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The Buffalo History Museum announced the appointment of a new president this week after two eventful years of leadership from former board president Joan Bukowski.

Henry Nowak, a New York State Supreme Court justice and History Museum board member since 2005, was elected president in December and officially took up his new post Jan. 1. His term lasts a year.

Nowak will take the reins of the museum’s board at a time of significant change for the 151-year-old institution, which recently completed a rebranding campaign and changed its name from the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society. The museum is located at One Museum Court, at the corner of Nottingham and Elmwood Avenue.

During Bukowski’s unusually eventful tenure, the museum hired a new executive director, Melissa Brown; celebrated its 150th anniversary; won a $150,000 grant from the John R. Oishei Foundation for the retooling of its exhibits; and launched a public-private partnership with the Hotel @ the Lafayette as part of a desire to develop new funding sources at a time of dwindling corporate support.

“I am humbled and honored to follow Joan’s great leadership on the board at the History Museum,” Nowak said in a statement. “Her initiative, along with the great efforts of Melissa Brown, our staff, our volunteers and my fellow board members, ensure that 2013 provides exciting exhibits and events for young and old.”

Bukowski praised Nowak’s expertise and said his appointment would “further strengthen and advance the Buffalo History Museum mission.”

“I also think it’s really important for organizations to have fresh leadership and new eyes. I think it’s important for the board and I think it’s important for the staff,” Bukowski said in a phone interview. “He’s been with the museum through much of the transition, and he has a tremendous way with people and is dedicated to all the changes that we’ve been implementing over the past three to four years.”

Nowak, a 1993 graduate of the University at Buffalo’s law school and former Buffalo Housing Court judge, became a State Supreme Court Justice in 2010.

He has received the Erie County Bar Association Volunteer Lawyer’s Project Pro Bono Award, the Advocates Club of Western New York’s leadership and service awards and was named Public Servant of the year in 2006 by the Local Initiative Support Corporation.

email: cdabkowski@buffnews.com