The Buffalo History Museum has started the next phase of its $2 million restoration project. Currently underway is the restoration to the Museum’s lower level, which, once complete, will provide added space for exhibits, as well as improved guest amenities, including new restrooms and an HVAC system.
The expanded 4,400 sq. ft. gallery is part of architect George Cary’s original vision for the building, but few people are even aware that the lower part of the Museum even exists. For years, it has been hidden from sight, in a state of disrepair.
This is the second phase of the “Restore, Reactivate, Reconnect” project, which restores one-third of the total space within the Museum. Prior to this, Phase I – completed in fall 2019 – saw the restoration of the park side entryways and windows, which is meant to reconnect the building’s original entrance to Delaware Park. That initial phase included construction of new exhibit space on the second floor.
“Our building is the only one created for the 1901 Pan American Exposition meant to serve the community beyond the Exposition,” said Melissa Brown, Executive Director of The Buffalo History Museum. “2021 marks the Pan Am building’s 120th anniversary. We can’t image a better way to honor that legacy than by restoring and reuniting the gallery space under our portico as part of our commitment to be a welcoming, safe place of gathering for all in our community.”
It’s a great day for this section of Delaware Park (the Olmsted Park System) that houses The Buffalo History Museum and The Albright-Knox Art Gallery. Both of these Buffalo cultural institutions are seeing significant upgrades and improvements, which will help to bolster this world class corridor – a corridor that is enhanced by the Burchfield Penney Art Center.
Senator Sean Ryan said, “The Buffalo History Museum is an important part of our history and one of Western New York’s greatest architectural treasures. That is why I worked to ensure New York State invested in this project to restore the interior of the Museum to its former glory. The restoration work will preserve and strengthen this beautiful landmark so that it may continue to welcome visitors for generations to come. I thank the dedicated staff at The Buffalo History Museum and the Ralph C. Wilson Foundation for their significant commitment to this important work.”
“Carmina Wood Morris is proud to be a part of the restoration of one of Buffalo’s most significant and timeless buildings. We are focused on supporting the Museum’s mission to ensure the building continues to express its meaningful history while simultaneously ushering it into the twenty-first century. This project builds upon previous work and will set the foundation for work yet to come. Once complete, this phase will reintroduce one of the building’s defining spaces to the public and we can’t wait for everyone to see and enjoy it,” said Paul Lang, Managing Principal of architecture, engineering, and interior design firm Carmina Wood Morris DPC.
During this current phase of restoration, the Museum has closed its primary location at 1 Museum Ct. through March 30, 2021. Further restoration during this construction phase will continue on the lower level of the Museum’s building through summer 2021. The Museum’s Resource Center at 459 Forest Ave., which houses the Spirit of the City: Reimagining the Pan-American Exposition exhibit, is open Thursdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Feb. 25 to March 27. Advance reservations are encouraged via buffalohistory.org/visit-us.
Phase one investors include County of Erie, City of Buffalo, Empire State Development, New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, Carmina Wood Morris DPC, Charles D. and Mary A. Bauer Foundation, the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, and the generosity of individual donors and friends. Support for the second phase of restoration comes from the Dormitory Authority of State of New York and the Ralph C. Wilson Foundation.