The Mini–Museum at the Mabel Hartzell Historical Home soon will take on a new look, thanks to the artistic talents of Kathleen Gray Farthing.

On Sunday, July 28, at 2 p.m. two 8×4-foot banners will be unfurled and placed on both the east and west side of the mini-museum which will focus on the local history contained within the Mabel Hartzell annex. The project was funded by a grant from ArtsInStark.

Mini Museum banner

Mini Museum banner

The banners read, “Welcome to Alliance History Mini Museum,” and within the bold letters spelling out ALLIANCE, are pictures illustrating the city’s heritage — Glamorgan Castle, City Cemetery, the railroads, Freedom Square, the Alliance Woman’s Club, City Hall, Alliance industry, and the University of Mount Union.

Farthing, who designed the banners, said she got the idea for the banner when Karen Perone, past president of the Alliance Historical Society, shared with her a vintage Alliance postcard. She and Perone have known each other for years, having both served on the Alliance Chamber of Commerce marketing committee.

“Originally we talked about painting a mural on the mini-museum,” Farthing said, “but other murals on buildings have required a lot of maintenance so we decided on banners.”

“For the past six years we have had a banner for the Carnation Playhouse, which has  held up well,” she said, “plus with a banner you can have a lot more detail.”

A graduate of Carnegie Mellon University in graphic design, she has had a long career in a variety of art forms and for the last 34 years has operated Farthing Graphic Design & Illustration. (

Kathleen Gray Farthing

Kathleen Gray Farthing

She has wide experience in designing logos, brochures, ads, direct mail, posters and newsletters; and her illustrations are in a variety of styles including pen & ink, woodcut, pastel, oils and more.

For the past 18 years she has been involved in the Carnation City Players, both on stage and off. Her most recent on-stage performance was in “Mama Mia,” but for years her work has been behind the scenes designing the CCP programs and newsletters and even helping paint sets.

Although she has kept busy with her graphic design, in recent years she has been shifting toward her other love, “plein air painting,” or painting on location. About six times a year Farthing leaves her studio and travels to locations all over to experience oil painting the sites and landscapes she visits. Some locations are juried and competitive where those accepted will paint for several days, followed by a show.

She is a member of the Ohio Plein Air Society and just last month she participated in a weeklong experience in Nova Scotia. She also has been selected in August as the artist in residence at Hypatia-in-the-Woods in Shelton, Wash., on the Olympic Peninsula.

The banners will bring more attention to the Mini-Museum which originally was opened in 2016 following a major remodeling effort by the Alliance Historical Society. Originally just a garage across the alley from the Mabel Hartzell Home used mostly for storing historic items, it was renovated into a museum annex, complete with new walls and ceiling, bright lighting, new insulation, and air conditioning. As a result, much more of Alliance’s history is properly displayed, with the main focus of providing a secure, climate-controlled home for the only remaining automobile built in Alliance in 1910.

Once the building was remodeled, it allowed the Society to safeguard and display a wider range of Alliance’s history, beyond what was part of the Mabel Hartzell Home.

When Mabel Hartzell willed her 1867 home to the Alliance Historical Society after she died in 1954, the house became a museum of sorts, complete with lots of display cases and a photo gallery, but in the 1980s the display cases were removed and the house was restored to its original Victorian splendor.

The opening of the mini-museum offered a perfect place to showcase other items from the history of Alliance businesses, institutions, and buildings. Items added since the mini-museum opened include a section of the original viaduct bridge and a Hillgreen Lane pipe organ display.

The Mabel Hartzell House will be open to tours during Carnation Festival week, Aug. 4 to 9 from 1 to 4 p.m. each day. Other times during the year, tours may be arranged by calling 330-736-1116.