A Canton museum’s drive to buy a tiara once owned by first lady Ida McKinley is drawing interest — and in some cases, donations — from around the country.
The William McKinley Presidential Library & Museum recently launched a campaign to raise $43,000 to buy the tiara featured on the History Channel series Pawn Stars. Since the Beacon Journal’s story on the effort was picked up by news outlets around the U.S., donations to the museum have been mounting.
The museum has received a little more than $7,000 in donations, plus $5,100 in conditional pledges, Director Joyce Yut said Monday. “And I’m just looking at 10 envelopes with small donations that came in today’s mail,” she said.
Yut said donations have come from as far away as Las Vegas.
The total doesn’t include at least $1,000 pledged by the Ohio Pawnbrokers Association, which has appealed to its member shops to contribute to a gift from the association to the tiara fund, President Lou Tansky said. One member is even suggesting pawnbrokers send in scrap gold in the hope a refiner will pick up the processing cost and the proceeds can be donated, Tansky said.
Bruce Fortier, a pawnbroker from Defiance, said he floated the idea to some of his fellow board members and has pledged $500.
“So many times pawnbrokers have a less than stellar reputation,” he said. The donation, he and Tansky said, is a way of supporting an interesting cause in their state and casting a new light on an industry they said is often misunderstood.
The McKinley Museum is also planning two fundraising events. One, An Evening of Civil War Music with Steve Ball, will be held at 7 p.m. June 5 at the museum. Tickets are $20 in advance or $25 at the door. To order, call 330-455-7043.
Yut said a $500-per-person Diamond Soiree is also in the works for May.
The tiara got notice after it appeared in the March 7 episode of Pawn Stars. The series’ star, pawnbroker Rick Harrison, bought the headpiece from its former owners and has offered to resell it to the museum at cost.
Mary Beth Breckenridge can be reached at 330-996-3756 or email@example.com. You can also become a fan on Facebook at http://tinyurl.com/mbbreck, follow her on Twitter @MBBreckABJ and read her blog at www.ohio.com/blogs/mary-beth.