A new exhibition, Ethiopian Expedition of 1903, in the Edward and Louise Mahoney Gallery highlights the diplomatic mission of three Massillon men with images and artifacts.
President William McKinley appointed his friend, Robert Peet Skinner of Massillon, to open trade and diplomatic relations between Ethiopia and the United States. After President McKinley’s assassination, his successor, President Theodore Roosevelt reaffirmed the mission, marking one of the earliest official engagements by the United States with sub-Saharan Africa. The mission was successful and the agreement continues to this day.
Horatio Watson Wales (of Spring Hill Farm) and Dr. Abraham Per Lee Pease of Massillon accompanied Skinner, serving as secretary and medical doctor respectively. Emperor Menelik II and the American contingent traded many artifacts. In exchange for American typewriters and arms, the Ethiopians gave items such as a hippopotamus hide and silver shield and a bronze and horsehair helmet.
Dr. Pease collected ethnological and archaeological artifacts, purchasing some objects in local markets. He organized them methodically, eventually forming the Museum’s first collection and exhibition. Bronze crosses and animal bone jewelry are included in this exhibition along with wood and metal spears.
Exhibitions may be seen during regular Museum hours—Tuesday through Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sunday, 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. The Massillon Museum is accessible and free. Everyone is welcome.
The Massillon Museum is grateful for operating support from the Ohio Arts Council, ArtsinStark, and the citizens of Massillon, as well as marketing support from Visit Canton. This exhibition is funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.
The Massillon Museum is located at 121 Lincoln Way East in downtown Massillon. Free parking is available on adjacent streets and in nearby city lots. For more information, call 330.833.4061 or visit massillonmuseum.org.
Alexandra Nicholis Coon, Massillon Museum Executive Director – 330-833-4061 x111
Margy Vogt, Massillon Museum Public Relations Coordinator – 330-844-1525
This 12-inch high bronze and horsehair Abyssinian helmet was a gift to the Massillon Museum from Irene McLain Wales, wife of Horatio Wales the secretary of the 1903 expedition.