‘A Century of Swing’ exhibition at MassMu

‘A Century of Swing’ exhibition at MassMu

Drum major Clayton Bergdorf leads the band down the field with majorettes Joan Cheney, Doris Smith, Mary Leeper and Leona Grossweiler as George “Red” Bird directs from the side. Photo taken during a Life magazine photo session, 1939.


A new exhibition, “Carry On: A Century of Swing,” is now open in the Paul Brown Museum within the Massillon Museum. It will continue through Jan. 8.

The gallery documents more than 80 years of the Massillon Tiger Swing Band’s history, plus information about its Washington High School predecessors.

Sections of the exhibition feature Obie, drum majors and majorettes, directors, and band boosters. Visitors can see films of different eras from as early as the 1930s. Dozens of photographs depict the band and its performances at home, in the Tournament of Roses Parade, at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and in New York City’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

Historic and contemporary artifacts include a wall of instruments with a tuba, flute, clarinet, saxophone, trombone, trumpet and bass drum head; jackets showing the evolution of Tiger Swing Band uniforms; a drum major hat from the 1950s; and a 1938 band hat.

Interactive components include a swing step activity and a scavenger hunt.

About the Massillon Tiger Swing Band

The first Massillon High band appeared at football games in 1914. The first director, Clem Morrison, was hired in 1926. George “Red” Bird, who became director in 1938, transformed the band into “The Greatest Show in High School Football,” shifting the band from Sousa-style to incorporate the swing music choreography of the era.

“Carry On,” “Fanfare” and “Tiger Rag” are played at every game in Paul Brown Tiger Stadium, and the swing band has played for audiences across the globe at competitions, professional sports arenas and parades.

About the Paul Brown Museum

Located in the 2020 wing of the Massillon Museum, the Paul Brown Museum features regularly rotating exhibitions. “The Paul Brown/Massillon Tiger Football History Timeline” is always on display. It spotlights Paul Brown’s fedora, his Hall of Fame gold jacket and a chronology of his career. The paralleling Massillon Tiger time line spotlights the 1940 Massillon-McKinley game ball signed by the entire Tiger team and the milestones of Massillon’s high school and professional squads.

About the Massillon Museum

When visiting the “Tiger Legacy” exhibition, guests can see regularly changing exhibitions throughout the Massillon Museum. A visit is always free.

Exhibitions in the Massillon Museum, including the Paul Brown Museum, can be seen Tuesday through Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 2-5 p.m.

The museum receives operating support from the Ohio Arts Council and ArtsinStark and marketing support from Visit Canton. This project was funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.

The Paul Brown Museum is located on the second floor of the new wing of the Massillon Museum, which is located at 121 Lincoln Way E. in downtown Massillon. Call 330-833-4061 or visit www.massillonmuseum.org.

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