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Grants boost Erie Canal education and preservation

by jmaloni


Fri, Feb 14th 2014 07:40 pm

Two organizations in Buffalo among recipients

Ten innovative education and preservation projects will get off the ground this year with funding support from Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor. Congressman Brian Higgins joined representatives from the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor to announce $65,630 in grants, which will be matched by an additional $478,000 in private and public project funding raised by grant recipients.

The grants are aimed at inspiring people to learn more about New York's legendary canals and further explore the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor.

Two organizations in Buffalo are among the grant recipients: Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site Foundation and Explore & More Children's Museum. They accepted checks for their grant awards at a press conference at Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site on Friday.

"I'm thrilled to hear that these fantastic organizations will be strengthened in their efforts to maintain the history of the Erie Canal and the rich character of upstate New York," said U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. "These investments will go a long way to help preserve the Erie Canalway Corridor, promote our natural heritage, and maintain access for our communities and tourists alike."

"The grants truly represent a coming together of Western New York's Erie Canal history with our future," Higgins said. "With this support, Explore & More and the Teddy Roosevelt Inaugural Site will tell the story that is uniquely Buffalo in exciting new ways." 

Erie Canalway Acting Director Bob Radliff said, "These projects help us capitalize on our exceptional heritage. We're proud to work in partnership with our grantees to bring the greater awareness to our waterways and to their impact on our past and future."

Grants to organizations in Buffalo:

Explore & More Children's Museum received $12,000 to plan and design an interactive exhibit on the Erie Canal at Explore & More Children's Museum in Buffalo, slated to open at Buffalo's Inner Harbor in 2016.

"Explore & More is thrilled to be partnering with the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor to plan and design an interactive Erie Canal exhibit in 'Moving Water,' the centerpiece educational play zone in our new museum at Canalside. This Erie Canal exhibit will be located directly over what was once the prime slip of the Erie Canal. We appreciate both the generosity and the expertise of the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor in helping bring this exhibit to life," said Barbara Leggett, executive director of Explore & More Children's Museum.

Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site Foundation received $5,000 to develop public programming and invest in professional development activities related to the theme of immigration, tracing patterns of movement and settlement facilitated by the Erie Canal.

Stanton Hudson, executive director of the foundation, said, "Five years ago, the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site unveiled a new interpretive theme that focuses on consequential issues of TR's day - issues central to his presidency, foundational to his legacy, and having as much impact on public life today as they did 113 years ago. One of these issues is immigration."

"Thanks to the generosity of the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor, the TR Inaugural Site will be able to train both volunteers and staff in how to engage with the site's visitors in more active and meaningful ways to enhance immigration's relevance for them. We will also be able to develop public programming that emphasizes the important role immigrant populations played in forming the urban fabric of upstate cities such as Buffalo, located along the Erie Canalway Corridor."

Erie Canalway grants are made possible in part with funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

The Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor spans 524 miles across the full expanse of upstate New York, encompassing the Erie, Cayuga-Seneca, Oswego and Champlain canals and their historic alignments, as well as more than 230 canal communities. Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor Commission and the Erie Canalway Heritage Fund work in partnership to preserve heritage, to promote the corridor as a world-class tourism destination, and to foster vibrant communities connected by the waterway. For more information, visit www.eriecanalway.org.

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