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Erie County, Buffalo Museum of Science announce major investment to improve access, upgrade facility


Mon, Jun 20th 2016 11:55 pm

$500,000 county outlay to install new elevator, extend fourth-floor staircase to roof to ensure compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act

Project to include interior demolition, extensive electrical upgrades, removal of old spiral staircase to roof

Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz joined Erie County Legislator Barbara Miller-Williams (1st District), Buffalo Museum of Science President/CEO Marisa Wigglesworth, and members of the museum's board of managers at the Museum of Science to announce an Erie County investment of $500,000 in the facility. The money will be used to transform the museum's fourth-floor space. The project will include interior demolition and construction on the museum's fourth floor to extend the existing building staircase to the roof, along with the removal of the existing 1930's-era spiral staircase to the roof and observatory area. In addition, a one-floor elevator will be installed from the fourth floor to the roof to provide access to the observatory and roof area for individuals with disabilities.

"The Buffalo Museum of Science is a treasure in our community, a landmark that has drawn millions of inquisitive visitors over its lifetime, and now is poised for a new chapter. With this project, the museum's roof and observatory area, which had been difficult to access, will be opened to give everyone an opportunity to enjoy breathtaking views of our solar system, galaxy and beyond," Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz said. "This investment expands and improves the museum's educational space, extends learning opportunities, and maximizes the facility's footprint.

"For residents who've never experienced the unparalleled rooftop views the museum offers, or observed the wonders of our universe through a high-powered telescope, new knowledge and many smiles await."

The $500,000 in funding was included by Poloncarz as part of the 2016 Erie County bond resolution and was approved by county legislators. The county investment will spur the museum's "See It Through" campaign and expedite the transformation of the museum's fourth floor and observatory space.

The renovated fourth floor space and ultimate reopening of the rooftop observatory, which will require extensive electrical upgrades, will complete the museum's multi-year campaign to transform all of its permanent gallery spaces into interactive, changeable and educational spaces.

The Buffalo Museum of Science opened in its current location in January 1929.

Wigglesworth added, "Through the generous support of Erie County, the Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences board of managers, and dedicated individuals and organizations throughout our community, the Buffalo Museum of Science is poised to complete the largest transformation in the society's 154-year history.

"The next generation of space exploration enthusiasts and professionals may be inspired through visits to our new aerospace studio and restored observatory. Think about the first time you looked through a telescope and saw the rings of Saturn. We are going to make that amazing experience possible for children and adults throughout Western New York. The society is deeply thankful for the tremendous investment from the County of Erie, people of Erie County and the Honorable Mark C. Poloncarz."

Committed to inspiring curiosity through exploration, the Buffalo Museum of Science is a nonprofit educational institution dedicated to providing relevant science programming and services to children, families, adults and schools in the Buffalo/Niagara region. Through exhibits and interactive science studios designed for multigenerational learning, the museum showcases its extensive collections of over 700,000 specimens and artifacts representing all facets of the natural world with an emphasis on Western New York.

Opened in 1929 in Buffalo's Olmsted-designed Martin Luther King, Jr. Park, the museum is currently installing eight permanent interactive science studios to completely transform its visitor experience. The museum also operates Tifft Nature Preserve in South Buffalo, a 264-acre urban wetland preserve on reclaimed former industrial land.

Learn more at www.sciencebuff.org.

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