Summer

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.

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

Porch Party!

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The Buffalo History Museum grooves into its 11th Annual Party on the Portico summer happy hour series on M&T Third Fridays – June, July, and August. The popular outdoor summer soiree features historic delights and great live music – all happening the most magnificent back porch steps and surrounding grounds in town. This year’s line-up brings to stage a mix of young talent swinging the local scene and the finest venerated musicians around. First up (June 17) is Fredtown Stompers (Sean Ebert, trumpet/cornet/vocals; Mike “Magoo” McGough- piano/vocals; Melissa Sauers, clarinet /vocals; Ralph DeMarco, tenor sax; Brian DeJesus, bass; Brian McKenna, drums) a fun six-piece band who bring Dixieland tunes into full swing. Nothing says summer like some good Naw ‘leans jazz in Western New York. Next (July 15) features the sultrier side of summer with The Shadows featuring DeeAnn DiMeo. All with a pulse will groove and dance to the smokin’ hot soul and R&B music by venerated musicians: Bob Falk (guitar, vocals); Ron Davis (keyboards vocals); Reggie Evans (drums, vocals); and, Chris Haug (bass). Finally (Aug 19), and so worth the wait, The Willies take the stage with Buffalo’s revered players: Willie Schoellkopf (guitar, vocals); Bob Falk (guitar, vocals); Jim Ehinger (keyboards, vocals); Steve Sadoff (Fender bass); and, Mike Phelps (drums). Clapton, The Band, and Steely Dan lovers become joyful when this band cuts loose.

2015-08-21 16.47.23Party on the Portico, guests meet up with friends and enjoy live music, party snacks, cash bar, free 15-minute mini tours of the Museum, and spectacular views of Delaware Park. Always a great time…Come hang on our porch with us!

Time: 5:30 – 8:30 pm
Tix: $5 member/$10 general (Tickets go on sale May 15)
Additional parking in McKinley High School lot
The general public may contact 716-873-9644 / info@buffalohistory.org  or visit www.buffalohistory.org.
The series runs rain or shine and is exclusively for guests ages 21 and over.
Party on the Portico – August is sponsored by Medaille College
M&T THIRD FRIDAYS is sponsored by M&T Bank.
Media Sponsor: WBBZ-TV

Constance Caldwell
Director of Communications and Community Engagement

 

Spotlight Artifact: Bathing Suits

Now that summer is finally upon us, we decided to share a past article from our Summer 2013 issue of “The Album,” featuring two bathing suits from our collection.


 

Wool Swinsuit, 20-30s

Bathing Suit • “Neptune’s Daughter” • Niagara Knitting Mills Corporation Wool • 1920s-1930s

The swimsuit has a long and varied history. In the early 1900s, women wore long gowns with bloomers underneath. These bathing gowns were weighted down by several heavy layers of material, occasionally with weights sewn into the hem so the material would not float. Fabrics were chosen for bathing suits that would not become transparent when wet. By the 1920s, swimsuits were mostly made out of wool for that very reason. Being so absorbent, swimsuits tended to become heavy and uncomfortable, not to mention itchy in the summer sun. This black wool swimsuit from our collection dates from the 1920s to the 1930s. Labeled “Neptune’s Daughter,” this one-piece swimming suit with attached knickers was made by the Niagara Knitting Mills Corporation of New York, NY.

Bathing Suit Rose Marie Reid of California Acetate 1960s-1970s

Bathing Suit • Rose Marie Reid of California • Acetate • 1960s-1970s

By the 1930s and 40s, bathing suits were rapidly changing. Hemlines were shorter and more bare skin was showing. It was not until the late 40s and early 50s that one-piece bathing suits, or maillots, started to be produced in a variety of fabrics, moving away from wool. For comparison, we have a patterned swimsuit, from the 1960s to the 1970s. This brown, yellow, and black stripped acetate bathing suit, donated by Angela Georgi, was created by Rose Marie Reid of California. Made from a light-weight, stretchy fabric, one would imagine that this would have been much more comfortable to wear to the beach.

Rebecca Justinger
Registrar

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