Author: Submitted by the Black Rock Historical Society:
The Black Rock Historical Society (BRHS) is pleased to announce that the Board of Regents of the University of the State of New York has amended the BRHS Museum’s provisional charter and granted and made Absolute their Permanent Charter. This establishes the Museum as a full-fledged educational institution. The permanent charter is a momentous achievement by the Trustees, Board of Directors and volunteers that have dedicated their endless time and efforts to establish this museum and place the four communities of Black Rock, Riverside, West Hertel and Grant Amherst at the forefront of importance in the history of the City of Buffalo and the nation.
The seedbed for forming the BRHS began in 2010-11 and sprung out of the Black Rock Riverside Good Neighbors Planning Alliance and War of 1812 Commemorations. The voice of the community recognized a need for a place to educate the public, and preserve the history of the area. It was during this time that permanent historic markers were installed throughout Black Rock. The Black Rock Heritage Mural at Tonawanda and Amherst Streets was also commissioned and installed.
A Board of Trustees was formed and an application was filed with New York State in 2011 for a Provisional Charter. The museum continued under the BRRAlliance until they were granted a permanent charter and became an entity of their own. In the meantime, while the application was being reviewed, ten portable exhibits of Historic Market Square and the War of 1812 were produced and used as educational tools. They were circulated at libraries, organizations and events throughout the Niagara Frontier, including Canada. A calendar was created and a walking and biking Black Rock Heritage Trail map was published and distributed.
When the BRHS provisional Charter was granted in May of 2013, the organization had yet to find an actual brick and mortar place to begin to collect, preserve, and exhibit artifacts and documents. A search for a location during the summer of 2014 resulted in a lease that was signed in July for a museum at 1902 Niagara Street. Renovations began in August with much hard work on the part of many dedicated community volunteers and a grand opening was held in May.
Without a doubt, the creation of a museum entails much dedication on the part of every person involved, whether it is in event planning, marketing, archiving, fundraising, researching and writing historical articles, coordinating educational projects and presentations, giving tours, curating exhibits, or answering many questions that are brought to us via email or walk-in visitors. The BRHS belongs to the community and has become a vital resource to the neighborhoods of Northwest Buffalo and the City. Residents, students, architects, developers, etc. have used their resources for various projects.
Attendance and memberships are now at an all-time high, tours have increased considerably, and their artifact archive has grown immensely, as well as library and photographic collections.
What is in the future for the BRHS? They are refining the focus of the exhibits for historical clarity and importance. Building programming to be more inclusive and attract a wider range of people is also high priority. Extending outreach to the public and partnering with other museums and organizations will also leverage their assets and facilitate visibility.
Some of the events they will participate in this summer include Discover Downtown Black Rock on June 8, the Fenian Invasion Commemoration on June 15, the Basil Port of Call Tall Ships Festival at Canalside July 5, 6, & 7 and later the Niagara Celtic Heritage Festival, September 14 & 15. Planning for the Bicentennial of Erie County also began in 2018 with other county-wide cultural organizations and is still ongoing. That celebration will take place throughout 2021.
As an all-volunteer organization, assistance with various tasks is always welcome. Your expertise, interest and/or love of history are good reasons to volunteer. Students, seniors and everyone in-between are welcome to volunteer in various areas of interest; office/computer, education, fundraising, outreach, maintenance, etc. No matter what you enjoy doing they probably have a matching activity for you. Every volunteer can make a difference. Stop in or call 510-4007.
Membership in the BRHS helps to support and maintain the Museum’s mission. Stop in to join and while you are there you can also pick up a free walking and biking trail map of Black Rock or the Scajaquada Historic District. You can also join online at www.blackrockhistoricalsociety.com.