Massillon Museum Turns Artwork Into Puzzles

Postcard Downtown Massillon at Night c. 1950s [Collection of the Massillon Museum]

With much of the country still sheltering in place, jigsaw puzzles have become a popular pastime. Carol Glazer, the president of Massachusetts-based Ceaco, a large manufacturer of jigsaw puzzles, told NPR sales are through the roof.

“Around the second week of March, we noticed sales at one of our largest retail customers... were up 300% over the same week the previous year,” she said.  

With the attractiveness of jigsaw puzzles skyrocketing, the Massillon Museum (MassMu) collaborated with an online gaming company to create 10 digital jigsaw puzzles from objects in their collection, now on the MassMu website. Several people can play each puzzle at the same time, according to Alexandra Nicholis Coon, executive director of the museum. She said the idea came from one of the museum’s members.

“It spurred a discussion that we have over 100,000 objects, and we could translate them into puzzles and allow people to engage with the pieces virtually,” she said.

Lincoln Theatre c.1973 [Collection of the Massillon Museum]

Players use a mouse or the keypad to move the scrambled pieces across the board. When they line up correctly, the pieces snap into place. The puzzles are designed for different ages and skill levels. Players can select to play with as little as six pieces or 1,000 by clicking on the “number of pieces” icon. For those who like a challenge, there’s a timer to see who completes the puzzle the quickest.

Postcard Downtown Massillon at Night Puzzle [Dennis Knowles, ideastream]

Currently, 10 puzzles are on the MassMu website. Coon said additional ones will soon be released.

“We have paintings that will be going up, people are emailing us saying they don’t want to have to wait a week to solve another puzzle,” she said.

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