As Sue Sompres gazed at the rows and rows of shaving mugs at the National Barber Museum and Hall of Fame, she couldn't help but notice the floral patterns and images of birds and butterflies.

"I was surprised, because I expected them to look more masculine," the Canal Winchester resident said. "But there are a lot of them that look like teacups, with a floral design. That really amazes me."

The colorful shaving mugs, more than 2,000 of them, can be found in each of the six rooms in the museum's new location at 135 Franklin St. in Canal Winchester.

More than three years after a fire at its original downtown location above the Canal Wigwam restaurant, the museum reopened to the public May 5, with a ceremony that included music by a barbershop quartet and a ribbon-cutting that employed -- of course -- barber shears.

"After the fire, it was like, 'Where are we going to put this thing?' " museum curator and former historical society president Mike Ippoliti said. "But it's a dream come true. Ed would be flying high."

Fred Mendenhall, a member of the National Shaving Mug Collectors Association, drove up from southern Ohio to attend the ceremony. He said he got his first shaving mug when he was 12 years old. It belonged to his great-grandfather.

"I've always got room for one more," Mendenhall said. "They're one-of-a-kind. I saw one sell for $54,000 once."

The museum's collection of barber relics also includes numerous badger-hair shaving brushes, which are now illegal since the badger is a protected species.

Also on display are more than 70 red, white and blue barber poles, a machine from the early 20th century designed to give permanents but which looks more like a torture device with its electrical cords that provided heat to dozens of rollers and clamps.

The barber chairs are as unique as the shaving mugs. They're made of wood, metal and velour, and some date to the Civil War era. One designed for children resembles a rocking horse.

Richard Whaley was there to see a collection of his father's items. The late Gale Whaley opened his barbershop in nearby Lithopolis in the 1930s and retired some 50 years later.

"When this came along and I had the opportunity to donate, it was a no-brainer," Whaley said. "Instead of me looking at it in my basement, now a lot of people can look at it."

Ed Jeffers, known as the "godfather of barbering" opened the original museum in 1988, with a personal collection that continued to grow over the years. Smoke from the 2014 fire damaged many of the artifacts, which were sent away to be refurbished, a process that took more than two years.

The Canal Winchester Historical Society acquired the museum following Jeffers' death in 2006, but after the fire, finding a new location large enough was a challenge, Ippoliti said. When the society considered moving to neighboring Groveport, the city began looking for space.

The school district offered to lease part of the former middle school, which sits behind district offices on Washington Street, for $1.

Ippoliti and other Canal Winchester residents -- including the high-school football team, which helped unload boxes -- spent months renovating the building and designing displays. Before his death in August, Bob Wood, a longtime resident and supporter of the society, donated $100,000 to the effort.

The museum also is home to the National Barber Hall of Fame, whose approximately 70 members include Oprah Winfrey's father, Vernon, who at 85 years old continues to cut hair in Nashville, Tennessee.

Six hall of fame members, who traveled from out of state, were on hand to open the museum, including Daniel G. Ruidant of Corpus Christi, Texas.

Originally from Europe, he specializes in cutting hair with a razor.

Ruidant's business card describes him as a European world champion hairstylist.

"I've been in barbering for more than 50 years, and there are four generations of us," he said. "I came to the U.S. to help teach students how to use a razor to cut hair."

The museum's collection of razors rivals the shaving mugs, and the collection grows on a weekly basis.

Ippoliti said he continues to receive packages from barbershops all over the country. Over time, he said, he's learned much about the profession and he's determined to help preserve its history.

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