The Yahoo Community Benefit Fund, in conjunction with the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, has awarded the Niagara County Historical Society a $4,771 grant to offer evening family programs once a month throughout 2016.
Each "Hidden History of Niagara County" presentation will be held from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on the second Tuesday of the month at the History Center's Lockport site, 215 Niagara St. Children and adults will share activities based upon a historical theme throughout the evening.
"Hidden History" will highlight local history in formats aimed to appeal to everyone. This new endeavor will bridge the gap between current programs for children and adults, offering an all-ages evening out with hands-on activities and unique interpretive topics much like what is now offered in the children's sessions.
The evening will begin with pizza provided by the History Center, followed by a 15-minute introduction from the presenter, who will then lead the program.
Each theme of the 12 scheduled evenings will relate to a little-known, unusual or mysterious aspect of Niagara County history. Depending upon the theme, everyone may share activities such as assuming the identity of a real historical person and taking part in role-playing; examining and handling non-fragile artifacts; and reading historic maps. They will also take part in games, scavenger hunts and "make and take" craft projects. All of these will be structured so both children and parents can participate.
The January program, "African-American History in Niagara County," will include Brenda Reaves of the History Center's Step Back in Time players re-enacting as Eliza Mossell, an early leader in Lockport's African-American community.
Proposed themes, all with Niagara County emphasis, are:
Presenters will include History Center staff and volunteers, and representatives of local communities, New York State Parks, and historical sites and organizations
"We are so excited about having the opportunity to present these interactive family programs," said Ann Marie Linnabery, assistant director and education coordinator at the History Center. "It will give local residents the chance to learn and experience the little known aspects of Niagara County history in a way that will bring families together for an evening of fun and knowledge."
The NCHS operates three sites, which include a five-building museum complex at 215 Niagara St.; the Erie Canal Discovery Center, 24 Church St.; and the Col. William Bond-Jesse Hawley House; 143 Ontario St. - all in the City of Lockport.