Our free and inclusive Parkway Revival Ride this coming Monday, May 20th, brings us back to The Buffalo History Museum (1 Museum Court, 6:30pm sharp start), which is technically in Delaware Park but was separated from the rest of the park by the construction of the Scajaquada Expressway.

To learn more about the museum, we turned to its Director of Library & Archives and regular Slow Roller, Cynthia Van Ness.

When was the building built, and how did it become the home of the Buffalo History Museum?

Our building was built for the 1901 Pan-American Exposition as the New York State Building. It was intended to be a permanent souvenir, if you will, for the people of Buffalo after the Exposition closed on November 1, 1901, and to be the home of the Buffalo Historical Society. In 1902, we took title and moved in. We’ve been here ever since.

How does the History Museum contribute to our community?

Our collections, exhibits, and events tell the story of how Buffalo and Western New York became a force in the development – human and material – of the United States and the world.

What are your favorite fun facts that few know about the museum?

There are two small chambers adjacent to the bricked-in door at the ground level of the back (pond) side of our building. These spaces were designated on blueprints as “bicycle parking.” With the help of Sean Ryan, we got funding from the State of NY to restore that entrance and open it up again. Work is starting this summer.

Is it true that you have an old photo of my house?

We might! Our Library has about 200,000 photographs of Buffalo-area people, places, things, and events, including about 28,000 images of houses, factories, churches, schools, stores & shops, office buildings, etc. Email us your address and we can check if we have your house: library@buffalohistory.org. About 1,800 examples from our picture collection can be browsed & purchased here.

What other events happen at the museum?

Food Truck Rodeo on first Wednesdays during the summer; our Party on the Portico happy hour in August; museum admission is free on M&T Third Fridays year-round.