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Michael Schwartz Library

Special Collections

Greater Cleveland Ethnographic Museum Digital Exhibit

Overview of the Collection:

Repository: Michael Schwartz Library Special Collections

Creator: Greater Cleveland Ethnographic Museum

Title: The Greater Cleveland Ethnographic Museum Collection

Dates: 1977-1981

Quantity: Digital photographic images

Quantity: Digital audio files

Quantity: Digital video image

Abstract: In 1977, The Greater Cleveland Ethnographic Museum was established to preserve the traditions and histories of Cleveland's ethnic communities and neighborhoods. The museum grew out of a Bicentennial Heritage Committee focused on collecting oral histories, made possible by a grant from the George Gund Foundation. From 1978 to 1981, the museum collected oral histories from Cleveland residents, recorded traditional music, collected and cataloged cultural artifacts, and assisted neighborhood projects that sought to capture the living history of neighborhoods by documenting special events and festivals.

Identification: GCEM

Language: The records are in English

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Administrative History of the Greater Cleveland Ethnographic Museum

The Greater Cleveland Ethnographic Museum was created as a way to preserve and transmit elements of traditional life, especially the folk arts, to others in the community. While the museum was open, it captured the traditions of Cleveland residents by recording oral histories, collecting cultural artifacts, recording folk music, photographing traditional festivals and religious rituals, and showcasing their collections in their gallery at the Arcade as well as through traveling exhibits. Many of their important dates, exhibits, and projects are listed in the chronological timeline below.

CHRONOLOGY OF EVENTS
Date Event
1975 Oral histories are recorded for the Greater Cleveland Bicentennial Oral History Project to prepare for exhibits for the American Revolution Bicentennial. The Greater Cleveland Ethnographic Museum is thus founded.
October 14, 1976 The Greater Cleveland Ethnographic Museum, Inc. is approved to become a not for profit corporation.
November 1977 Work begins on the Immigrant Experience Project.
February 4, 1978 Annual Meeting, first of which was held at The Arcade.
March 1978 Greater Cleveland Ethnographic Museum opens its headquarters at 137 The Arcade, Cleveland, Ohio 44114. Carole Kantor is the executive director of the museum.
May 1978 "We Are One, Around the Corner and Around the World" gallery exhibit commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Jewish Community Federation and the 30th anniversary of the State of Israel.
1979 Work concludes on the Immigrant Experience Project in early 1979.
January 12 - 31, 1979 St. Sava's Day (Serbian community) gallery exhibit.
February 1 - March 1, 1979 Oral history and immigrant history gallery exhibit.
March 1979 Balkan Slavic Music Project begins recording regional, ethnic music.
March 2 - June 1, 1979 Chinese New Year gallery exhibit.
June 4 - July 15, 1979 Traditional costumes and musical instruments of Croatia gallery exhibit.
July 1979 Annette Fromm, museum curator, is appointed acting director of the museum.
July 15 - August 31, 1979 Gallery exhibit featuring the Ukrainian-American woodcarving of Jack Gbur.
September 4 - October 12, 1979 International Year of the Child gallery exhibit.
October 15 - November 30, 1979 Festivals of India gallery exhibit.
December 3, 1979 - January 18, 1980 Christmas in Cleveland gallery exhibit.
April 2, 1980 The dance documentary produced by the Greater Cleveland Ethnographic Museum, "A Step in Time" airs on WVIZ Channel 25 at 7:30 pm. It showcases Greek, Slovenian, and Irish dance as it occurs naturally in Cleveland.
July 1980 A new slide tape program is made available for rental from the museum: "Easter in Cleveland: Celebration of Ritual and Custom".
August 27, 1980 "Discover Greece" dinner and dance fundraiser held at the Parthenon Restaurant, 1518 Euclid Avenue from 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm.
July 1980 Annette B. Fromm resigns as acting director.
March 13, 1981 Annual Meeting held at Dyke College.
198? Greater Cleveland Ethnographic Museum closes.

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Scope and Contents

These digital records were created from the personal collection of Annette B. Fromm, the personal collection of Carole Kantor, the Cleveland Press Collection housed by Cleveland State University Special Collections, and other holdings housed by Cleveland State University. The collection has been created from digitized 35mm slides, newspaper clippings, documents, a 16mm film, and a vinyl record.

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Statement of Arrangement

This collection is arranged by museum project when possible and by format when it is not possible.The collection is divided into five series.

  1. Ethnic Neighborhoods, Traditions, and Festival Images
  2. Immigrant Experience Project
  3. 'A Step in Time' Dance Documentary Film
  4. Balkan Slavic Music Project
  5. Cleveland Press Articles about the Greater Cleveland Ethnographic Museum

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Restrictions

Restrictions on Access
Contact Michael Schwartz Library Special Collections for specific permissions information and operating hours.

Restrictions on Use
All pertinent copyright laws apply to reproduction of published materials in the collection; researchers must obtain permission from the copyright holder.

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Related Material

No Related Materials Available

No Separated Materials Available

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Index Terms

Names:

  • Fromm, Annette B.
  • Kantor, Carole
  • Mahovlich, Walter

Organizations:

  • Greater Cleveland Ethnographic Museum
  • Immigrant Experience Project

Subjects:

  • Ethnic neighborhoods -- Ohio -- Cleveland
  • Ethnographic films
  • Ethnographic museums and collections
  • Ethnographic photographs, 1970-1980
  • Folk dance music -- Greece -- Ohio -- Cleveland
  • Folk dance music -- Ireland -- Ohio -- Cleveland
  • Folk dance music, Slovenian -- Ohio -- Cleveland
  • Folk music -- United States
  • Oral histories series
  • Tambura music

Places:

  • Cleveland (Ohio)

Document Types:

  • 16mm
  • 35mm
  • digital images
  • PDF
  • sound recordings

Titles:

  • The Greater Cleveland Ethnographic Museum Collection

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Physical Characteristics & Technical Requirement

Real Media Player must be installed on one's computer in order to access the audio and video files in this collection.

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation
The Greater Cleveland Ethnographic Museum Collection. (2007). Cleveland Memory Project.http://www.clevelandmemory.org/gcem/

Acquisition Information
Collections borrowed from Annette B. Fromm and Carole Kantor. Balkan Slavic Music tapes and record donated by Walter Mahovlich.

Processing Information
This collection was processed in 2007 by Kiffany Francis.

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Detailed Description of the Collection

The Greater Cleveland Ethnographic Museum opened its permanent gallery space at The Arcade in 1977. The Greater Cleveland Ethnographic Museum was thus created as a way to preserve and transmit elements of traditional life, especially the folk arts, to others in the community. While the museum was open, it captured the traditions of Cleveland residents by recording oral histories in its Immigrant Experience Project, collecting cultural artifacts, recording folk music as part of its Balkan Slavic Music Project, photographing traditional festivals and religious rituals, and showcasing their collections in their gallery at the Arcade as well as through traveling exhibits. The Greater Cleveland Ethnographic Museum Digital Collection is broken down by the following series.

Ethnic Neighborhoods, Traditions, and Festival Images, 1978-1980 111 images

Images show Cleveland residents attending ethnic neighborhood festivals, making ethnic foods, participating in religious rituals, and dancing. There are also images ethnic handicrafts that were exhibited by the museum.

Immigrant Experience Project, 1977-1979 Includes 1 report, 6 memoirs, and 1 project summary.

The Greater Cleveland Ethnographic Museum embarked on several research projects investigating the cultural history of Cleveland. One of the first was the Immigrant Experience Project, an oral history project which goal was to capture the experience of immigrants who settled in Cleveland between 1900 and 1930. The museum recorded the stories of approximately ninety immigrants from over thirty cultural backgrounds. Participants were asked about why and how they immigrated to Cleveland, what life was like in the Old country, and how they had adjusted to life in Cleveland. The founders of the museum recognized that the immigrant experience was common to many Clevelanders and the museum sought to preserve their stories in order to foster understanding and better intergroup relations in the community.

Immigrant Experience Project Memoirs, 6 memoirs

  1. George Janas Memoir (Greek) May 2, 1978 1 memoir
    A memoir about the life of George Janas, a man who immigrated to Cleveland from Greece in the 1920s, created through an interview on May 2, 1978 by Annette Fromm as part of the Immigrant Experience Project at the Greater Cleveland Ethnographic Museum. Mr. Janas speaks about fighting in the Greco-Turkish War and living in Cleveland as a Greek immigrant.
  2. Latify Shibley Memoir (Lebanese) January 4, 1979 1 memoir
    A memoir about the life of Mrs. Latify Shibley, a woman who immigrated from Aitaneet, Lebanon 1938, created through an interview on January 4, 1979 by Annette Fromm as part of the Immigrant Experience Project at the Greater Cleveland Ethnographic Museum.
  3. Libby Malkin Memoir (Jewish from Russia) March 7, 1978 1 memoir
    A memoir about the life of Libby Malkin, a Jewish woman who moved to Cleveland in 1907 from Odessa, Ukraine, created through an interview on March 7, 1978 by Annette Fromm as part of the Immigrant Experience Project at the Greater Cleveland Ethnographic Museum.
  4. Mrs. Clara Grillo (nee Corica) Memoir (Italian American by birth) October 31, 1978 1 memoir
    A memoir about the life of Mrs. Clara Grillo (Nee Corica), an Italian-American woman, created through an interview on October 31, 1978 by Annette Fromm as part of the Immigrant Experience Project at the Greater Cleveland Ethnographic Museum.
  5. Sarah Goodman Memoir (Jewish) February 20, 1978 1 memoir
    A memoir about the life of Mrs. Sarah Goodman, a Jewish woman, created through an interview on February 20, 1978 by Annette Fromm as part of the Immigrant Experience Project at the Greater Cleveland Ethnographic Museum. She immigrated to the United States from Radautz, Bucovina (present day Romania) and moved to Cleveland in 1918. This interview took place on February 20, 1978.

Immigrant Experience Project: 1978 Internship Report, 1978 1 booklet

The first part of the report includes oral histories from German and Yiddish language interviews which took place in Cleveland in 1978. The second portion includes archival work (negatives and music) of the Afro-American Cultural and Historical Society founded by Icabod Flewellen. Wiebke Van der Muelen conducted German interviews with Lena Mosa, Henry Hageman, Margareta Jaekel and Julia Oertling. Florence Jacobs conducted Yiddish interviews with Sam Itkin, Bessie Milner, and Emanuel Beskin. Bernard Redfield and Martha Smith worked on cataloging cultural objects for the Afro-American Cultural and Historical Society in the summer of 1978. This work was created to be a part of the Immigrant Experience Project for the Greater Cleveland Ethnographic Museum.

Immigrant Experience Project: Project Summary, 1978 1 document

A summary of the "Immigrant Experience Project" brought together by the Greater Cleveland Ethnographic Museum in Cleveland, Ohio. The project produced written and taped narratives from immigrant peoples who settled in Cleveland.

A Step in Time, 1980 27 minute video

This film captures how the Greek, Slovenian, and Irish communities of Cleveland dance as a way of socializing, while also preserving their cultural identity at picnics, wedding receptions, festivals, clubs, and bars. It showcases the Greek Pentozali circle dance as well as the dragging and shuffling Syrtos dance in the Cretan style, being danced to the music of the bouzouki during picnics and get-togethers. Slovenes are shown dancing the traditional polka in folk costumes but they film also shows how Slovenians dance to Cleveland-style polka, a derivative of traditional Slovenian polka, in their everyday lives in downtown polka bars and local festivals such as the All Nations Festival. The Irish are shown dancing the Siege of Ennis in the County Mayo style at a wedding reception. The film also shows the St. Patrick's Day parade heading to a mass for the Blessing of the Shamrock at St. Colman's Roman Catholic Church.

Balkan Slavic Music Project, 1978-1980

The Greater Cleveland Ethnographic Museum recorded music as part of its Balkan Slavic Music Project in order to preserve the traditions of immigrants in their new setting. They recorded the live performances of folk musicicans playing traditional music from Bulgaria, Macedonia, Croatia, and Serbia, as it was played in its natural setting throughout the American Midwest. Of these tapes, tamburitza music makes up the majority of the music with the remainder of the recordings include singing (such as singing from Christmas and Easter services at St. Sava Serbian Cathedral and St. Nicholas Croatian Catholic Church), Macedonian-Bulgarian clarinet orchestras (based on clarinet and drum) and interviews with Macedonian musician Paul Vangeloff discussing the style of music, and recordings of native instruments.

Balkan Slavic music of Northern Ohio recorded in the late 1970's
The whole of the Balkan Slavic Music Project field recordings can be found at the Michael Schwartz Library, Cleveland State University.

Nova Domovina - A New Homeland: Balkan Slavic Music From the Industrial Midwest, 1979 15 songs
This album contains a representative sampling of music from the Balkan Slavic Music Project that was heard in northern Ohio during during 1979 including secular and religious, vocal and instrumental, relatively archaic and relatively up-to-date music.

Cleveland Press Articles about the Greater Cleveland Ethnographic Museum, 1975-1980 5 articles

Articles that appeared about the Greater Cleveland Ethnographic Museum in the newspaper, The Cleveland Press.

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