Tag Archives: Buffalo

Buffalo & Erie Co. Historical Names New Director


By on

0 Comments

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


By on

0 Comments

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.

Buffalo Maritime Center Building War of 1812 Bateau


By on

0 Comments

The Buffalo Maritime Center’s new project to build a replica War of 1812 Bateau is now underway. Work sessions on the 25-foot boat will be held on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 5:00 to 9:00 pm beginning February 23rd in the boat shop at 901 Fuhrmann Boulevard, Buffalo. According to organizers this will be the first bateau built in Buffalo in 200 years.

Anyone interested in participating can visit the shop any time during regular hours to check on the progress of construction. Check their website for shop hours, directions, and/or email for more information.

The boat building program officially began as a part of the Buffalo State College Design Department in 1988, recognizing the importance of boat design, naval architecture, and the craft of boat construction as important fields within the design disciplines.

Conference: Poland to Buffalo Through WWII


By on

0 Comments

The Polish Legacy Project in Buffalo will be hosting a conference, “Poland to Buffalo Through WWII: Untold Stories Come Alive” in that city on October 3rd and 4th. The aim of the conference is to highlight the stories of Polish WWII survivors who settled in Western New York as a result of the war. This is the first time an event such as this has been organized in the 60 + years that these survivors have been in this country. Up until now, they have kept their experiences to themselves and their children, speaking about them almost exclusively in Polish.

Among the survivors speaking at the conference will be: a veteran of the Warsaw Uprising, a veteran of the battle at Falaise, a survivor of Soviet labor camps and a survivor of German labor camps.

For more information visit: http://PolishLegacyBuffalo.com

Rochester, Buffalo Preservationists Join Forces


By on

1 Comment

The directors of two Buffalo area preservation groups voted to merge their organizations late last week. Both the Landmark Society of the Niagara Frontier and the Preservation Coalition of Erie County will now be merged into one organization – Preservation Buffalo Niagara.

According to Buffalo Business First, the decision comes after nine months of negotiations. Preservation Buffalo Niagara will be governed by a 21-member board; 10 of the seats will be filled from existing directors and the remaining spots will be filled anew.

Buffalo Rising has more of the story:

According to Harvey [McCartney, retired Director of the Landmark Society] and Cynthia [Van Ness, President of the Preservation Coalition of Erie County], the new organization will have its work cut out. In addition to playing a key role in preparing for the 2011 conference, several longstanding preservation issues need to be addressed, including conducting more historic resource surveys (Rochester was fully surveyed in the 1980’s, Buffalo has not been), and bringing more preservation attention to Buffalo’s east side. A common thread through the discussions was the need for the new organization to get out in front of preservation issues and be proactive, rather than reactive—which all too often results in bruising preservation battles with preservationists being labeled “obstructionists.”

There will be a national search for an executive director in the months to come.

2008 America’s Most Endangered Historic Places


By on

0 Comments

Two locations in New York State have been listed on the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s annual list of America’s Most Endangered Places. The non-profit membership organization hopes that saving the places where great moments from history – and the important moments of everyday life – took place, will help revitalize neighborhoods and communities, spark economic development, and promote environmental sustainability.

This years list includes eleven threatened one-of-a-kind historic treasures. Listing them as threatened raises awareness and helps rally resources to save them. The two New York locations on the list are:

The Lower East Side, New York City – The Lower East Side embodies the history of immigration, one of the central themes of American history in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, yet development threatens to erase the surviving historic structures. This includes houses of worship, historic theaters, schools and the tenement, a unique architectural type which, by the sheer numbers who lived in such a building, had an impact on more Americans than any other form of urban housing. A New York City landmark designation and contextual zone changes within the neighborhood would preserve the physical character of the neighborhood. [At left Lower East Side Tenement by Greg Scaffidi]

Peace Bridge Neighborhood, Buffalo, N.Y. – The neighborhood and the site, with homes and buildings dating to the 1850s on two National Register Olmsted parks, is an iconic section of the City of Buffalo. The Public Bridge Authority (PBA) proposes to expand Peace Bridge and include a 45 acre plaza that will eliminate over 100 homes and businesses (dozens of which are eligible to the National Register) and diminish the Olmsted parks. Suitable alternate sites exist, but PBA refuses to properly consider them. [At right: Peace Bridge Neighborhood by Catherine Schweitzer]

A complete list along with a video produced by the History Channel is located at www.PreservationNation.org