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The Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society Adopts New Name

Buffalo, New York — Today, October 25th, 2012 at 8:45 a.m., The Buffalo and Erie Historical Society officially announced its new name – The Buffalo History Museum.
The Buffalo History Museum Board of Managers, Executive Director, Melissa Brown, and Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz were joined by other elected officials, cultural leaders, major stakeholders and staff at this morning’s announcement which included the unveiling of the Museum’s new logo and renderings of the forthcoming outdoor signature sign.
Melissa Brown outlined the forward action steps taken to invigorate the profile of the 150- year-old Western New York institution as part of the presentation. Her remarks affirmed the Museum’s efforts to emerge as a revitalized community resource.
The creative direction and design of the new logo was developed by Eric Mower + Associates.
Planned for along Elmwood Avenue, the Buffalo History Museum’s signature sign will be fabricated from a translucent polycarbonate with raised lettering forming the new logo. At night, the sign will be lit from within. The reclaimed marble base echoes the Buffalo History Museum’s iconic marble building and subtly suggests the organization’s devotion to preserving pieces from our past.
Joan M. Bukowski, Board of Managers President, stated, “This occasion marks a significant milestone for The Buffalo History Museum and the community we serve. I can confidently say that the reinvigorated brand will satisfy all of the existing expectations of what our original mark stands for – preserving our region’s legacy- while simultaneously moving forward.”
“The Museum’s lack of identity in the community emerged as a serious concern during focus group and survey research, motivating our decision to rebrand.  Fresh exhibits, strategic partnerships, extended night hours, and tripled program offerings drove momentum in 2012. Launching our new look is the polish on a dynamic 150th year.” explained Ms. Brown.
The Buffalo History Museum is Western New York’s premier historical organization, serving since its founding in 1862 to collect, research, interpret, and share the Niagara Frontier’s rich history. Its collections include more than 100,000 artifacts, 200,000 photographs, and 20,000 books. The Buffalo History Museum annually presents a wide array of programs, exhibits, tours, outdoor events, and activities for all ages.


  • Matthew Ricchiazzi

    I say merge the “History Museum” with the Buffalo Library. The Library as a civic institution has become increasingly obsolete in the digital age.  In the coming years, it will require a new mandate and a new mission. The History Museum has grown stale and orthodox, telling only the history of the elite. 

    Merging the History Museum and Buffalo Library would allow us to build an extraordinary museum of the highest order.  The Pan Am Building is so limiting. It’s only about 30,000 sq ft, if I’m not mistaken. That’s a fraction of a single floor at the Buffalo Library, which has seven levels (I’m told), including an amphitheater under the plaza fronting Lafayette Square. 

    Throw out the books — they’re not circulating, and they’re available digitally anyways. 

    Then, let’s evolve the role of Librarians to become curators, exhibit developers, educators, and historians. I’m sure they’d rather build exhibits than merely serving the public as a helpful book finders. 

    Sure, the History Museum would see this as a turf war of sorts — some conspiratorial conservative fiscally prudent ploy to rob them of resources. But the Library enjoys a $22 million operating budget — which I’m sure the exhibit planners at the History Museum would see as an enormous opportunity for wildly compelling exhibits, publicly lauded programming, and a top-down restructuring of how we see and interact with the Library in the 21st Century. 

    •  Throw out the books? What happens if there is a power outage or a computer virus.

      • Matthew Ricchiazzi

        Everything can be backed up on a remote server (aka, “The Cloud) very inexpensively. Soon, (if not already), it would be less expensive to lend people e-readers and give them access to texts digitally. Maintaining a massive collection of books requires excessive inventory holding costs — which are resources that would better serve the public if they were allocated towards exhibits and programming.

      • “The Cloud” requires massive amounts of (limited and not free) energy and is still susceptible to systems disruption from cyberspace and physical attacks and malfunctions. It is impossible for a book to malfunction.

      • clay_blasdel

         Leon Panetta said days ago that a cyber attack on the scale of Pearl Harbor is a real possibility.  If digitized stuff is disabled, your car won’t go. Virtually nothing will work – like electricity and heat.  Keep the books.

  • clay_blasdel

    If one terrorist detonates a tiny nuclear device at, say , 30,000 feet, the electromagnetic pulse – in theory- could wipe out every digital device, everywhere withing hundreds of miles.  Keep the paper bound  books.

  • betty barcode

    Does your proposed merger mean that museum employees would join the appropriate labor unions and be added to the county payroll & retirement system?

  • Matt, couldn’t have made the same dumb point by saying “Close the library and put the museum where the central branch is?” (I assume by “Buffalo Library” you mean the central branch and none of the other BECPL branches in the city)

    Hey I say merge Pizza Hut with the Buffalo School. We should throw out all the text books and computers (because the kids aren’t using them) and evolve the role of Teachers to be dough kneaders, sauce mixers, cheese shredders, and pepperoni slicers. The school enjoys a $1 billion budget which Pizza Hut would see as a great opportunity to develop new products like pizza with hot dogs in the crust and ketchup and mustard on top.

    • Matthew Ricchiazzi

      All I’m saying is that we spend $22 million a year for something that is barely used — and certainly not appreciated.  A merger, like the one proposed, would allow us to build a flagship civic institution. Together they’re worth more than the sum of their parts. 

      If we don’t identify a new function and form for the Library, then it will only continue to deteriorate in terms of use, relevance, and funding.

      In fact, your dissent and dismissal of my suggestion illustrates the main problem with big government: it fails to reinvent itself in order to maintain relevance with the times. In a market context, creative destruction is the answer.  It’s the right answer in this context too.

      • First of all, are you actually trying to make the argument that the history museum is used more than the library? 

        Second, how does my dismissal of your “suggestion” say ANYTHING about “big government”? I am not in the government. I don’t work for the library. Your suggestion just didn’t make any sense and I was making fun of the way you posed it.

        Third, what does the history museum provide that makes it more valuable to the public than the library? I like the history museum and all, but libraries are an important public utility and not only for the books in them, though the books are in important part. It wouldn’t take a nuclear device for someone to destroy the power grid and make computers irrelevant (anyone with any kind of bomb could do it or a computer virus or a lack of energy, etc.), books are pretty hard to render useless and they’re a lot cheaper than computers too.

        I guess this isn’t too surprising from the guy that, with a straight face, proposed replacing teachers with TVs playing CNN.

        What I really want to know is, how come you didn’t even CONSIDER my suggestion? Think of how much pizza we could have.