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21st century technology helps explain 19th century engineering marvel


Tue, Jan 19th 2021 10:45 am

The Erie Canal Discovery Center/Lockport Visitor Center has been given a 21st century technology boost to help tourists and local residents understand the 19th century Erie Canal locks of Lockport.

JB Computers of Lockport donated and installed a large, flat-panel wall monitor that will be used to show the public why the canal was built in the early 1800s, and how, a press release noted, “the brilliant engineering solution at what became Lockport overcame the huge obstacle of the Niagara Escarpment.”

“This is a story that needs to be told with both words and pictures,” said Melissa Dunlap, executive director of the Niagara County Historical Society which operates the Discovery Center as a public educational service. “It’s much easier to understand the need for the canal, the massive scale of the whole project, and the ingenious solution at Niagara if you can see maps, pictures and photographs. That’s why we are so grateful to JB Computers for this generous donation.”

For several years, the staff of the Erie Canal Discovery Center have been explaining the canal and locks with the aid of pictures on an easel – what one tourist jokingly described as a “19th century PowerPoint presentation.” Having the ability to show large, easily visible images and to display canal-related websites while teaching about the Erie Canal will help them get the message across more clearly than ever before.

The Erie Canal Discovery Center provides the public with an orientation to the locks area and canal history. The Lockport Visitor Center, operated in conjunction with the City of Lockport, offers information about Lockport’s attractions, services and other businesses. The combined facility is located adjacent to the Lockport locks at 24 Church St., and is open seven days a week from May through October and on Fridays and Saturdays from November through April. Information is available from the Niagara County Historical Society at 716-434-7433.

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