The Buffalo History Museum will begin the next phase of restoration to the lower level of its National Historic Landmark Building. Work focuses on improving guest amenities, including new restrooms and an HVAC system. At the end of this phase of construction, the museum’s lower level will be restored to the original vision of architect George Cary, with an expansive 4,400-square-foot gallery.
This phase of construction is the next element of the “Restore, Reactivate, Reconnect” capital campaign to restore one-third of the total space within the museum.
Upcoming construction work involves selective demolition, installation of a new HVAC system, electrical upgrades, restroom reconfiguration and modernization, and floor, wall and ceiling restoration.
“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.”
New York State Sen. 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.”
Paul Lang, managing principal of architecture, engineering and interior design for Carmina Wood Morris DPC, said, “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 21st 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.”
During this phase of restoration, the museum will close its primary location, at 1 Museum Court, from Feb. 21 to March 30.
The museum’s resource center, at 459 Forest Ave., which houses the “Spirit of the City: Reimagining the Pan-American Exposition” exhibit, will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays, Feb. 25 to March 27. Advance reservations are encouraged via buffalohistory.org/visit-us.
Support for this phase of restoration comes from the Dormitory Authority of State of New York and the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation.
Phase one work, completed in fall 2019, included the restoration of the park side entryways and windows, reconnecting the building’s original entrance to Delaware Park, and construction of new exhibit space on the second floor. 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.
Further restoration during this construction phase will continue on the lower level of the museum’s building through summer 2021. Future construction updates, news and events will be available at buffalohistory.org.
The Buffalo History Museum collections, exhibits and programs tell the stories of the people, events and movements that demonstrate Western New York's essential place in shaping American history. It is a private, not-for-profit organization tax exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, and accredited by the American Alliance of Museums.
Images of the space currently under restoration, courtesy of the Buffalo History Museum.