Tag Archives: Buffalo

History and Economic Development:
Some Lessons from Western New York


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1698There are two regions which have Path through History plans listed on the ten Regional Economic Development Councils (REDEC) for New York State.

I’ve reviewed the Long Island region proposal here.  As will be seen, there are certain overlaps and parallels in their respective plans and differences as well between their plans and those of the Western New York region, which I’ll cover here. Continue reading

History of Technology in Western New York Exhibit


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The University at Buffalo Libraries has announced a new exhibit, “History of Technology in Western New York” at the 2nd Floor, Oscar A. Silverman Library, Capen Hall, University at Buffalo North Campus. Researched and written by Nancy Schiller, Engineering Librarian, and produced by Rose Orcutt, Architecture & Planning Librarian, “History of Technology in Western New York” offers a glimpse into Western New York’s rich industrial heritage.

The exhibit pays homage to Buffalo’s iconic grain elevators, to Pierce-Arrow and its sleek automobiles and even sleeker advertising, to the region’s contributions to early aviation, and to the massive steelmills in Lackawanna, and the men and women who labored in them.

Photographs, text and images featured in the exhibit recallan era when 50 percent of Buffalo’s population was engaged in industrial endeavors of one sort or another, and factories, grainelevators, blast furnaces and steel refineries dotted the local landscape.

Inspiration for the exhibit came from a recent UB Honors Seminar taught by Professor John Van Benschoten, Department of Civil, Structural, and Environmental Engineering. The course explored the role of Buffalo, Niagara Falls, and Western New York in our nation’s history, and provided students with an opportunity to consider the history of Western New York and its future through anunderstanding of technology, and the benefits and costs that come with it.

The exhibit is open during regular library hours and runs through May 31, 2012.

Photo: Great Northern Grain Elevator (2007), courtesy forgottenbuffalo.com

Buffalo: Millard Fillmore Remembered


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Col. John Higgins, the Vice Commander of the New York Air National Guard’s 107th Airlift Wing laid a wreath at the gravesite of President Millard Fillmore at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Buffalo on behalf of President Barak Obama last Friday

Fillmore, the 13th President of the United States, was a co-founder of the University at Buffalo and the school’s first chancellor. The university has conducted a memorial ceremony annually since 1937.

The United States Military honors former presidents by laying wreaths sent by the current president at their gravesites on the anniversary of their birth.

The New York Army and Air National Guard traditionally conduct the wreath layings at the graves of President Chester A. Arthur in Menands, Albany County; President Martin Van Buren in Kinderhook, Columbia County; and Fillmore.

Born on Jan. 7, 1800, Fillmore was instrumental in founding the Buffalo & Erie County Historical Society, the Buffalo Club and the Buffalo General Hospital. His activities also led to the creation of the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library, the Buffalo Fine Arts Academy and the Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences.

Some historians credit the former teacher, postmaster, lawyer and member of Congress with establishing the White House Library. During his administration the United States opened trade relations with Japan and California was admitted to the union. He died on March 8, 1874.

The 107th Airlift Wing, which is based at Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station, operates C-130 Hercules cargo aircraft in support of United States military operations worldwide. Individual Airmen also deploy regularly to locations around the world.

Photo: Col. Jim McReady, commander of the 107th Airlift Wing, presented the wreath at the Millard Fillmore grave in 2011.

May Day Family Day at Buffalo & Erie Historical


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On Sunday, May 1, from 1 to 4 pm, the Buffalo & Erie County Historical Society, 25 Nottingham Court, Buffalo, will host their first 2011 Family Day, presented with support from Northwest Buffalo Community Center. All ages are welcome and the grand opening of the newly refurbished Pioneer Life Gallery will be featured.

Visitors may watch and/or join students from the Aurora Waldorf School in a historic May Pole jig — the traditional May Pole dance ends up with ribbons festively woven around the pole. Additional entertainment and activities will also include: historic blacksmith and weaver demonstrations; pony rides; celebrate spring; learn about the historic May Day celebration; period arts and crafts for all ages; face painting; museum tours; local vendor tables.

Tickets are $5/member, $10/non-member. Adults are free with children’s paid admission. Adults unaccompanied by children (all are welcome) are also $5/member, $10/non-member.

Historic Preservation Event Grants Offered


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Want to attend the 2011 National Trust for Historic Preservation Conference in Buffalo from October 19 – 22, 2011? If you work in a New York State non-profit organization such as a library, college, or community-based group, you are eligible for a special Go! Grant.

These grants are offered to encourage cross-discipline learning and cross-organization collaboration, these special Go! Grants provide up to $500 to cover travel and registration costs to the conference. This opportunity is only available for New York professionals working for non-profits outside of the museum field. Applications are due on June 1, 2011.

To learn more visit www.museumwise.org.

Buffalo: Through Their Eyes Exhibit


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In collaboration with Journey’s End Refugee Services and CEPA Gallery, Buffalo & Erie County Historical Society presents “Buffalo: Through Their Eyes,” photography by international refugees living in Buffalo.

For their silver anniversary, Journey’s End asked recently arrived refugees to document the experience of adjusting to life as Buffalo’s newest residents. The participants received disposable cameras and training from CEPA Gallery. Their resulting images, reminiscent of early photographs of the ancestors of fellow Buffalonians, capture intimate moments in their homes, workplaces, communities; in essence the details of “their” Buffalo.

Twenty-five images from the “Buffalo: Through Their Eyes” project will be displayed from Friday, April 1 to Sunday, June 26, in the Historical Society’s Community Gallery. Admission to the gallery is free with paid museum admission.

There will be an opening reception, which is free and open to the public, on Sunday, April 3 from 12 to 5 pm.

Buffalo and Erie Co. Historical Seeks Volunteers


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The Buffalo & Erie County Historical Society is seeking docent tour guides, volunteers for community outreach programs, assistants for special events and research team members. Those interested in learning more about the programs can take part in a free orientation and training sessions this spring.

The dates are Saturdays, April 9, 16, 23, or Saturdays, May 7, 14, 21 — each session starts at 10 am and goes until 2 pm. Attendees should bring a lunch. Each session will provide guided tours of exhibits by museum education staff.

April 9 & May 7: Training in “Fact, Fiction & Spectacle: The Trial of Red Jacket” exhibit, Native American Gallery

April 16 & May 14: Pioneer Gallery, Street of Shops exhibit, architecture of the museum building

April 23 & May 21: Neighbors, Road to Freedom, Bflo Made exhibits

Volunteers and tour guides may be college students or older; and should have flexible schedules. There is an ongoing need for weekday tour guides.

To register, contact Tara Lyons, Program Manager, at 873-9644 x311 or bechsedu@bechs.org. For more information, see www.buffalohistory.org.

Photo: Buffalo and Erie Volunteers.

Exhibit: African American Women’s Literary Societies


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“They Kept Their Word: African American Women’s Literary Societies and Their Legacy” is a fascinating new exhibit that has opened at the Buffalo & Erie County Historical Society. The exhibit traces the development and influence of African Americans in Buffalo, particularly with regard to women’s efforts to improve their economic and intellectual conditions.

The remarkable growth and accomplishments that took place in the Buffalo area during the 1830s and 1840s were due to many factors, including expansion of communication through transportation, newspapers, pamphlets, study groups, and lecture series.


Photo: Mary Church Terrell was an influential African American woman in Buffalo in the 1900s. Photo provided.

Buffalo and Erie Receives Re-Accreditation


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The Buffalo & Erie County Historical Society has announced that it achieved re-accreditation by the American Association of Museums (AAM), the highest national recognition afforded the nation’s museums.

The Buffalo & Erie County Historical Society was initially accredited in 1974, and re-accredited in ’86 and ’99. All accredited museums undergo re-accreditation reviews approximately every 10 years to maintain that status.

Of the nation’s estimated 17,500 museums, 775 are currently accredited. The Historical Society is one of only 63 museums accredited in the state of New York, out of an estimated 900.

AAM’s Accreditation Commission, an independent and autonomous body of museum professionals, then considers the self-study and visiting committee report to determine whether a museum should receive accreditation. While the time to complete the process varies, it generally takes up to three years.

“Accreditation is emblematic of an institution’s commitment to public service and to overall excellence,” said Ford W. Bell, AAM president. “Attaining accreditation involves taking a hard look at yourself, allowing your peers in the field to do the same, and being judged to be superior in all areas. The people of Buffalo and the Western New York region can take great pride in the fact that their local institution is one of America’s premier museums.”

Buffalo And Erie Offers B-Movie Series


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The Buffalo & Erie County Historical Society, in collaboration with the Buffalo B-Movie Series, announces “Movie Tuesdays,” a five-month schedule of Tuesday night screenings — a movie a month now through March of 2011.

B-Movie co-founder Scott Washburn brings his cinematic curatorial sensibilities and mind for mischief to the History Museum, which will host the film’s screenings in their 150-seat auditorium. Doors open at 7, films start at 7:30. Admission is $5 for BECHS members, $8 general.

Schedule

Tuesday, November 30, 2010: “The Fall of the House of Usher” (1933)
Directed by Juan Epstein. A brilliant silent interpretation of the Poe classic.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010: “Scrooge” (1933)
The first known film version of Charles Dickens’ beloved classic, starring Seymour Hicks.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011: “M, Eine stadt sucht einen moerder” (1934)
A Fritz Lang film. A child-killer is captured and tried by the city street people when the police fail to catch him. Starring Peter Lorre, in his first major film role.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011: “A Trip to the Moon” (1902) & “The House of Usher” (1928)
The only double-bill of the series. “A Trip to the Moon” (French: Le Voyage dans la lune) is a short, silent, science-fiction film by Georges Melies. “The House of Usher” is a Dadaist short version of Poe’s classic tale; a gorgeous, surrealist visual interpretation.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011: “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” (1920)
Director Robert Wiene brings us the first modern horror film. It’s gone on to influence a number of contemporary productions. A real classic!

About The Buffalo B-Movie Series

Since 2008, the Buffalo B-Movie Series has been screening the best of the worst (and sometimes the worst of the worst) films it can find, in a variety of locations. Its fans and audiences appreciate scripts that even infamously bad directors like John Waters and Ed Wood passed up. Some of the movies screened are so bad that they appear to possibly have had no script at all. (N.B. “The Creeping Terror” and “Manos — Hands of Fate.”) Or, in the case of “The Creeping Terror,” which lost its original dialogue –are entertaining by virtue of some of the most hilarious dubbing on the planet.

B & E Society Offers Annual Train Day


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The Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society will hold its annual ‘Train Day’ on Friday, November 26 from 1-4pm. This day-after-Thanksgiving Buffalo tradition will feature the Museum’s Model Train diorama in action and running all day long.

There will also be family, children and all-age activities such as designing train-art paintings, story-time, artifact scavenger hunts, museum tours, and live folk music. All activities are included with regular museum admission.

Since 1990, the Historical Society’s Model Train Display has been cared for by a dedicated group of volunteers known as the Rail Barons. The diorama represents early 20th century Buffalo. Many important landmarks are included in miniature — such as the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural site (still in existence) and the Academy of Music (sadly, no longer around).

The display contains more than 100 handcrafted buildings, 450 people and animals, 400 trees, and over 300 feet of model railroad tracks. The diorama is composed of approximately 150 pounds of plaster and 100 different colors of paint.

Buffalo, Erie Co Historical to Host Book Signing, Sale


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The Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society presents its annual Local Author/Buffalo Book-Signing on Saturday, Nov. 27 from noon to 2 p.m. at the History Museum, located at 25 Nottingham Court at Elmwood Avenue in Buffalo.

The event, designed for shoppers looking for personalized gifts in a relaxed atmosphere, features over 20 local authors selling and signing their books. The wide range of publications-including cookbooks, neighborhood, regional and military history, novels and coffee-table books-makes this a perfect opportunity to shop for a variety of tastes.

This year’s event includes the following authors:

* Jim Arnone, Central Park, Buffalo, New York: A Neighborhood of History and Tradition (exclusively at BECHS!)

* Dr. Joseph Bieron, Postcard Views, Orchard Park

* Evelyn Brady, Peaceprints

* Steve Cichon, The Complete History of Parkside

* Gary Costello & Douglas Kohler, Hull Family Home & Homestead: A Bicentennial Celebration

* Lorna Czarnota, Legends, Lore and Secrets of Western New York

* Mark Donnelly, The Fine Art of Capturing Buffalo, Frozen Assets: The Beautiful Truth About Western New York’s Fourth Season

* John Edson, Hamburg: 1910-1970, Hamburg Revisited

* Julianna Fiddler-Woite, Snyder: A Brief History, WNY and the Gilded Age

* Catherine Gildiner, After the Falls: Coming of Age in the Sixties, Too Close to the Falls (New York Times bestseller)

* John Koerner, Mysteries of Father Baker, Father Baker Code

* George Kunz, Buffalo Memories

* Elizabeth Leader, Buffalo Snow

* Raya Lee, BPO Celebrates the First 75 Years

* Donald Mang, One Nation Under God (a novel)

* Nancy Mingus, Buffalo: Good Neighbors, Great Architecture

* Martin Nowak, The White House in Mourning: Deaths and Funerals of Presidents in Office

* Janice Okun, Buffalo Cooks with Janice Okun

* Laura Pedersen, Buffalo Gal, Buffalo Unbound-a Celebration

* John Percy, Buffalo-Niagara Connections, Town of Tonawanda

* Joseph Ritz,Blood Along The Niagara – A Guidebook to Battles of the War of 1812 an Hour’s Drive from Niagara Falls

* Erno Rossi, White Death: The Blizzard of ’77

* Maria Scrivani, Brighter Buffalo

* Christine Smyczynski, An Explorer’s Guide to Western New York

* Wanda Slawinska & Edward Szemraj, The Polonian Legacy of Western New York

* Joel Thomas, Creature Comforts

* Mason Winfield, A Ghosthunter’s Journal, Haunted Places of Western New York, Shadows of the Western Door, Village Ghosts of Western New York, Spirits of the Great Hill, Ghosts of 1812

Aside from this collection of books, some of which can be purchased only at the Historical Society, the museum shop offers unique Buffalo-themed gifts, including jewelry, fine art prints, maps, educational toys. It is also an opportunity to peruse and purchase from their exclusive 1901 Pan-American Exposition-themed items.

The Local Author Book Signing is free and open to the public. For more information, call the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society at (716) 873-9644 or visit www.buffalohistory.org.

Lecture: Red Jacket, Role of Six Nations in War of 1812


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Dr. Alan S. Taylor, a renowned and award-winning author and historian, will be at the Buffalo & Erie County Historical Society‘s history museum this Saturday, November 13, 2010, at 1:30 p.m., for a talk entitled “Red Jacket and the Role of the Six Nations in the War of 1812.” Local interest is mounting for the 2012 bicentennial of the War of 1812. In addition, the museum currently has an exhibit exploring Red Jacket in the context of John Mix Stanley’s monumental painting “The Trial of Red Jacket.”


Taylor is the author of six American history books, and has won the Pulitzer, Beveridge, and Bancroft prizes for his scholarly writing. His newest release is titled The Civil War of 1812: American Citizens, British Subjects, Irish Rebels, & Indian Allies (Random House). The book is available at the museum gift shop, and the author will be available to sign copies of it after the lecture.

Taylor is currently serving as a visiting professor, holding the prestigious Douglas Southall Freeman Chair in History at the University of Richmond, Virginia; he has been a professor of American History at University of California at Davis since 1994.

The lecture program is in support of the History Museum’s current exhibit, “Fact, Fiction and Spectacle: The Trial of Red Jacket,” which uses as its starting point the huge canvas by John Mix Stanley. Attendees to the lecture are encourage to view the exhibit, which is in the Museum’s lower floor gallery, when they are here for the lecture.

Buffalo and Erie Co. Historical Announces Awards


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The Board of Managers and Regents of the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society has announced that it has selected Wayne D. Wisbaum, and brothers Christopher T. and Finley R. Greene, as recipients of its annual Red Jacket award. Wisbaum is an an attorney and devoted public servant, as is Christopher Greene. The late Finley Greene was a fundraising professional who aided many non-profit causes and organizations over the course of his decades-long career. The board will present the awards at a dinner and ceremony at the Historical Society on Thursday, Nov. 18 at 6 p.m.

The Red Jacket Award is given annually in recognition of quiet, continued, unbroken devotion to civic progress. Created 53 years ago, in 1957, by the Buffalo & Erie County Historical Society, the award is based upon a medal presented in 1792 by President George Washington to the renowned Seneca orator and leader Red Jacket.

“The selection of these three men to receive this award carries special significance, as we are living in a time when civic progress is needed more than ever. They and their work stand for the powerful effects that individuals can have in their communities, without drawing attention to themselves or asking for anything in return,” said Joan Bukowski, president of the board of managers of the Buffalo & Erie County Historical Society. “It is a great privilege to honor these three Buffalonians.”

During the ceremony, the board will bestow two additional awards. Charles LaChiusa will receive the Owen B. Augspurger award, which recognizes local historians devoted to the preservation of Erie County’s heritage. And the Grant Amherst Business Association will receive the Daniel B. Niederlander award for outstanding programming by a Western New York historical organization.

The Historical Society currently has on exhibit the original Peace Medal that was given to Red Jacket by George Washington, in its new and ongoing exhibit, “Fact, Fiction & Spectacle: The Trial of Red Jacket.”

The 2010 Red Jacket Awards dinner will be held at the Historical Society at 25 Nottingham Court at Elmwood Avenue in Buffalo. Tickets are $150 per person or $275 per couple. Table packages and corporate sponsorship opportunities are available. For reservations and more information, call the Historical Society development office at 716-873-9644, ext. 318.

Buffalo and Erie’s 12th Annual ‘Paint the Town’


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The Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society has announced its 12th annual Paint the Town fundraising event, which takes place this year on Thursday, September 23, from 5:30 to 9 p.m. In an updated format, the fundraiser will feature both live and silent auctions, and include a wide range of artworks by almost 60 artists with strong ties to the Buffalo region.

Items in the auctions will include paintings by Peter Fowler, Mark Lavatelli, Nathan Naetzker, and Catherine Parker; prints by Sally Cook, Roycroft Renaissance Master Artisan Dorothy Markert, Julian Montague, and Michael Morgulis; photographs by Lukia Costello, Lesley Maia Horowitz and Gene Witkowski; mixed media works by Russell Ram and Gerald Mead; and glassworks by Marcelo Florencio and Jane Jacobson.

The auctions will also feature works by historically important artists, donated by local galleries, including the Benjaman Gallery, Meibohm Fine Arts, Muleskinner, Dana Tillou Fine Arts, 20th Century Finest, and Vern Stein Fine Arts. Those works include vintage pieces by painter Carlo Nisita (1895-1990) and printmaker Amos Sangster (1833-1904).

Subjects range from the Buffalo Zoo, to views of the harbor, train station, and grain elevators, to Niagara Falls, to a wildflower growing through a crack in a Buffalo pavement.

Starting at 5:30, a buffet of appetizers and small bites will be served, while the silent auction begins. Thom Diina will provide musical accompaniment to the evening, and food will be catered by Oliver’s; an open bar, offering wine, beer and soft drinks, is also included.

After the anticipation and excitement of the silent auction, at 8 p.m., auctioneer Kelly Schultz of Kelly Schultz Auctions and Antiques will rouse the crowd to a frenzy of bidding over the live portion of the auction.

Tickets are $50 for members of the Historical Society, $70 for non-members. Those who would like to make an additional donation with their ticket purchase may select patron level tickets, which are $150 each. Such support will be acknowledged in the event catalog. Tickets are available by calling (716) 873-9644 x318.

The event takes place at the Historical Society’s iconic 1901 building, with views overlooking Delaware Park. There is ample free parking. The event is supported by HSBC.

The Historical Society will celebrate its 150th anniversary in 2012.

Online: John Timon – Buffalo’s First Bishop



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New York History Review has just published online John Timon – Buffalo’s First Bishop
: His Forgotten Struggle to Assimilate Catholics in Western New York

 by Paul E. Lubienecki. Timon assimilated Catholics and Catholic women into the culture of western New York and established Catholicism while battling the local Protestant clergy and the Catholic hierarchy. You can read more about him here.

Mr. Lubienecki is a doctoral student of History at Case Western Reserve University. His dissertation topic is on the history and influence of the Catholic Church on the American labor movement. The article can be found here on the New York History Review website

Illustration: Bishop John Timon Bust, The Right Rev. John Timon, Bishop of Buffalo, 1847-1867, plaster, A. Pellegrini, Buffalo, 1885. On display in 2002 at Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society.

‘Perceiving Buffalo’ Autistic Artists Exhibit


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The Buffalo & Erie County Historical Society (BECHS) has announced “Perceiving Buffalo,” an exhibit of works by artists from Autistic Services, Inc. (ASI). The show opened in BECHS’ second-floor Community Gallery on July 1st and will run through Sunday, August 22, 2010. The exhibit is open to the public, and free with regular museum admission.

In addition, there will be a celebratory reception sponsored by Autistic Services Inc., on Thursday, July 22, from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Historical Society. The reception is free and open to the public.

The exhibit, curated by BECHS Museum Educator Tara Lyons, and facilitated by ASI staff members Veronica Federiconi, Dana Ranke, Todd Lesmeister, and Brian Kavanaugh features work by Aaron B., Dan C., Stacey M. and Neil S., four artists from ASI’s Arts Work Program.

The selected paintings and drawings mesh the works of the artists with BECHS’ mission to tell the stories of people and places in the region. The show highlights the artists’ interests in and creative interpretations of iconic Buffalo landmarks and community figures. Portraits include those of Ani DiFranco, Tim Russert, and one featuring three local newscasters. In addition, there is a series of drawings of Buffalo public school buildings. A short film of artist Neil S. will describe the artists’ creative process and his deep personal connection to the subject matter.

Autistic Services Inc. is a community organization that promotes the awareness of autism and provides treatment, education, and care for individuals with autism spectrum disorders. The Arts Work Program, through which the works in “Perceiving Buffalo” were created, is part of the ASI’s individual therapy rooted in the creation of visual arts.

The reception will be held in the State Court of the Historical Society, and will feature a performance by No Words Spoken, a group of musicians which also evolved through Autistic Services programming. Wine and cheese will be served, and the public is invited to attend this free evening event.

Maritime Center Offers Family Boat Building


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In collaboration with Buffalo Place the Buffalo Maritime Center is holding a Family Boat-Building workshop on the Buffalo Waterfront. Under the guidance of skilled boat-builders, families will construct their own boat this Saturday and Sunday, July 10th and 11th (9 am – 4 pm). Everything needed to build the boat, along with instruction, will be provided to participants who can choose one from two boats: the 6 Hour Canoe (15 feet long, cost $600) or the Black Rock Skimmer (15 feet long, cost $750).

This first-ever Family Boat Building weekend for the Buffalo Maritime Center is designed for families that want to foster their cross-generational bonding and discover how well they can work together – introducing old and young family members to
woodworking. Families will take their boats home for painting and miscellaneous finish work. No previous woodworking experience required.

The workshop will be held adjacent to the Central Wharf near the Naval & Military Park located at the foot of Pearl and Main streets, across from HSBC Arena. Space is limited, so reserve soon by calling the Buffalo Maritime Center at (716) 878-6532
or e-mailing buffalomc901@gmail.com.

Buffalo & Erie Co. Historical Names New Director


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The board of managers of the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society today named Melissa N. Brown, an expert in Western New York history and the Historical Society’s director of research and interpretation, its new director.

Brown, 36, becomes the museum’s 11th director and succeeds Cynthia A. Conides PhD., who will return to her full-time job with Buffalo State College, which “loaned” Dr. Conides and her expertise to the Society for the past four years. Dr. Conides will stay on part time as curator of special projects at the Historical Society’s museum.

Brown, who helped drive the popular “Buffalo Bills 50th Anniversary Season” exhibit last fall, worked closely with Dr. Conides, the head of the college’s Museum Studies Program, on a series of recent initiatives at the Historical Society. Brown is an expert in managing collections and has consulted on more than a dozen major exhibits at the Society and at other Western New York museums.

She will transition into her new position as Dr. Conides reverts to the college by Dec. 31. This will also give Brown time to complete work on a major museum initiative “John Mix Stanley’s Trial of Red Jacket,” opening in October at the Nottingham Court museum.

“This is a logical transition of expert leadership and the board of managers is delighted that Melissa can move seamlessly to carry on the work Cynthia initiated to grow and modernize the museum,” said Joan M. Bukowski, president of the Society’s board. “We are extremely gratified that Melissa has worked her way through the museum’s hierarchy to this position of ultimate responsibility. We are impressed by her innovation and imagination and look forward to where she will take us.”

“We are also cognizant that among Buffalo’s leading cultural institutions, including the Albright-Knox, Science Museum and Zoo, the Historical Society also now has a vibrant young leader from a new generation of museum innovators,” Bukowski said.

Brown returned to her native region from Boston to join the Society’s staff in 1998 as a collections assistant. She received her M.A. in Historical Administration from Eastern Illinois University in 2000, adding to her 1995 B.A. in history with a museum studies minor from the State University of New York at Oswego.

“This of course represents a fantastic opportunity for me to build on the superior example and leadership of Cynthia Conides and continue our effort to modernize the museum and bring its exhibits up to and beyond current expectations,” Brown said. “I’m grateful to the board of managers, and the excellent staff here at the museum for this opportunity and I pledge to use all my energy and expertise to make sure we reach our shared goals.”

Dec. 31 also represents the end of the present four-year agreement between the museum and Buffalo State College. The “memorandum of understanding” allows the college, across Elmwood Avenue from the museum, to aid the museum, as it did with Dr. Conides’ involvement. The board and the college are currently negotiating an extension, which will start Jan. 1, 2011.

A resident of Gasport, Brown has been involved in nearly all the major archiving and collections work at the Society in the last 10 years. Her responsibilities included providing commentary, developing interpretive materials, facilitating exhibit design, performing historic research and scripts, and furthering and maintaining the museum’s collection.

More About The Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society

The Society’s mission is to maximize the educational potential for our community’s vast resources and abundant narratives through innovative programming, partnerships and collaborations; to share, preserve and add to our outstanding collections to tell the stories of Western New York, from the ordinary to the extraordinary. The Society’s building, designated a National Historic Landmark in 1987, is the only permanent building erected for the Pan-American Exposition, Buffalo’s international fair attended by 8 million people from May to November 1901. The Exposition is best known for being the largest showcase to that time of the uses of electrical illumination. It celebrated the technological innovations that had recently harnessed the generating power of nearby Niagara Falls. During the Exposition, the building served as the New York State Pavilion and was the scene of an intensive schedule of receptions welcoming distinguished guests from around the world.

Awarded the design commission by a state-sponsored competition, young Buffalo architect George Cary (1859-1945), who had been classically trained in Paris, designed the building, faced and corniced with Vermont marble, in Doric style. The beautiful south portico, overlooking Hoyt Lake in Delaware Park, is a scaled-down version of the east front of the Parthenon, in Athens. Cary was able to complete his original design in 1927 when the building was enlarged to accommodate the present-day Library and Auditorium. Eleven relief sculptures, designed by Edmund Amateis, surround the building, each depicting a significant event in local history. The bronze entry doors, designed by J. Woodley Gosling and sculpted by R. Hinton Perry, show allegorical figures depicting “History” and “Ethnology.”

After the Exposition closed, the building became the headquarters of the Buffalo Historical Society in 1902. The Society, founded in 1862, had previously displayed its growing collections in a series of rented spaces in downtown Buffalo. Today the building hosts the Historical Society’s Research Library (collections include 20,000 books, 200,000 photographs and 2,000 manuscript collections), its Auditorium, long term exhibits BFLO Made! and Neighbors, galleries for temporary exhibits, and the Museum Shop. BECHS is a private not-for-profit organization tax exempt under Sec. 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. It receives operating support from the County of Erie, the City of Buffalo, the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA, a state agency), and from members and friends. BECHS is accredited by the American Association of Museums.

Local Radio Rewarded For Polish Legacy Piece


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Buffalo radio station WBFO (88.7) has received a regional Edward R. Murrow Award by the Radio-Television News Directors Association for a story about the Polish Legacy Project (PLP), a group of people whose aim is to capture the stories of Polish survivors of World War Two while they are still alive. The piece aired last year just before the PLP’s Untold Stories Conference.

The story was produced by Joyce Kryszak. You can listen to the story and hear clips of interviews with Polish WWII survivors here.