Family Nights begin at 5:30 p.m. with a pizza supper, available for a small donation. We follow that with activities all ages can enjoy together, using a historical theme with Niagara County emphasis. Here is a brief look at the next several months:
Tuesday, January 16
Learn how ice was harvested, preserved and used before refrigeration. We’ll make a paper snow globe and do science experiments involving ice.
Tuesday, February 20
Celebrate the Winter Olympics
Find out the history of the Winter Olympics and learn about some local people who have participated in the games. We’ll make an Olympic key chain and play some games.
Tuesday, March 20
Niagara Falls Daredevils
See who dared to cross the Niagara Gorge on a tightrope or go over the Falls in a barrel. Try your hand at walking a tightrope 6 inches off the ground, rolling in a barrel and making your own daredevil souvenir photo.
Family Nights are open to all, regardless of where you live. Please call 434-7433 for more information and to make reservations, which are required.
Harriet Tubman is well-known as a conductor on the Underground Railroad, but did you know that she brought fugitive slaves through Niagara County on their route to freedom in Canada?
Come and learn about Tubman’s life and her courageous missions to escort enslaved people from the South to Niagara Falls and across the Suspension Bridge to the “Promised Land.”
We’ll find out about the Suspension Bridge in Niagara Falls, sample foods that might have been eaten on the run, make an 1850s craft, match underground code words and phrases with their meaning, put together a bundle to carry our possessions, and see if we can get to Canada by solving problems and overcoming obstacles along the way.
The program runs from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. and the History Center will provide a snack. The cost of the program is $10 per child. Parents or grandparents must make advance reservations, and they are encouraged to leave children for the duration of the program.
Please call the History Center at 716-434-7433 for reservations and more information, or email Education Coordinator Ann Marie Linnabery at firstname.lastname@example.org.
January Speaker at History Center – Ray Wigle, Director, Erie Canal Discovery Center
Visitors (and Lockport residents) who arrive at the Erie Canal Discovery Center want – first and foremost – to find out about the Erie Canal and Lockport locks.
Most of them have only a vague idea of what the Canal was, where it went, or even why it was built. Very few have any idea at all about the incredible engineering feat that was achieved at what became Lockport. Most of them do know “The Song,” of course!
After years of working with guests, the ECDC staff have learned what it is that most people haven’t learned, but want to know before they tour the locks at Lockport.
In addition to the information presented by the exhibits in the Discovery Center (which not everyone visits), the staff have come up with an introduction and background that answers the most frequent questions and helps explain what people will see (or, in some cases, what they have already seen but didn’t understand.)
Ray Wigle, director of the Erie Canal Discovery Center, will tell you “What the Tourists Want to Know, But Nobody Tells Them,” Thursday, Jan. 25, at 2 p.m. in the Niagara History Center, 215 Niagara St. in Lockport.
He’ll look at the questions and answers that come up most often. Using historical and modern images of the Erie Canal and Lockport Locks, the program will give the audience a good thumbnail history and background to the “Wonder of the World” in our own backyard.
Members of the audience are encouraged to ask their own questions.
Please call the Niagara History Center at (716) 434-7433 for more information.
PHOTO:”Opening of the Erie Canal, October 1825,” mural by Lockport artist Raphael Beck, at Erie Canal Discovery Center.
Join with us Thursday, Dec. 7, as we celebrate “A Winter’s Fest Eve” in Victorian style. We’ll welcome the festive holiday season at the History Center’s Col. William Bond/Jesse Hawley House, 143 Ontario St. in Lockport, from 6:00 – 8:30 p.m. Be our guest to enjoy our fully furnished and restored historic house, refreshments and music, all in the 19th-century holiday spirit.
The Bond-Hawley House is a National Register-listed, 12-room Federal home/museum. Each room in our c.1823 house will feature the exhibit “A Victorian Christmas Celebration.” Let us treat you to homemade cookies, hot mulled cider, children’s activities and tours. “A Winter’s Fest Eve” is the perfect event for families with children age 8 and up, so bring everyone! Local musicians will entertain with seasonal music throughout the evening.
The Bond House Christmas exhibit is co-curated by Becky and Gloria Pittler. With fresh ideas every year, they re-imagine our house into a Victorian family home celebrating the holiday season. The house is Lockport’s oldest brick home. It was built by Col. Bond and then owned by Erie Canal advocate Jesse Hawley.
Kick off the holiday season with us this year at “A Winter’s Fest Eve.” Reservations are not needed – just drop by that evening.
You can also visit from 2 – 4:30 p.m. on two Sundays, Dec. 10 and 17. Donations are accepted. We can offer tours for groups of eight or more by reservation. Please call (716) 434-7433.]]>
Admission to Family Night is free. A pizza and beverage supper will be available for a nominal donation from 5:30-6:00 p.m., followed by the program. Family Nights are a series of monthly programs and activities specifically designed for families with children ages 5 and up. All ages can share a good time learning about history with a Niagara County connection.
The Family Night series, which began last year, highlights local history in formats appealing to everyone with a different theme each month. The program is designed to bridge the gap between our current programs for children and adults, offering an evening out with activities and unique interpretive topics much like what we now offer in our children’s sessions.
The rest of the year’s themes, all with Niagara County emphasis, will be: November 21, Women Get the Vote in New York State; and December 19, Christmas in the 1950s. Presenters throughout the year will include History Center staff, volunteers and re-enactors from the museum’s Step Back in Time Players. Family Nights are open to all Western New York families, regardless of residence.
Reservations are needed for Family Nights and programs fill up quickly. Please call the History Center at (716) 434-7433 for reservations and information.
Wednesday, Oct.18 – 2 pm – LOCKPORT’S RELIGIOUS FOUNDATIONS – Kathleen Riley, Ph.D. (at Erie Canal Discovery Center, 24 Church St.)
“ Lockport’s Religious Foundations” is the topic of professor and author Kathleen L. Riley, Ph.D., speaking at the Erie Canal Discovery Center, Wednesday, Oct. 18, at 2 p.m. Riley will discuss the religious foundation of Lockport in light of the many expressions and experiences along the Canal’s path, often referred to as the “Burned-Over District” for its religious zeal.
Her presentation will detail the importance of belief and faith to those who planned and built the Canal, made their livelihood from it and near it, and experienced the changes it wrought in their personal lives and communities. Riley will tell of the roles played by the Quakers, Presbyterians and Catholics throughout the early days of the Canal’s construction and growth of Lockport. She will speak of how religion and religious values made Lockport and the Canal what it is today and how they shaped a national consciousness.
Riley is a professor of History and head of the History Department at Ohio Dominican University, Columbus, OH. A Lockport native, she is a graduate of Nazareth College in Rochester. She holds Master’s and Ph.D. degrees from Notre Dame.
Riley is a past adjunct professor at Canisius College in Buffalo and taught history at Buffalo Academy of the Sacred Heart. She is the author of the books “Lockport: Historic Jewel on the Erie Canal” and “Fulton J. Sheen: An American Catholic Response to the Twentieth Century.“
Riley appears through the program “Reflections on Erie’s Waters,” a series of artist-led workshops and statewide lectures whose goal is to examine the Canal’s history and impact through different perspectives. “Reflections” is a collaborative effort of the Erie Canal Museum in Syracuse and the Canal Society of New York State.
“Reflections on Erie’s Waters” is supported by a grant from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and the NYS Legislature.
Admission to the program is free. Please call the History Center at (716) 434-7433 for information.
Fall is Oktoberfest time! Join the fun Saturday, Oct. 21, as we celebrate Bavarian food and music to benefit the History Center. This year’s Oktoberfest will be held at Cornell Cooperative Extension, 4487 Lake Ave., Lockport, between 6-10 p.m. for a great party.
We’ll enjoy Donna Eick’s spectacular German buffet of traditional Oktoberfest food, including bratwurst, roast pork, sauerkraut, sweet and sour cabbage, German potato salad, chef salad and more, plus dessert. You can also purchase beer or soft drinks from the cash bar.
Listen and dance to music by The Frankfurters, an authentic Bavarian-Swiss band featuring the best in Oktoberfest music and instruments. The Frankfurters will perform on hand-carved wooden Swiss alphorns, a singing-saw and Alpine bells, all traditional Bavarian instruments. And you can be sure you’ll hear a lot of yodeling!
Special prize drawings and a Basket Raffle will offer many chances to win beautiful items and gift baskets. We’ll also draw for the winner of a handmade Amish Quilt in the “Country Rose” pattern.
All ages, kids to grandparents, will enjoy our Oktoberfest. Tickets for this evening of German music and food are $35. Call in your reservations to the History Center at (716) 434-7433 or buy tickets at our office, 215 Niagara St. in Lockport.
Plan to share our Bavarian party right here in Lockport with us as we offer German food, music and good times Oct. 21!
(Please note location is corrected from our most recent newsletter.)]]>
The late and legendary return to Lockport for the afternoon as the History Center’s Step Back in Time re-enactors tell “Cemetery Tales,” Sunday, Sept. 10, from 1-3 p.m. in Lockport’s Cold Springs Cemetery, 4849 Cold Springs Road.
Now calling this beautiful cemetery their home, four friends from the Great Beyond will make your acquaintance and tell you of their lives and accomplishments in Lockport and Niagara County.
“James Shuler” (Geoff Koplas) will speak about his Lockport quarries, which furnished stone for the cemetery wall and his family home, now DeSales Catholic School.
“Birdsall Holly” (Charlie Begley), will tell of his career as an industrialist and inventor of the first pressurized fire hydrant, plus his scandalous family life.
“Lyman and Amy Spalding” (Dennis and Carol Caisse) will speak about their lives in early Lowertown Lockport, an enduring Quaker faith and their dedication to community service.
“Dr. Sarah Lamb Cushing” (Carol Brenon) will tell of her life as a pioneering female physician in 19th-century Lockport.
Tour participants should meet at the cemetery’s Cold Springs Road entrance. Please understand that this is a walking tour through the cemetery grounds, which include grassy areas and uneven ground. Plan to bring an umbrella or camp stool if needed.
The tour will be held rain or shine. This will be our final cemetery tour of the 2017 summer season.
All tours are $10 per person. Please call the History Center for tour reservations at (716) 434-7433.
Find out about the craft and symbolism of bed coverlets at We Have You Covered, the new exhibit at the History Center’s Col. William Bond-Jesse Hawley House. The exhibit is open most Sundays and Mondays, 1-4 pm, through October. ( PLEASE CALL TO VERIFY DATES & TIMES 434-7433) We Have You Covered presents examples of bed coverlets from the History Center’s collection.
Bed coverlets were a staple of everyday use in most homes from the colonial era until the late 1800s and generally homemade on a loom. They were made of dyed wool, most often a dark indigo blue, like our example in the photo at right, and woven on a linen or cotton cord.
Coverlets very often tell a story. Most homemakers wove their own, sometimes borrowing a loom if they didn’t have one. Our example, typical of many, contains an inscription woven directly into the coverlet design, usually in a corner block. Inscriptions carried the weaver’s name, location of the loom, and year of weaving.
Coverlet designs ranged from simple geometric patterns to more elaborate motifs of shells, flowers, eagles and other images. All coverlets had a pattern and some were enhanced with decorative fringe.
The Bond-Hawley House is the oldest brick home in Lockport and includes 12 fully furnished rooms. The coverlet exhibit will be shown throughout the house.
We Have You Covered is co-curated by Becky and Gloria Pittler, volunteers who create the Bond House seasonal and Christmas exhibits every year. Many, many thanks to them!
Donations are accepted for admission. Please call the History Center at (716) 434-7433 for information.]]>
Penney Trail Exhibit Begins 7-Museum Journey at Erie Canal Discovery Center
Advertisements of the Penney Trail Open at Niagara History Center
A two-exhibit extravaganza recognizing the vast collection of the late Dr. Charles Rand Penney is now shown at two sites of Lockport’s Niagara History Center.
The Penney Trail exhibit is an artistic rendering on panels depicting the diverse collection philanthropist Penney donated to seven local historic and cultural sites. The nine-panel exhibit will premiere at its first stop, the History Center’s Erie Canal Discovery Center, 24 Church St., home to this organization’s own Penney collection. It will run through October.
The seven sites received a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to exhibit panels displaying photos of Penney’s donations to their sites. Trail members are the: Niagara History Center (lead agency), Buffalo History Museum, Buffalo Museum of Science, Burchfield-Penney Art Center, Castellani Art Museum, Roycroft Campus and Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site.
Each historic and cultural site has one panel in this exhibit. The panels are intended to travel on a trail from one organization to the other. Introductory and summary panels round out the exhibit.
Panel themes are: World of Art (Castellani Art Museum and Burchfield-Penney Art Center); World of Craft Art (Roycroft Campus); World of Objects (Niagara History Center/Erie Canal Discovery Center and Buffalo History Museum); World of Travel (Buffalo Museum of Science); and World of Fairs (Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site).
The panels also tell the story of Penney (1923-2010), a lifetime collector of art, artifacts and much more. In mid-life, the Buffalo native transitioned from a law career to the avocations of collecting, travel and research. His vast collection grew to include more than 100 themes.
The History Center greatly appreciates the help of grant consultant Eve Berry on this project.
The Niagara History Center is now showing the related exhibit The Advertisements of the Penney Trail, featuring examples from its own Penney collection, at its 215 Niagara St. site. This exhibit is an eclectic mix of early 20th century advertising for diverse Lockport and Niagara County businesses. These ads are seen on a wide variety of objects, including plates, masks, bags, rulers and many other articles. This exhibit may be seen through December.
Admission to both exhibits is free. Please call (716) 434-7433 for additional information.]]>