The big, neoclassical repository for much of the region’s history has a new name and street address to go with some new approaches for the future.
The Buffalo History Museum, formerly the Buffalo & Erie County Historical Society, was announced Thursday, along with a new street address, One Museum Court, and logo.
A revamped website, buffalohistory.org, goes online next Thursday.
“The museum’s lack of identity in the community emerged as a serious concern during focus groups and survey research, motivating our decision to rebrand,” Executive Director Melissa Brown said in the museum’s auditorium while announcing the changes.
“Fresh exhibits, strategic partnerships, extended night hours and tripled program offerings drove momentum in 2012,” she said. “Launching our new look is the polish on a dynamic 150th year.”
The logo, by Eric Mower and Associates, with an image of the building, is expected to be displayed on a sign next month on Elmwood Avenue. It was fabricated from translucent polycarbonate with raised lettering and will sit atop a platform of marble reclaimed from the demolished St. Joseph New Cathedral, formerly on Delaware Avenue.
“It will echo the marble in our building and also suggest, subtly, our mission and what’s so important to us,” Brown said.
“This occasion marks a significant milestone for the Buffalo History Museum and the community we serve,” said Joan M. Bukowski, museum board president. “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 Historical Society dates to 1862 and the Civil War. Its headquarters, built in 1901 for the Pan-American Exposition, was constructed as a permanent home for the museum.
To celebrate the latest changes, the museum will offer free admission today, including a tour at 2 p.m. led by Tara Lyons, program manager. The doors also will be open to the Resource Center, 459 Forest Ave., with a tour at 10:30 a.m.
“Our mission has always been centered on the collection, and we want to drive people to the building and reinvigorate the space,” Brown said.
There are plans to replace the museum’s aging “Buffalo Made” exhibit and present a new Native American display on the second-floor mezzanine.
The museum also is increasing the community collaborations it began this year with the Hotel @ the Lafayette. In November, it will team with Dipson Theatres for the opening of the movie “Lincoln.”
An Abraham Lincoln life mask and a political ribbon will be in the Amherst Theatre’s lobby, and free passes to the museum will be offered at the film premiere.
County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz, who was on hand for Thursday’s announcement, said he didn’t object to the county’s name disappearing from the title.
“I think the design is an excellent design, and I don’t have any objections to it being called the Buffalo History Museum because, truthfully, that’s what most people think of it as,” he said.
The county pays $390,000 of the museum’s $1.2 million operating budget, or about one-third. Poloncarz said he hopes to see more exhibits rotated in and out of the top floor, where the exhibits have generally stayed put for years, and he expressed confidence that will happen.
“Art and science museums are constantly updating exhibits to make it so people want to return,” Poloncarz said. “Instead of coming once every four or five years, they come once every four or five months, and that’s what we’re hopeful they will do here. I am very encouraged by the direction they are going.”
The museum’s collection includes more than 100,000 artifacts, 200,000 photographs and 20,000 books in its research library. Events being developed include a lecture series on “The Giants of Buffalo History” and a major exhibition next year on the War of 1812.