By Linda Dillman
The National Barber Museum and Hall of Fame is asking for help in Paving the Way to continue honoring the barber profession and legacy started by Ed Jeffers decades ago.
The museum, located at 135 Franklin St. in Canal Winchester, is selling a limited number of commemorative engraved brick pavers for a walkway at the entrance as a fundraiser, which helps support exhibits and projects.
Director Mike Ippoliti said the program is a “legacy set in stone which creates a lasting memory” and that the bricks are not just for people associated with the barber profession.
“People can honor the memory of a beloved family member, friend or someone or something special to their heart,” said Ippoliti. “The purchase of a brick is open to anyone, not just barbers. A brick can be purchased just to show support of the museum.
He said the museum has had over 1,500 visitors from 35 states and more
than 20 countries since the new location opened in May 2018. The museum is in a larger space with separate rooms dedicated to such things as barber poles, mugs, chairs and the Hall of Fame.”
The museum, housed in the rear of the Washington Street school district administrative building, next to the public library, also includes historical displays of vintage barber shops and meeting space for groups.
“A tour can be taken in the museum by using your Smart Phone,” said Ippoliti. “All the artifacts have been cleaned and restored to pristine condition following the smoke damage.”
Displays housed in Jeffers original second floor High Street museum were smoke damaged after a December 2014 fire that rendered the extensive collection homeless until an agreement with the school district was reached in 2016.
The four-year long process of finding a new home for the collection, with artifacts dating back hundreds of years, ended with a $1-a-year agreement with the school district, untold volunteer hours renovating a half-dozen former classrooms, private donations and support from the Wood Foundation.
Visitors from Poland and Cuba
Seven truckloads were needed to pack everything out for cleaning and storage and a formal grand opening was held in May 2018. Since then, visitors like Adam Szulc from Poland and Gilberto Valladares from Cuba have journeyed to Canal Winchester specifically to visit the museum.
In April 2018, Ippoliti received an email from Szulc asking if the venue would be open in August.
“He brought his family—wife and four kids, and spent a day or two in New York City. He ran across a fancy salon and small museum owned by Arthur Reubinov, who asked Adam if they were going to tour the U.S.,” said Ippoliti. “Adam said, ‘No we are going to Canal Winchester to tour the Barber Museum.’ The entire family came to the museum. The two oldest boys and daughter are barbers and the young boy is still learning. After the tour, Adam took his phone and did the entire tour in Polish and put it on YouTube.”
Ippoliti said he and Szulc keep in touch via email and Facebook. The museum has a display case featuring a book and magazine articles by Szulc, who is working on a second book and plans to return in November to Canal Winchester to do research in the museum library and, according to Ippoliti, “do some Christmas shopping at Walmart.”
Valladares was in Cincinnati as part of a seminar and when asked by the dean of the university what he planned to do after the seminar, told the dean he wanted to travel up to Canal Winchester and visit the barber museum.
The ongoing brick fundraiser project was first proposed by Howard Warner—a Hall of Fame inductee and a State of Ohio Director of Barbers—in March 2019. Pavers come in two sizes, 4 inches x 8 inches for $100 with three engraved lines and 8 inches by 8 inches for $150 with five lines engraved.
For information, visit the museum at 135 Franklin St. in Canal Winchester, call 614-837-8400 or visit the museum website at nationalbarbermuseum.org.