Arts, Culture, and Humanities

BUFFALO AND ERIE COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY

  • Buffalo, NY
  • www.buffalohistory.org

Mission Statement

Mission: Experiencing history with you, by remembering, discovering, and sharing our stories; sparking emotional and social connections within our unique community.

About The Buffalo History Museum: Since 1862, The Buffalo History Museum has been Western New York's premier historical organization. We are the keepers of the authentic stories that make our community unique. Our 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.

Main Programs

  1. Giants of Buffalo
  2. Train Day
  3. Local Author Book Signing
  4. Behind-the-Scenes Tours
  5. The Food Truck Rodeo
  6. President Lincoln's Birthday Celebration
  7. M&T Third Fridays
  8. Pan Am Walking Tours
  9. House History Workshops

ruling year

1945

Executive Director

Self-reported

Ms. Melissa N Brown

Keywords

Self-reported

Western New York history, primary source collection

Notes from the Nonprofit

WE ARE THE LARGEST REGIONAL HISTORY MUSEUM SERVING FOR OVER 150 YEARS
Our community’s history makers founded The Buffalo History Museum (TBHM) in 1862. They assembled a unique collection of regional paintings, photographs, artifacts, and manuscripts. They shared the collections with researchers and the public. To accommodate the organization’s rapid growth, operations moved into one of three buildings that comprise the current museum campus. Local architect George Cary designed the New York State Building. The building hosted the 1901 Pan-American Exposition and was always intended to remain the home for local history. TBHM’s mission expanded and exhibitions emerged as a priority.

From handwritten business ledgers to industrial innovations, from folders of neighborhood photos to complete soldiers’ footlockers, by 1950 TBHM catalogued and safeguarded a vast array of treasures. Today, more than 100,000 physical objects and over 200,000 documents exist to shape our understanding of WNY’s story. Westward expansion, industrialization, immigration, military and social history- themes reveal Erie County’s place in nation’s story. TBHM’s Resource Center serves mainly as a collection storage facility. Climate-controlled zones meet the artifacts’ preservation needs. Generations of donations account for over 90% of our acquisitions. Three full-time staff members, waves of specially trained interns and volunteers care for TBHM’s thousands of artifacts. They process new donations and conduct inventory work in accordance with our Collections Management Policy and Processing Manual. The Policy is reviewed every five years and revised as necessary.

Of the nation’s estimated 17,500 museums, fewer than 800 earn accreditation by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM). TBHM is one of only 63 museums accredited in the state of New York, out of an estimated 900 museums.

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Also Known As

The Buffalo History Museum

EIN

16-6000166

 Number

0502572119

Contact

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Historical Societies and Related Activities (A80)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Programs + Results

How does this organization make a difference?

Overview

Self-reported by organization

IN 2014, EIGHT CHANGING EXHIBITIONS AND ROBUST PUBLIC RELATIONS EFFORTS RESULTED IN A 38% ATTENDANCE INCREASE
Our premiere exhibit of 2014, "Inside Tim Russert's Office: If it's Sunday, it's 'Meet the Press'" (courtesy of Newseum and the Russert-Orth Family) was unveiled in October. Russert’s legacy is not only about his role on the national stage, but also how the lessons he learned growing up in Buffalo and our community hoisted him into his prominent role.

Furthermore, three organizations showcased exhibits at our museum: Hispanic Heritage Council, Tapestry Charter School, Praxair and the Grant-Amherst Business Association told their organizational history through our Community Gallery.

We collaborated with a local sports memorabilia collector and hosted "Forging a Connection: Your Buffalo Sabres, 1970--1974," showing the establishment and early years of our hometown hockey team, The Buffalo Sabres.

DIVERSE PROGRAMS AND EVENTS ATTRACT FAMILIES, SCHOLARS, AND HISTORIANS
Programs and lectures ranging from military history, bridal traditions, architecture, house history, Pan American Exposition and more diversify our audience. Family events like the Food Truck Rodeo, Holiday History, All Hallow's Eve and Train Day offer children-friendly activities and history education.

Programs

Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Program 1

Giants of Buffalo

Our "Giants of Buffalo" lecture series honors local history-makers of various industries. For example, in 2014, we hosted "Giants of Buffalo: Television," fating the legendary WKBW-TV Newsteam: Irv Weinstein, Rick Azar and Tom Jolls. We also hosted "Giants of Buffalo: Journalism," highlighting the accomplishments of Lou Michel and Dan Herbck, Buffalo News writers and co-authors of the NY Times bestseller, "American Terrorist."

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Program 2

Train Day

Train Day is TBHM's largest family event, hosted on the fourth Friday of each November. A family tradition for many local Western New Yorkers, Train Day offers family crafts and a peak inside our replica 1900s train model.

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Program 3

Local Author Book Signing

More than 50 Western New York authors participate in the Local Author Book signing. Authors sell and sign their publications for holiday shoppers on the Saturday following Thanksgiving (also known as "Small Business Saturday"). Designed for shoppers looking for personalized gifts. The wide range of publications-including cookbooks, neighborhood, regional and military history, novels and coffee-table books-makes this a perfect opportunity to shop for a variety of tastes.

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Program 4

Behind-the-Scenes Tours

Our Forest Avenue Resource Center opens to the public only a few times each year, providing community members a rare look into our collection. The 33,000-square foot facility houses and cares for our collection of 100,000 three dimensional artifacts. The tour is led by our Director of Collections,Walt Mayer, who gives a "Collections 101" lecture and takes participants into the climate-controlled areas of the storage unit. Guests are privy to our unique textile collection, furniture, guns and swords.

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Program 5

The Food Truck Rodeo

The Food Truck Rodeo takes place monthly from June - September, weather permitting. TBHM partners with local food trucks, inviting all to support local vendors and picnic on museum grounds. Each Rodeo attracts an estimated 800 visitors. The Museum is open at no charge to guests on Food Truck Rodeo evenings. Music and children's activities are provided.

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Program 6

President Lincoln's Birthday Celebration

Each President's Day weekend, a gun salute from the Museum's portico fires off the longest running Lincoln ceremonial commemoration in the country. Civil war music, crafts, historic re-enactors and a Gettysburg address reading comprise the afternoon.

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Program 7

M&T Third Fridays

On the third Friday of each month, museum admission is free for everyone courtesy of M&T Bank.
Evening engagements are offered for a nominal charge to general guests; museum members receive discounted tickets.

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Program 8

Pan Am Walking Tours

TBHM, the last standing permanent structure of the 1901 Pan American Exposition, hosts an annual series of walking tours of the former 1901 Pan American Exposition, grounds, now one of Buffalo’s most popular residential neighborhoods.

The Pan-Am Exposition was both Buffalo’s greatest triumph, and the stage for a national tragedy. Good news: over eight million guests from around the world made the trip to Buffalo to view new technologies and gorgeous structures, while strolling on the exciting midway. Tragic news: President William McKinley was assassinated. TBHM popular docent-led tour—an easy and pleasant one and a half hour walk—features historical spots and notable happenings from the six-month expo. Highlights include the point where the 375 foot Electric Tower once stood, exploring the location where a 12,000-seat stadium held mock battles, and the opportunity to stand where McKinley was shot by a young anarchist.

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Program 9

House History Workshops

Director of Library and Archives, Cynthia Van Ness, leads a discussion and tutorial in the library archives for participants interested in researching house history. Guest are invited to conduct research in the library archives following the presentation.

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Social Media

Blog

Accreditations

American Association of Museums - 10 Year Accreditation

External Reviews

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Financials

Financial information is an important part of gauging the short- and long-term health of the organization.

BUFFALO & ERIE COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY
Fiscal year: Jan 01-Dec 31
Yes, financials were audited by an independent accountant.

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Free: Gain immediate access to the following:
  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2014, 2013 and 2013
  • Board Chair and Board Members
  • Access to the GuideStar Community
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

BUFFALO AND ERIE COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY

Leadership

NEED MORE INFO ON THIS NONPROFIT?

Free: Gain immediate access to the following:
  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2014, 2013 and 2013
  • Board Chair and Board Members
  • Access to the GuideStar Community
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Executive Director

Ms. Melissa N Brown

BIO

Prior to serving as executive director of The Buffalo History Museum, Melissa worked in collections and exhibits from 1998-2011. Melissa is steeped in knowledge on collections management. As executive director, Melissa led the Museum through two capital projects- the City of Buffalo's 2014 investment of nearly $1 million in electrical upgrades, and the renovations of the John R. Oishei Pioneer and Native American galleries.

STATEMENT FROM THE Executive Director

"Passionate participant, you - the user, the historian, the family, the friend, the teacher, the student, the scholar, the bride, the visitor, the traveler - the guest, is the center of The Buffalo History Museum's newly adopted 2016-2018 Strategic Direction. This Strategic plan, putting the guest at the center of our work and mission, will enable us to connect our guests with the objects and ideas that inspire passion, curiosity and learning. Emotional connections and investment will be sparked by the consistent, meaningful and welcoming experience we cultivate and continue to refine.

Although many think TBHM's collection is its key product, the museum's real business and its most valuable asset is the Social Capital created around the collection. We want the community to come inside the museum – not just to pass by on a bike or to enjoy the grounds as a spectator or solely as a guest - but join as collaborators. The invitation is to explore and encounter our region's history, creating a deeper, more personal understanding of community by connecting people more profoundly to the meaning at the heart of our collections and the stories they evoke, inspire and challenge in us. The Museum's goal is to engage our guests through experience with our region's history across the decades, generating discovery, and shared significance through our community stories of courage, passion, tenacity, creativity, elegance and grit.

Together with the community, we want to maximize the gains afforded by the social capital the collection creates, strengthening our region's cultural identity and quality of life in Western New York. The community's rich and influential stories of struggle and triumph add to the power of our regional revitalization. TBHM strives for ongoing learning with the community and our guests, and serves as a leader and partner in our mutual responsibility to participate in our unfolding future.

TBHM deliberately builds a “Museum as Community" - a hub for gathering, socializing, engaging, connecting, establishing networks and creating meaningful experiences. By cultivating relationships using our authentic resources, we set the stage for participants to be inspired by history – our unique stories that characterize our region. "

Governance

BOARD CHAIR

Mr. Steven P McCarville

Vice President, Litwin Castle Insurance

BOARD LEADERSHIP PRACTICES

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RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

BOARD ORIENTATION & EDUCATION

Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

CEO OVERSIGHT

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

BOARD COMPOSITION

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

BOARD PERFORMANCE

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?


ORGANIZATIONAL DEMOGRAPHICS

In order to support nonprofits and gain valuable insight for the sector, GuideStar worked with D5—a five-year initiative to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in philanthropy—in creating a questionnaire. This section is a voluntary questionnaire that empowers organizations to share information on the demographics of who works in and leads organizations. To protect the identity of individuals, we do not display sexual orientation or disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff. Any values displayed in this section are percentages of the total number of individuals in each category (e.g. 20% of all Board members for X organization are female).

Gender
Sexual Orientation

We do not display sexual orientation information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff.

Disability

We do not display disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff.

Diversity Strategies
No
We track retention of staff, board, and volunteers across demographic categories
No
We track income levels of staff, senior staff, and board across demographic categories
No
We track the age of staff, senior staff, and board
No
We track the diversity of vendors (e.g., consultants, professional service firms)
No
We have a diversity committee in place
No
We have a diversity manager in place
No
We have a diversity plan