Family Fun

Greetings from the Program & Engagement Coordinator

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Megan MacNeill, Program & Engagement Coordinator with actor Josh Gad, who came to visit the museum while in Buffalo filming.

Hello! My name is Megan, you may have seen me here at The Buffalo History Museum, running programs, crafts, and activities! As Program and Engagement Coordinator, I am tasked with creating and running lectures, our ever-popular Train Day, and many other events throughout the year. While I am not a native Buffalonian, I have come to love my new city, and all the history and experiences that it has offered me.

I have been in my position here for a year and a half, and it has flown by! Previously, I lived, studied, and worked in Philadelphia, PA. I went to graduate school and received my MFA in Museum Exhibition Planning and Design. Before I came to Buffalo, I had worked in nine different museums and many different disciplines; from horse racing and dance, to outsider art and the history of chemistry. Regardless of the museum, the amazing stories are what keeps me passionate about my work (and an ever-hopeful Jeopardy! candidate). For instance, the first synthetic dye was developed on accident by a man named William Henry Perkin. When he created that bright mauve color, he was hoping for a synthetic quinine to help treat malaria. My favorite stories here are the not-so-apparent ones. The hidden fossils in the floor of the State Court, the tiny “make-due” piece of a blue star in a quilt, and the symbolism in our WWI propaganda posters.

My love for museums, like many of my peers and colleagues, came from an early age. When I was little my family would take yearly trips to Washington, D.C. My sister and I would drag my parents to the same exhibit, the gemstone room at the National Museum of Natural History. We were fascinated by the colors and sizes, and of course, the Hope Diamond.hopediamond(courtesy of SI) I am incredibly fortunate; every vacation we took as a family featured at least one day-trip to a museum or historic site. Though my parent’s ploy to make us learn may have worked too well, my dad almost kicked my sister and I out of the van on a trip home from Cape Cod because we so desperately and relentlessly were asking to visit the Sandwich Glass Museum again. Luckily we stopped for a visit. What sticks with me just as much as the stories and facts that I’ve learned, is the time spent with loved ones. I feel that museums have a dynamic way of opening us up to learning and also to being in the moment and connecting with each other. This is why I love what I do. Providing our guests with the opportunity to engage not only with our objects and exhibits, but with each other.
So please come viCyanotypeinProgresssit us! Every Third Friday I run hands-on activities in our State Court. They are free and accessible to all ages. In June, we made solar prints. Harkening back to my days as a photography major, we placed found objects on light-sensitive paper, and created our own cyanotypes.

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This summer I will be representing the museum down at Canalside as well! Come see some great old views of the historic canal district (sourced from our library of course) and learn about the history of the Erie Canal! Mondays 12-4, Wednesdays 11-3.

The Tides of Change

AG_BabyShowerIt is amazing the difference only a year can make. The summer of 2015 was carefree, full of late nights with friends and packed with preparation for all the events held at The Buffalo History Museum. It was one of my favorite summers to date; I tried to soak it all in and garner as many memories as possible. IMG_0039I knew – I just knew that no other summer would be the same, you see I was pregnant with my first daughter. Darcy Rose entered the world after a smooth pregnancy in late November of 2015. And I was right, this summer is not the same, she has been life changing – in the best way possible.

POTPWhile last summer was fun; having that pregnancy glow, everyone congratulating you, even receiving all that advice, all while working as hard as possible to present The Museum in the best way – this summer is better. I may have been the one pregnant but when Darcy was born she entered more than just her small family of myself and her father, the whole Museum adopted her. She will grow up here at the Museum, at our Food Truck Rodeos and Toddler Story Time. I am excited to introduce Darcy to all the people and things I love about The Buffalo History Museum.

Darcy SunglassesBeing a working mom is hard and not only for the mom. Schedules can change suddenly, what worked before may not work now. Through all the trials and tribulations my fellow staff members have been amazing. As a new mother The Buffalo History Museum has come to mean more than a place to enjoy and work. It has become a legacy of fun and education for my friends and family.

Alexis Greinert
Membership & Events Manager

Letter from the Executive Director

Melissa2traditions, family, friends, warmth, summer. . . celebrations!

Greetings!

Newsletter15_CoverThe costumed people on the cover and the theme of this edition of “The Album,” prompts me to share a favorite summer memory and a sentiment about the Museum’s celebrations…

On the third Sunday of July, the Ganshaw and Koeppen families, my maternal ancestors, convene. The reunion dates back to just before I was born and has always been a steadfast summer tradition.

At one o’clock the folding chairs emerge under the old tree canopy. Requisite sacred beer steins, a choice dish-to-pass, family dessert specialties, and fun door prizes are the order of the day. Adding to the processional-like set up, my grandmother and her eleven siblings would gather costumes to don before dinner. The Aunts and Uncles slipped on and into oversized old hats and miss-matched garments, patriotic sashes, loud ties, and character costumes of the day (yep, a Big Bird get-up and the like did not push boundaries of flamboyancy). Grilled marinade chicken cooked over old half-barrel charcoal pits made our mouths water as this colorful feast of family fun – all made sacred-in-tradition by the clipped cadence of Great-Uncle Bill’s German blessing – wafts in warm summer memories of my youth.

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Now in its 11th year, Party on the Portico has come to brand the same delightful recall of tradition and idyllic summer gatherings on the steps and grounds of the Museum’s portico (minus the zany costumes).  Or, as we like to say, our sensational porch party!  Each summer, at each of the three portico parties, we greet a reunion of our history Museum “family” members, friends and new faces (soon to be familiar) to celebrate al fresco the people, their stories, the gorgeous views, the music, and, of course, the glorious Museum. 

FoodTruckRodeo_AllDates_SqWith the Food Truck Rodeo in its 4th season, the first Wednesday in June, July, August, and September, we’ve enjoyed regular visits from families who claim their own special tree to spread a blanket and sup outdoors on the Museum grounds while taking in the nature, music and sunshine. Friends and families also take advantage of free admission and kid-friendly activities offered.

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The Antique and Classic Car show offers the same convivial annual summertime treat for all who love gleaming motorized works of art on display the first Sunday in August. 

With all the wonderful gatherings happening not only at the Museum, but everywhere in town, I hope you choose to embrace our family and share in some of the tradition…the history…the celebration! 

We’d love to see you. 

Melissa

Street of Shops Makeover

streetofshopssignsAbove the staircase and leading to the museum’s lower level are engraved words, “1870s Street of Shops.” This signage and the exhibit it teases were intended to endure time. For over a half century, it has done just that.

The exhibit lies within earshot of my office, from which I have listened as thousands of visitors have passed through the artificial streetscape. Many reminisce about their childhoods, each storefront sparking a different story. Others recall seeing the display with their parents when they were young. It became evident that the exhibit had, over time, become as much a part of people’s memories as the items held within it.

streetofshops2In recognition of this, we worked to update the Street of Shops while maintaining its history and charm. The exhibit now boasts a new paint job, with colors inspired by late 19th century paint swatches preserved in our library. A newly installed ceiling painted as the sky adds to the display’s immersive ambience. The most notable change, however, is the space formerly occupied by our Buffalo Savings Bank display which has been transformed into a family-friendly interactive photo studio. 

BfloBlissCutieThe newly added space, Bliss Bros. Studio, was inspired by a longstanding and well-respected photography business which first opened on Main Street in 1861. For over 50 years, the Bliss family produced some of the city’s finest portraits and landscapes. Now, the story of their business will be shared with our visitors.

bflobliss2Inside the studio, guests are encouraged to dress up in vintage clothing and pose in front of our custom made backdrop to create their own vintage portrait. Images may be shared via social media by using the hashtag #buffalobliss. When at the Museum, visit our new studio, take your picture (or a “selfie” as it were) and join in on the fun while being a part of continuing story of photography.

Anthony Greco
Director of  Exhibits & Interpretive Planning

(This article was featured in our Summer 2015 issue of “The Album“. TBHM’s quarterly newsletter)

How to Make Your Own Turkey Magnet While Exploring History

Here at The Buffalo History Museum we want to engage all of our visitors. Creating hands-on activities and crafts is a wonderful way to show young minds that our museum is more than a place with exhibits on view, museums are places to explore! These turkeys are simple to make and a great way to be creative on Thanksgiving! Fun for the whole family!

You will need:

• Colored Paper • Scissors • A clothespin • Glue • Feathers or other decorations (Let your turkey be fancy!) • A magnet

Instructions:

TurkeyCraft

1. Trace your hands cut them out, glue to the back of a clothespin.

2. While the glue dries, cut out a small circle for the face. Draw your turkey’s features or use googly eyes. IMG_3345

3. Glue the face to the top of the clothespin.

4. If you have one, stick the magnet strip to the back of your clothespin.

5. Decorate the front of your turkey!

6. When everything is dry, hang it on your fridge to admire.

IMG_3346**Fun Fact: Did you know? The biggest farm turkey ever weighed over 86 pounds, according the Guinness Book of World Records. His name was Tyson.

Share your turkey magnets with us! Find us on: Facebook, Twitter (@BuffaloHistory) or Instagram (@buffalohistorymuseum) Use the #TBHMTURKEY   -Megan MacNeill Program & Engagement Coordinator

Start Your Engines!

Last year’s 1st Antique & Classic Car Show at The Buffalo History Museum.

The Buffalo History Museum 2nd Annual Antique & Classic Car Show is nigh!

The rain or shine festivities will showcase prized autos that are true works of gleaming history, art and industry on wheels. Among the hundred plus cars anticipated (provided the weather is fair), this year introduces a special section for cars “Made In Buffalo” and will feature 1936 Pierce Arrow Coupe and 3 Playboy Motor Cars.

Adding to a full day of history fun, the Museum is offering free admission, free docent led mini- tours… And, what’s an event without food? Bring your own picnic or nosh on the old fashion menu of favorite festival foods while chillin’ out to the ‘Hit Parade’ tunes by DJ ICE!

Nalina Shapiro from Channel 4 – WIVB will host the awards ceremony portion of the event.

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News 4 Buffalo WIVB Nalina Shapiro

WHEN: Sunday, August 3, 2014
TIME: 12 noon – 4 p.m.
COST: Museum admission and show are free
WHERE: The Buffalo History Museum
One Museum Court (Elmwood Ave. and Nottingham Terr.)

Since our parking lot is filled with show cars, there is parking along the park edge and additional parking can be found in McKinley High School lot at 1500 Elmwood, just across the street and a half block north of the Museum

By the way, if you have a show car and wish to enter: registration for cars day of event is from 9:00 to 11:30 a.m. Cost is only $15. The coveted dash plaque magnets – collected by participants – will be given to the first 100 registrants.

Affordable Summer Fun

SummerPassFlyerAs a twenty-something professional, looking for something to do after work – something cost effective, interesting, and fun – with so much going on in WNY, can be quite a hunt. That’s why I am so excited to share the news about the great deal that the Summer Season Pass offers.

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Party on the Portico featuring the Informers, July 2013

The Buffalo History Museum has partnered with Preservation Buffalo Niagara this summer to offer a joint membership for the 2014 June, July and August months, for only twenty dollars!

All membership perks are honored by The Museum and PBN: free exhibits, discounted Party on the Portico happy hour series (only $5!), free educational programming, and much more.

All told, the Buffalover will fall even deeper in love with the city after taking advantage of this great deal. Check it out, give me a call and I’ll sign you up: 873 -9644 ext 318; or, register online.

Hope to see you on the Portico … or maybe at a lecture … or maybe on a tour!

Alexis Greinert
Donor Relations and Membership Coordinator 

Think Cherry Blossoms!

The Buffalo History Museum in Cherry Blossoms
The Buffalo History Museum and
Cherry Blossoms

The Japanese Gardens of Buffalo were originally conceived in 1970 with construction being complete in 1972. The purpose was to create a place of beauty and tranquility as well as commemorate the sister city relationship between Buffalo, New York and Kanazawa, Japan. Based on a famous garden in Kanazawa, Japan the Japanese Gardens of Buffalo are located in the Fredrick Law Olmsted Parkway system on the banks of Mirror Lake behind The Buffalo History Museum. The Gardens feature three islands, Japanese garden lanterns, pagodas, and a pathway with rustic stone steps imported from Japan. It is considered a horticultural masterpiece with over one thousand plants, including fifty flowering Cherry Blossom trees and an extensive Hosta collection, donated by the Hosta Society of Western New York. There is also a collection of Japanese Maple and Evergreen trees.

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The first ever Buffalo Cherry Blossom Festival will be held from April 23 to May 4, 2014 in and around the Japanese Garden in Delaware Park, Buffalo, New York.

The Buffalo History Museum is thrilled to be among the several local cultural organizations that will assist in executing interpretive programming for visitors of all ages and walks of life.

  • An academic lecture and book signing with Dr. Francis Kowsky who will speak about his publication, ” The Best Planned City in the World: Olmsted, Vaux, and the Buffalo Park System. That takes place on Wednesday, April 16, 2014 at 6:30 p.m.
  • A traditional Japanese Tea Ceremony that will take place at The Buffalo History Museum on Wednesday April 23, 2014. Visitors will have the opportunity to observe the ancient Ceremony lead by Atsuko Nishida-Mitchell.
  • On Saturday, April 26 with a lecture and booking signing by Washington D.C. based author Ann McClellan. McClellan will speak about her book, “The Cherry Blossom Festival: Sakura Celebration.” The lecture will discuss the long standing and famous Cherry Blossom Festival of the nation’s capital and draw parallels to Buffalo’s inaugural celebration.
  • Activities will take place in the Japanese Gardens throughout the entire Festival including Japanese kite making, games, dancers, musicians, puppeteers, and dancers.
  • CherryBlossomDay On Sunday, May 4, Cherry Blossom Family Day features artifact scavenger hunts, museum tours, live performers and lots more!

Tara Lyons,
Program Manager