has been preserved in the present. Until this day, Canton Place still maintains its original and historic structural integrity. While the theatre is certainly a place to enjoy spectacular entertainment, it also partners with like-minded associations to persevere in its mission of presenting cultural and educational experiences to its local community. Those taking a trip to the theatre can look forward to a concession stand that offers a full range of classic snacks such as popcorn, nachos, candies, and various beverages. At special events, the theatre also offers mixed beverages, wine, and beer.
605 Market Avenue North, Canton, Ohio 44702, Phone: 330-454-8172
17.Clay’s Park Resort
© Clay’s Park Resort
Just a short drive from Canton is the 500-acre large wonderland known as Clay’s Park Resort. Perfect for families to enjoy together, the resort is a spectacular place to enjoy the great outdoors, soak up some sun, or even get some peace and quiet amidst nature. One of the most popular features of Clay’s Park Resort is the Adventure Waterpark which is home to twin 150-foot Wet Willie Water slides, rental canoes and kayaks, and a great white sand volleyball court. When you’re done soaking up some sun at the waterpark, the resort also has an 18-hole mini-golf course, dual zip lines, and a full-service campground and RV park. As if that wasn’t enough, the resort also offers glamping tents for those who don’t quite want to rough it yet, cabins for rent, fishing opportunities at the lake, and a good deal of trails to walk or bike on.
13190 Patterson Street NW, North Lawrence, Ohio 44666, Phone: 330-854-6691
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18.Hoover Historical Center
© Hoover Historical Center
Located in the beautiful childhood home of Boss Hoover, the Hoover Historical Center celebrates and proudly conserves the storied history of the Hoover Company. Famous for having revolutionized floorcare across the nation with the beloved Hoover vacuums that so many homemakers have used over the years, the Hoover Historical Center is home to displays and exhibits that tell the company’s stories. At this small but beautifully curated museum, visitors can learn about the way the Hoover Company impacted the communities around it, how families benefited from its innovations, and even how the company helped change the flow of World War II through its exemplary war production efforts.
1875 E. Maple Street, Walsh University Hoover Park, North Canton, Ohio 44720, Phone: 330-490-7435
19.Funtimes Fun Park
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Make amazing memories and spend quality time with loved ones at Funtimes Fun Park, a family entertainment center that is just a stone’s throw from Canton. There are several kinds of trip packages available for families coming to the park, meant to help them make the most of the many features that Funtimes has to offer. Test your accuracy and baseball prowess at the batting cages, satisfy a need for speed with the go-karts, or just see how good your aim is at the miniature golf course. Then again, if an adrenaline rush is more of what you’re looking for, the park is also home to a Tilt-A-Whirl and the Serial Serpent family rollercoaster. For your little ones, the park offers a spin on an interactive train car or a ride on the Musik Express.
12175 State Street NE, Alliance, Ohio 44601, Phone: 330-823-3933
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20.Julliard Arts Center and 3rd Space Gallery
© Julliard Arts Center and 3rd Space Gallery
There is a budding art community in Canton, and one of the best places to experience it and see what local artists have to offer is at the 3rd Space Gallery. What’s great about this gallery is that it frequently features the work of up-and-coming artists such as those of their students. For example, handcrafted jewelry made from rock and fused glass has been exhibited in the past, while handcrafted bags are always available for viewing and purchasing. Meanwhile, the gallery is also home to the Julliard Arts Center which offers several workshops like the Mini Balsa Wood Lantern Workshop, as well as classes that teach about famous artists and their works.
600 Market Avenue N, Canton, Ohio 44702, Phone: 330-754-6604
© George’s Lounge
There’s no denying that George’s Lounge is a benchmark of downtown Canton’s culinary scene. Established in 1959, George’s is the second oldest continually operating bar in the area and is also a founding member of the Canton Historic Music Block that it calls home. What makes George’s Lounge so famous, however, are its burgers, which are largely recognized as the best burgers in Canton. They’re so good, they’re practically considered art, and they come in five delectable variations: the Big O’Nesto, the King George, the Blue Ribbon Burger, the Gorgeous George, and the Rockin’ Chicken Waffle. If you think you’ve got the chops for it, George’s Lounge is also home to an epic eating challenge known as George’s Hall of Famer. Included in this behemoth of a food challenge are triple Gorgeous George burgers, huge hand-cut fries, and a delicious milkshake.
229 Cleveland Avenue NW, Canton, Ohio 44702, Phone: 330-452-0029
22.Buzzbin Art and Music Shop
© Buzzbin Art and Music Shop
If there’s one thing that the Buzzbin Art and Music Shop knows and does well, it’s live music entertainment, and its membership to the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA), is a testament to this. Buzzbin sees over 1,000 touring bands in the span of a year, hosts 3 live shows of bands from various genres 3 times a week, and gives tons of people the perfect place to have a good time and a drink to unwind. While you’re enjoying great tunes, grab a delicious bite to eat with the Buzzbin’s Canton Low Life Food Menu which promises a satisfying menu to appeal to any appetite. The shop also offers an in-house beer cheese, and a spectacular Buffalo Chicken Dip to go with your choice of veggies or pretzels.
331 Cleveland Avenue NW, Canton, Ohio 44702, Phone: 330-327-6265
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23.Sky Zone Belden Village
Fly as high as you possibly can at the Sky Zone Trampoline Park, one of the most adrenaline-pumping attractions that visitors to Canton, Ohio will find. There’s nothing typical about this trampoline park, which is home to several attractions that are nothing short of fun. While Sky Zone does have the typical long and wide track trampolines for massive aerial wall-to-wall action, there are also unique features like the Trapeze and Swing, which launches you up in the air and right into a foam pit. The park also has an epic trampoline dodgeball court, a silks section for people looking to unleash their inner aerial artist skills, a parkour block, the Sky Slam basketball trampoline court, and the fidgety and challenging Sky Ladder zone.
4381 Whipple Avenue NW, Canton, Ohio 44718, Phone: 330-538-8300
24.Cherry Road Winery
© Cherry Road Winery
It’s one thing to make wine well, but it’s another thing entirely to be in love with it. At the Cherry Road Winery, it’s abundantly clear that the owners have a deep love for wine and what they do, especially since it is their mission to deliver quality wines in a space that is cozy and inviting to people from all walks of life. It’s clear that the winery wants to stick to making wine that they would love to drink on a regular basis. As the owners are partial to sweeter wines, the winery features a range of reds and whites as well as one rose, all of which range from semi-dry and sweet variations. Their signature wines, Only Happy + In Ohio, are a testament to the happy locals and sweet grapes of the state. Only Happy is a red wind that features a blend of Niagara and Concord grapes has a sweet finish. Meanwhile, In Ohio is the winery’s sweetest white wine and is perfect for individuals who love a good Moscato.
1133 27th Street NW, Massillon, Ohio 44647, Phone: 330-265-5830
25 Best Things to Do in Canton, Ohio
- The National First Ladies' Library, Canton, OH, Photo: Courtesy of Zack Frank - Fotolia.com
- Pro Football Hall of Fame, Canton, Ohio, Photo: Pro Football Hall of Fame
- Blue Water Majesty Museum, Canton, Ohio, Photo: Courtesy of Unclesam - Fotolia.com
- Amateur Sports Hall of Fame, Canton, Ohio, Photo: Courtesy of nikkytok - Fotolia.com
- Canton Classic Car Museum, Canton, Ohio, Photo: Courtesy of Nikolai Sorokin - Fotolia.com
- Canton Museum of Art, Canton, Ohio, Photo: Canton Museum of Art
- Harry London Candies, Canton, Ohio, Photo: Courtesy of Jiri Hera - Fotolia.com
- Historic Zoar Village, Canton, Ohio, Photo: Historic Zoar Village
- Jackson Bog State Nature Preserve, Canton, Ohio, Photo: Courtesy of Zack Frank - Fotolia.com
- Things to Do in Canton, Ohio: MAPS Air Museum, Photo: MAPS Air Museum
- McKinley Presidential Library and Museum, Canton, Ohio, Photo: Courtesy of Zack Frank - Fotolia.com
- The Canton Brewing Company, Canton, Ohio, Photo: The Canton Brewing Company
- Things to Do in Canton, Ohio: Canton Airsports, Photo: Courtesy of Fotolia.com
- Things to Do in Canton, Ohio: Canton Food Tours, Photo: Courtesy of mateusz - Fotolia.com
- Beech Creek Gardens, Photo: mramsdell1967/stock.adobe.com
- Canton Palace Theatre, Photo: Canton Palace Theatre
- Clay’s Park Resort, Photo: Clay’s Park Resort
- Hoover Historical Center, Photo: Hoover Historical Center
- Funtimes Fun Park, Photo: Andrey Armyagov/stock.adobe.com
- Julliard Arts Center and 3rd Space Gallery, Photo: Julliard Arts Center and 3rd Space Gallery
- George’s Lounge, Photo: George’s Lounge
- Buzzbin Art and Music Shop, Photo: Buzzbin Art and Music Shop
- Sky Zone Belden Village, Photo: ROTEM/stock.adobe.com
- Cherry Road Winery, Photo: Cherry Road Winery
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of Jesse Kunerth - Fotolia.com
Attraction Spotlight: Canton Museum of Art
Located in Canton, Ohio, the Canton Museum of Art is a community arts organization dedicated to the promotion of the fine arts, offering a variety of public exhibits and educational event programming. The Canton Museum of Art emerged out of the city’s Little Civic Art Gallery, which was founded as a public gallery space on the second floor of the Canton Public Library in 1935.
Throughout the following decade, the gallery became a popular cultural destination within the city of Canton, and by 1941, the organization was in need of a larger facility to house its collections and accommodate visitors. After the gallery moved into its new facility later that year at the historic Frank E. Case Mansion, it was rebranded as the Canton Art Institute.
Following a grant acquired from the Timken Foundation in 1969, the city of Canton began construction on a new multi-organization arts facility called the Cultural Center for the Arts, which opened to the public the following year. After becoming part of the Center in 1971, the CAI implemented a variety of expanded public programming, including a humanities program for in-school programming, and partnered with a number of other area arts organizations, including the Players’ Guild Theatre and the Potter’s Guild. In 1989, as a result of reorganization within the museum’s board of trustees, the CAI’s mission with regard to its permanent collections was refocused, centering on 19th and 20th century American pottery works and works on paper. In 1995, the museum’s name was changed to the Canton Museum of Art.
Permanent Exhibits and Collections
Today, the Canton Museum of Art serves as one of Ohio’s premiere art museums, offering a variety of community-based programming meant to spread public awareness and appreciation of the fine arts, including gallery exhibits and public educational programming. The museum is a fully-accredited American Alliance of Museums facility and is supported in part by the Ohio Arts Council and Stark County’s ArtsInStark partnership. As a part of ArtsInStark’s 330,000-square-foot Cultural Center for the Arts building, which is architecturally connected to the city’s Civic Center, the CMA partners with a number of other regional arts organizations to present its annual programming, including the Canton HeART Guild, the Canton Artists League, and Canton Fine Arts Associates.
Since 1989, the museum’s permanent collections have focused on 19th and 20th century American watercolors, ceramics, and works on paper, which have been supplemented in recent years by sizeable donations from Cleveland School member August Biehle and Columbus, Ohio modernist artist Alice Schille. Works from permanent collections are showcased as part of temporary exhibitions, which are rotated several times throughout the year. Up to 15 exhibitions are showcased annually, including a main exhibition focusing on a central theme or artist’s body of work, along with two smaller exhibitions featuring the works of regional artists and a complementary themed permanent collection exhibition. Past exhibitions on display include Tom Bartel’s Dark Forms, Jack McWhorter’s Engraved Fields, and Elijah Pierce’s An American Journey, as well as the permanent collection showcase African American Masterpieces and Helmets: Evolution of the Game, an exhibit presented in conjunction with the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
In addition to gallery exhibits, the CMA’s Artist Boutique offers a wide variety of curated products for purchase, including many artisan works by local Ohio artists, crafters, and manufacturers. Hundreds of handcrafted items are offered, including apparel, jewelry, ceramics, home goods, and gift items. Featured artists include Cleveland Street, Diann Adams Ceramics, Paper Acorn, Lost Lust Supply, the Little Chicago Clothing Company, and Sweet Bean Chocolates.
Ongoing Programs and Education
Gallery tours of the CMA are offered for small groups and organizations, including curriculum-incorporated tours for elementary and secondary school groups. Arts Experience workshops are also offered, adding on 45-minute art sessions after guided tour experiences. A Museum-to-Go program also brings art activities and virtual exhibits directly into the classroom, while online educator resources and an @CantonMuseum magazine are provided to direct community members to further arts education opportunities.
A wide variety of public programming is offered at the CMA, including Artists Studio courses for students of all ages and skill levels. Courses offered include drawing, jewelry, ceramics, printmaking, and photography courses, as well as an Art for Health and Healing series, a Pottery Badge program for scouting groups, and a My First Art Class for young artists and families. A Summer Art Camp offers hands-on art activities for youth, while Homeschool Day events provide periodic educational opportunities for homeschoolers. Other educational special events include CMA Uncorked painting events and STEM-focused Science and Art Play Dates. Annual public special events at the museum and the Cultural Center for the Arts includes a May Ceramic Show and Sale, a gARTen annual fundraiser, an Art After Dark Halloween costume party, a holiday Christkindl Markt, and an annual art exhibition of works by Stark County high school students.
1001 Market Ave N, Canton, OH, Phone: 330-453-7666
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Attraction Spotlight: Pro Football Hall of Fame
Located in Canton, Ohio, the Pro Football Hall of Fame honors professional American football players with an annual induction ceremony, museum exhibits, and public special event programming related to the history of the sport. The National Football League, originally known as the American Professional Football Association, was founded in 1920 in Canton.
Following the organization’s success as a major American sporting association, the Canton community lobbied throughout the late 1950s and early 1960s to have the Association’s Hall of Fame facility constructed in its birthplace city. In 1962, ground was broken on a 19,000-square-foot museum facility, which featured two exhibit rooms at its opening later that year. Expansions to the facility were made in 1971 at a cost of $620,000, increasing the museum’s size to 34,000 square feet and adding a pro shop to the facility. Additional expansions were made in 1978, 1995, and 2013, bringing the museum’s total size up to 118,000 square feet by 2018. A future $800,000 expansion project, the Johnson Controls Hall of Fame Village, is slated for 2020 to coincide with the centennial celebration for the National Football League.
Permanent Exhibits and Collections
Today, the Pro Football Hall of Fame serves as the official hall of fame and museum facility for the National Football League and professional American football, honoring notable players, coaches, franchise owners, and staff within the sport. Four to eight new inductees are welcomed into the Hall of Fame every year, with 318 notable figures having been inducted as of 2018. As a museum organization and honor hall, the Hall of Fame strives to honor the history and exceptional figures within American football and preserve the game’s legacy and values for future generations of American football fans.
Annual enshrinees are honored with a formal enshrinement ceremony, held during the first full weekend in August in conjunction with a weeklong celebration at the museum. Notable past inductees include Dallas Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman, Pittsburgh Steelers halfback Jerome Bettis, Emmy Award-winning Monday Night Football anchor Frank Gifford, American Football League co-founder Lamar Hunt, Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi, and San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Jerry Rice. Recent inductees include noted wide receivers Terrell Owens and Randy Moss. All inductees have made significant contributions to the National and American Football Leagues and the All-America Football Conference, though several enshrinees also have ties to the Canadian Football League and the World Football League. The Chicago Bears are the Hall of Fame’s most-honored team, with a total of 34 enshrinees connected to the team.
Museum exhibits at the Hall of Fame focus on the lives and careers of past enshrinees, along with historical exhibits related to the development of professional American football. A Hall of Fame Gallery is presented, showcasing bronze busts of all past enshrinees. A holographic Game For Life theater offers multisensory experiences with holographic representations of past enshrinees, including Joe Namath and George Halas. The museum is also the home of the Black College Football Hall of Fame, which honors exemplary collegiate football players from historically African-American colleges throughout the United States.
The museum’s Ralph Wilson, Jr. Pro Football Research and Preservation Center archives more than 40 million historic documents related to the history of American football, along with six million photographic images and a repository of 30,000 additional artifacts not on display in exhibits. The Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium seats 23,000 spectators and hosts Malone University, Walsh University, and McKinley High School football games and Hall of Fame enshrinement week celebration events, as well as major national touring concerts and live performances. The planned centennial expansion Hall of Fame Village will include a National Youth Football and Sports Complex with eight state-of-the-art turf fields and a 345,000-square-foot Hall of Fame Hotel with a farm-to-table restaurant, retail space, and a conference and business center. Other planned expansions include a Hall of Fame Promenade, a Center for Excellence hosting a coaches’ university, a Player Care Center, a Hall of Fame Experience amusement park and waterpark, and a Performance Center with an indoor 100-yard football field and basketball arena.
Ongoing Programs and Education
A wide variety of youth and educational programming is presented by the Hall of Fame, including an award-winning field trip program that includes post-visit classroom activities and incorporates National Standards of Education, including Common Core standards. Annual educational and youth programs include a Get Fit Hall of Fame Training Camp program, a Heart of a Hall of Famer series, and a Play Football Skills Camp. Public special events held as part of the Hall of Fame enshrinement week celebration include a Hall of Fame Game and a Concert for Legends. Other major annual special events at the museum include the World Youth Football Championships, which bring more than 1,700 young athletes from 70 teams across North America to the complex’s stadium for a tournament event, and a Black History Month program focusing on the African-American experience in professional football.
2121 George Halas Dr NW, Canton, OH 44708, Phone: 330-456-8207
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Attraction Spotlight: Canton Classic Car Museum
Located in Canton, Ohio, the Canton Classic Car Museum showcases a variety of automobile industry memorabilia, including classic cars, historic photography, and vintage transportation-related toys. The building that now houses the Canton Classic Car Museum was constructed around the turn of the century by local resident George Monnot.
In 1914, following the construction of the nearby Lincoln Highway, Monnot converted the building into a 24-hour travel service stop serving cross-country drivers. After reaching out to car entrepreneur Henry Ford about the construction of a Ford Model T vehicle, Monnot’s travel service stop extended its operations to encompass a Ford Motors dealership, which eventually became the largest Ford dealership in the United States. In 1978, Monnot’s travel service stop and dealership were purchased by Marshall Belden, Sr. for the purposes of creating a museum dedicated to the history of the automobile industry. The Canton Classic Car Museum officially opened to the public later that year.
Permanent Collections and Attractions
Today, the Canton Classic Car Museum serves as a rest stop attraction and nostalgia museum along northern Ohio’s Lincoln Highway, displaying a wide variety of artifacts and memorabilia related to the automobile and transportation industries. Collections range from classic cars and steam engines to film posters, historic photography, and vintage model car and train toys. As a family museum, the Canton Classic Car Museum offers unique exhibits and attractions for visitors of all ages.
The museum’s classic car collection makes up the centerpiece of its collections, including a historic Holmes full-sized air-cooled car constructed in Canton between 1917 and 1922, which was advertised as “America’s Most Comfortable” passenger car at the time of its release. A 1962 Amphicar on display is a unique hybrid streetcar and convertible pleasure boat, while a 1957 BMW Isetta gained fame for its use on the 1990s television sitcom Family Matters. Other classic passenger cars on display include a 1901 curved-dash Oldsmobile, a 1911 Model T Ford, a 1966 Ford Mustang, and a 1970 Plymouth Super Bird. Specialty industrial and government cars on display include an original, unrestored 1937 Ahrens-Fox Quad fire truck, a 1937 Packard Hearse, and a 1937 Studebaker President Bulletproof police car.
A large collection of vintage model cars and toys are showcased, including collections of Tonka trucks, Hot Wheels cars, and one-of-a-kind creations. Vintage advertising is showcased, including artifacts connected to the automobile industry and popular product brands during the golden era of American highway driving. Collections of historic photography and film posters also focus on the 20th century, creating a nostalgic atmosphere of the cultural climate at the time of the implementation of the American highway system.
Local memorabilia and nostalgia items are also showcased, including several items preserved from the city’s former Meyer’s Lake Park amusement park. Though the history of the amusement park dates back to the 1880s, the park is best remembered for its 20th-century historic atmosphere created after it was purchased by local entrepreneur George Sinclair in the 1920s. During its heyday, the park’s ballroom was host to a number of noted regional and national entertainers and was a prominent recreation spot in the northern Ohio community. Though the park closed in 1974, several of its rides are still in operation at other facilities, including a historic carousel transferred to Hartford, Connecticut. Items on display at the museum from the park include an antique Fortune Teller and a Monkey Band.
Memorabilia and ephemera connected to the social climate of the 20th century is also displayed, including political memorabilia connected to the Canton area, such as a portrait of President Franklin Roosevelt printed on a typewriter by an Ohio State Penitentiary inmate in 1941. A Canton Room contains thousands of pieces of memorabilia connected to the city’s history, including items connected to President William McKinley, who was born in the region. An Oriental Room showcases items connected to Asian cultures, including a collection of oriental rugs, while a variety of unique non-automobile-related items are scattered throughout the museum’s collections, including a historic moving thermometer. A large gift shop sells a wide variety of automobile-related items, including model cars, apparel, and children’s toys.
Programming and Outreach
The museum participates in a number of local and regional automobile-related events and competitions and partners with local community organizations. In 2018, the museum’s 1937 Studebaker President bulletproof police car was awarded the This Car Matters award at the annual Elegance at Hershey, one of the nation’s top 10 annual car shows. The museum’s director, Char Lautzenheiser, is a noted local philanthropist and public speaker, working with Canton businesses and organizations such as the University of Mount Union’s Continued Learning Program.
123 6th St SW, Canton, OH, Phone: 330-455-3603
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