Salem Storybook Museum will present lecture series

SALEM – The Salem Storybook Museum will present a series of lectures titled, “Monday at the Museum.”

The first one begins at 7 p.m. March 18 in the library at Kent State University City Center featuring Janet Slusser, a noted violinist. She will demonstrate the violin and perform several musical selections.

“Monday at the Museum” is a concept by Robert Viencek, special events coordinator and fundraising chairman for the Salem Storybook Museum.

“The first original painting that the museum acquired is entitled ‘Fiddler of the Northern Lights’ by artist Leslie Bowman,” said Viencek. “It is from a delightful children’s book written by Natalie Kinsey-Warnock. The story is about a young boy named Henry who is spellbound by the wonderful stories his grandfather tells. He is particularly taken by a mysterious musician who travels the north woods in winter.

“I wanted to do something to tie in with the painting, and what would be more enjoyable or appropriate than to have a violinist,” said Viencek. “And we found an excellent one.”

Slusser grew up in Bethel Park, Pa. Her parents were interested in music and encouraged their daughter. She studied privately with Joseph Angel of the Pittsburgh Symphony for five years. He helped her acquire a Johannes Gagliano 1804 violin which she continues to use today.

Slusser attended the University of Mount Union where she performed with many musical ensembles. She taught music for 20 years in the Alliance City School District and was the orchestra director there for 16 years. In addition to giving private lessons, she taught a course at Mount Union titled “Teaching of Stringed Instruments” for future music teachers. She has played in several orchestras including the Columbus Symphony, Parma Civic Symphony, Mansfield Symphony, Alliance Symphony, Tuscarawas Philharmonic and Alliance String Quartet.

A unique part of her program will be to include children in the audience. She will have a small violin for them to attempt to play.

“Many organizations in the area are featuring lecture series,” said Viencek. “The Salem Historical Society has done many wonderful programs. The lyceum (public lectures) was popular in America with writers such as Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Mark Twain.”

“We want to invite parents, children, grandparents-everyone in fact, to come out to the lecture series,” said Elizabeth Thatcher, director of the Salem Storybook Museum. “We have some wonderful programs lined up. The museum will be open for guests to have a look at our art collection,” she said.

The board of directors for the museum will be in attendance including Janis Yereb, retired art instructor from Salem City Schools, the art curator for the museum.

“Monday at the Museum” is free to the public. Refreshments will be served and a door prize awarded.