OMA Award Spotlight - Massillon Museum

Recognizing excellence in Ohio museums during Arts and Humanities Month

To help celebrate October as Arts and Humanities Month, and to kick-off the call for nominations for this year's OMA awards, we'll be highlighting our 2022 OMA Award of Achievement winners throughout the month with our OMA Award Spotlight. We are featuring these Award Winner Spotlights during Arts and Humanities Month to help champion the amazing projects, programs and professionals that make Ohio's museum community strong.

The Awards of Achievement are presented to reflect the outstanding quality and caliber of work by Ohio museums and their professionals in two categories: Institutional Achievement Awards and Individual Achievement Awards.

Nominations for these awards are incredibly detailed. This in-depth process helps to illustrate how these institutions and individuals have gone “above and beyond” the normal call of duty to support their institution, serve their public and advance the cause of the museum community.

Each year, the review panel is overwhelmed by the outstanding projects, innovative programming and dedication to our field as exhibited in each of the institutional and individual nominations. Congratulations again to each of our 2022 award winners! 

Today, we'll be featuring our winner for the 2022 award for Best Exhibition over $500,000.

Massillon Museum - The Missing History of Massillon: Untold African American Stories


The Missing History of Massillon: Unheard African American Stories was developed to address the Museum’s deficit in content related to Massillon’s African American heritage while striving to be more welcoming to diverse populations.

Massillon's African American population is roughly 8% of all residents. However, the representation of this population has not been adequately reflected within MassMu’s permanent collections and archives. Before the Missing History project, MassMu had scarce archival information and even fewer artifacts that speak to Massillon's African American history or culture.  

After the murder of George Floyd during a community conversation, an idea was sparked regarding how the museum could provide a venue both entertaining, educational, and serving the unmet interests of the African American community through celebration of its rich history.

A series of Black History Archives Days helped introduce the community to the project, and was instrumental in gathering information for the exhibit and for building a shared community resource. More than 4,000 archival materials were scanned from within the Museum’s collection and from those of community members. Twenty-five oral histories were recorded from 2020 – 2022, and eleven existing within the Museum archives were digitized.

These were made available on iPads within the exhibition and are accessible on the website where the all of the research and exhibit content lives and will continue to grow. Nearly 4,000 people visited the exhibition over twenty-one weeks.

Beverly E. Smith, 26th National President of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and former Massillon resident wrote, “In a time when all of us need to remember the full history of our communities and the contributions of people who dedicated their lives for a better world…this exhibit…provided a boost of pride to a community whose citizens deserved to be recognized. I commend the staff of the Massillon Museum for their fine work to rediscover an essential part of Massillon’s missing history to ensure it would not be lost.”

Did your museum have a spectacular exhibit - virtual or physical - during the 2023 season? Be sure to nominate it for the 2023 award for Best Exhibition! Learn more here.

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