Penney Trail Exhibit Begins 7-Museum Journey at Erie Canal Discovery Center

Advertisements of the Penney Trail Open at Niagara History Center

Charles Rand Penney (photo by Dennis Stierer)

Charles Rand Penney (photo by Dennis Stierer)

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.

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