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History Museum Announces Hours for 2013!!!



January 2 – January 31: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday – 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
(Closed Sunday and Monday)

February 1 – May 31: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday – 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
(Closed Sunday and Monday)

June 1 – August 31: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday – 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
(Closed Sunday)

September 1 – December 31: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday – 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
(Closed Sunday and Monday)

General admission - $5; seniors, veterans of American and Canadian armed forces, college students (with ID) - $3; high school students and middle school students with verification of participation in a required history project - $2.50; active duty American and Canadian military and their families – FREE; North Tonawanda History Museum members – FREE.

The North Tonawanda History Museum Blue Star Museum Program offers free admission to active duty military personnel and their families all year and admission for veterans year round will be at the reduced rate of $3 if they are not members of the North Tonawanda History Museum. A reduced membership rate is offered for veterans with a discount for all membership levels and free membership for active duty military personnel and their families.  Admission is free to the History Museum for members at all times.  The veteran rate is $7.50 for seniors; $10 for individuals; $20 for families; and $175 for individual life membership.  The History Museum is also a participating vendor in the Niagara County “Thank-a-Vet” program, extending the same benefits to non-members of the History Museum who present their photo identification card from Niagara County.

Group tours – by pre-arrangement only.  Please plan on two hours for the tour. 
We are also able to host small private receptions/parties, including a tour, by pre-arrangement only.

ADMISSION FOR PROGRAMS:
Admission for our 2 p.m. Saturday programs is free beginning at 1:30 p.m. for those coming to the programs.



History Museum Announces A New War Of 1812 Exhibit!


Photo courtesy of History Museum volunteer William Bauza.

North Tonawanda History Museum member/volunteer James Steele, a retired City of Tonawanda School District elementary school teacher has created a War of 1812 exhibit to enable North Tonawanda History Museum staff and volunteers to tell the story of the War of 1812 and how it impacted on the Tonawandas. Steele and his colleague, retired City of Tonawanda art teacher Demelt Shaw are the brainchilds behind the Pan-American Expo exhibit donated to the History Museum in 2011 through Shaw's efforts. The two History Museum members/volunteers are continuing the development of the Pan-American exhibit and will be developing an Erie Canal in the Tonawandas exhibit. The History Museum is seeking donations toward a program coordinated by the two men which will include students in North Tonawanda schools in the continuing development of these exhibits.



History Museum Announces Release of "North Tonawanda: Historic Treasures" Volumes I & II

For further details, please download our promotional flyer HERE (.PDF File Format).

Robert J. Clark, president, Robert L. Grosskopf, Jr., vice president, and Craig Haynes, treasurer, join with Executive Director and secretary of the North Tonawanda History Museum Board of Trustees Donna Zellner Neal to proudly announce the birth of their long-awaited two-volume book, "North Tonawanda: Historic Treasures."

The book was in process, per Mrs. Neal, who is also the editor of the book, and her son, Assistant Executive Director and assistant editor of the book, John P. Zellner Neal, since the organization began as an idea in the summer of 2003 when Mrs. Neal was a member of the first interest group discussing the establishment of a history museum IN North Tonawanda FOR North Tonawanda and ABOUT North Tonawanda.

The two Neals have been part of the Museum effort since the first Board meeting on October 9, 2003. Mrs. Neal has always been a full-time (often double-time and even triple-time) volunteer Executive Director in spite of her age and many physical disabilities and John Neal served as a full-time volunteer for the first four years, becoming a paid employee on August 15, 2007.

The book is the second full-length publication of the now nearly eight year old history museum, with the first book, "North Tonawanda: The Lumber City," having been released in November 2007. The first book continues to be available in hard copy ($35) and paperback ($30) --and should always be available because the North Tonawanda History Museum holds the copyright to all of its publications. "We are always having to re-order the first book in both paperback and hard cover," reports Haynes, "because it continues to be so popular, both for first time purchasers--and for gifts for others by first time purchasers and by those who have already read and treasured their own copy."

The new book, per the two Neals, is a totally North Tonawanda creation! Both Neals are North Tonawanda residents. The cover design is by North Tonawanda resident and Museum advisory committee member Beverly DiPalma, Vice President/Creative, Quinlan & Company. Publishing of this book, after a somewhat tumultous year of learning late in the process that a change of publishers was needed, is North Tonawanda's Pioneer Printers, Inc. "Carl P. Hoover, president and owner of Pioneer Printers is also a member of our advisory committee," says Mrs. Neal, "and he has overseen the publishing of all of our publications except our early heritage cookbook series (which also is still available and popular) and our first full-length book. The only reason Pioneer Printers did not publish that book was that they were unable at the time to do a hard cover book and we felt it important that our first full-length book be not only a hard cover version but also have a laminated cover to properly show our respect and love for North Tonawanda. In fact, we set aside the paperback copies and never made them available for the first two years, selling only the hard cover versions. We still sell many more hard covers than paperback copies. We also have never raised the price, keeping them affordable for all who want them so that they can afford multiple copies."

Research for the book began when the museum effort began, with Mrs. Neal learning to create a museum legally and also to develop one that the early supporters wanted, while modifying plans along the way as additional input came in from new people joining the museum effort. In 2006, Walter Wozniak became a volunteer researcher, also with no experience, and he continues as a valued volunteer. Although a Town of Tonawanda resident, now a Village of Kenmore resident, he has been a North Tonawanda History Museum volunteer since early 2006. Randall L. Warblow, former vice president and Trustee and now an Ex-officio Trustee and advisory committee member of the museum, with a focus on genealogy, became a museum researcher in 2009. John Neal, who has been the museum's webmaster and digital curator and IT director throughout the history of the museum, also developed into the museum's lead researcher once he became a paid employee and was physically in the museum daily. Mrs. Neal also credits her historian colleagues around the region and even in other states and countries and many museum supporters who also assist with specific research projects and, most of all, the thousands of present and past residents or members of the families of past residents who have contributed valuable information.

"We realized early on," notes Mrs. Neal, "that the volume of data we were accumulating would for the most part not be accessible to many because they wouldn't even dream of asking for such things without first knowing something about them. That is why we determined early on to preserve as much as we could in permanent form. The history of North Tonawanda is special and unique--and the richest part of it is the stories of the people who were, are, and will be North Tonawanda. We are so delighted that our supporters have realized that we accept things about living people because we will be able to preserve them for the benefit of future generations instead of having to scramble to gather it together in 50 years or so."

The title of this book came from the title given by Mrs. Neal to the museum's biennial historic homes tours, "Historic Treasures Tours." "The historic homes featured in our tours are not the only historic treasures in North Tonawanda," per Mrs. Neal. "Many no longer existing structures, such as our now lost Elks Lodge building, are also historic treasures. We believed from the beginning of our research on the city's history that Oliver Street, in particular, had the most fascinating history of anywhere in the city. It was where the working class people lived, worked, did business, and so many of the factories in which they were employed were near Oliver Street. The section on Oliver Street does not cover everything on Oliver Street--but no one will be able to read that section without coming away with a new appreciation for it. John and I were so pleased also because we were able to add a reference to the loss of Edward Wiater and the destruction of the Elks Lodge building in the copy before printing began. Our hands on approach to producing our publications on the city's history makes it possible to do things that would not be possible if we worked with more customary publishing methods. As with everything we have done in our first eight years, we have never taken the easy way or the routine way of doing things. We have always attempted to take the most effective way. We also have never allowed any obstacle to defeat us along the way. We always find a way to accomplish what we have set out to do for our supporters."

Per Mrs. Neal, the requests for written history began as soon as the idea of a museum was discussed in the summer of 2003. The requests for tours focusing on the history also were frequent and the museum developed 90 minute history walks before they even occupied their first temporary location on Oliver Street. Between the history walks and the biennial homes tours, Mrs. Neal realized that there are many individuals who cannot do the walking anymore and many who wish to enjoy the experience but don't live here anymore. That was the reason the museum has always produced a publication the continue to sell as the guidebook for the homes tours instead of just a disposable program. The guidebooks for the 2005, 2007, 2009, and 2011 tours continue to be good sellers in the museum gift shop. Hence, after producing the first chronological format book, "North Tonawanda: The Lumber City," the focus turned to a street by street history.

"We had to cut out quite a bit from this book that we would have liked to include," said John Neal. "We ended up with an 800 page book in a 680 page two-volume set. We have enough copy that had to be pulled out of this one for at least one more volume, but we are working on Volume III and Volume IV of this title and haven't yet transferred what we had to regretfully pull out of Volume I and Volume II." DiPalma will produce covers for the rest of the series and they will also be printed by Pioneer Printers.

In addition to the many hundreds that were pre-ordered, initial purchases have been significant in the first three days the book has been out, reports Mrs. Neal. "It has been heartwarming to have customers come in who saw copies purchased by friends or family members who just had to run over and get their own copies. We are pretty good at remembering who is related to who but we have had many who came to buy a gift for a friend or relative who knew from our first book release to check and make sure they hadn't already obtained their own copy. We have enjoyed seeing the surprise and pleasure on people's faces as they turn to their street and either find their home or business or that of neighbors or discover a story about family members they didn't realize would be in the book. Often they didn't know the story before, either. It is those reactions and the delight and eagerness of our customers that makes the struggle to get this one out before Christmas worth all the effort. Most customers have walked out looking like they are holding a valuable prize."

Board president Clark said, "We are grateful to the dedicated museum volunteers who responded to the unheard of last minute needs of getting the two-volume sets assembled for distribution on arrival, worked on record keeping so that all prepaid orders were ready for pick up, handled the sale of additional copies and copies of our other publications, packaged and prepared for mailing the hundreds we had to get to the post office on December 23. Half of the books arrived on December 22 and our museum juggler and Executive Director managed to keep her sanity and satisfy everyone until the second half arrived late on December 23. Our thanks to the volunteers who worked with her and made it possible to be open late on the 22nd and 23rd and all day on Christmas Eve."

Now that the book is in stock, it is available for $40 for the two-volume set (tax included). The History Museum accepts Master Card, Visa Card, Discover Card and cash or check. Copies may be mailed for $6 additional.


Museum Needs Your Help!

The Board of Trustees of the North Tonawanda History Museum requests your immediate support of the day-to-day operations of what is rapidly becoming acknowledged as a quality history center and a regional attraction for visitors. We have been operating with an operating funding gap since the beginning of the year.
 
Following six years of profitable operations, we have encountered serious setbacks in the last 18 months because of the economic downturn and just as we had taken on our move into larger quarters and set up for operations and activities. We had to draw on our reserves to make up for reduced grant income caused by the nation's financial crisis. We needed--and continue to need--our current facilities in order to properly protect and display and make accessible to the general public the rich and unique history of North Tonawanda.
 
Those who spend time appreciating what we have created thus far are so grateful. We have been told by museum knowledgeable individuals across the State that we have accomplished in seven years what would have taken many others 30 years to do.
 
Our wonderful and loyal volunteers and primarily volunteer staff deserve the financial support of those we serve. Utilities, insurance, telephone, internet service, payroll, etc., etc. all must be paid in monetary form. Our supporters assist us with donations of office supplies and many operating supplies on a continuing basis, reducing our monetary outlays for such things. Our volunteer Executive Director and her crew have worked miracles to bring us this far. We are, however, at a critical stage right now and need your donations, as you are able, to be able to continue through our eighth year.
 
The North Tonawanda History Museum is a charitable organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
 
We, the Board of Trustees, are truly grateful for the membership fees, donations, purchases of Museum publications and support of our activities. Without you, we wouldn't have begun--and we wouldn't have gotten this far.
 
Our Executive Director, staff and volunteers need your support of our day-to-day operations as enthusiastically as you are in a position to do so that they can continue to develop the exhibits, properly preserve and protect our rapidly expanding collections, and continue the quality research for which we have become highly respected.
 
We encourage you to consider becoming a Lumber City History Center Steward, with a regular donation, monthly, quarterly, or annually, as you are able, or by becoming a member of our Legacy Society by any number of methods, including simple bequests in your will. It is our firm belief that one day someone who values our efforts will provide for an endowment fund to get us through lean periods in the future.
 
In the meantime, in addition to our existing needs for capital items, we currently need your help in any way possible in addressing our current funding gap.
 
Thank you from the Board of Trustees and on behalf of all of those we serve for your continued faith in us.
 
Board of Trustees
North Tonawanda History Museum
Lumber City History Center
54 Webster Street - North Tonawanda, NY 14120
Phone: 716-213-0554    Fax:  716-213-0155
Website: http://www.nthistorymuseum.org - Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/NTHistoryMuseum
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/nthistory



Museum Announces Volunteer and Board Positions Available Immediately

The North Tonawanda History Museum is seeking a number of volunteer trainees who are able to commit to a regular weekly schedule.  These volunteers will be trained for specific museum related responsibilities.
 
Needed are volunteers for the following categories:
 
Researchers - preferably with experience in working with old records, directories, census reports, land deeds, etc.  Will train as needed if sufficient interest exists.  Computer and internet experience valuable.  Must collaborate with archival records coordinator, reference library assistants, digital records assistants, cataloguing assistants, and data entry assistants.
 
Data entry assistants to be trained to use museum specific software, requires use of digital camera, scanner, etc.  Must be detail oriented. Must collaborate with digital records assistants, cataloguing assistants, reference library assistants, and archival records assistants.
 
Docents/greeters, must enjoy history and meeting people.  Must be team oriented.
 
Digital records assistants - for scanning and other related assignments, collaborating with other digital records assistants, cataloguing assistants, archival records assistants, reference library assistants, and data entry assistants.
 
Cataloguing assistants - must enjoy manual record keeping, creating labels, collaborating with digital records assistants, data entry assistants, reference library assistants, archival records assistants. 
 
Reference library assistants - must have library experience, collaborate with archival records assistants, cataloguing assistants, digital records assistants,
 
Archival records assistants - must have thorough knowledge of filing methods, enjoy history, collaborate with cataloguing assistants, digital records assistants, data entry assistants and reference library assistants.
 
Volunteer coordinator - must have experience in orientation, training, scheduling, and volunteer records management.
 
All volunteers report to the Executive Director and Assistant Executive Director.  Residence in North Tonawanda is not a requirement.
 
Call or email for an application form.
 
Also, the Governance Committee of the Board of Trustees is seeking candidates for several additional openings on the Board of Trustees.  Call or email for an application form.


NORTH TONAWANDA MAGNETS NOW AVAILABLE!!!

The North Tonawanda History Museum is pleased to announce the beginning of a line of North Tonawanda magnets.  The first two in the series, a colored photographic view of Webster/Sweeney Street looking across the Canal from Tonawanda declaring "PROUD to be from...North Tonawanda, NY" and a black and white 1953 view of the west side of Webster Street from the Sugar Bowl almost to Goundry Street labeled "Historic Downtown North Tonawanda, NY" are the first in the line and are available for purchase at $2 each.  An NTHS team letter magnet will also soon be available. Additional photo magnets will be designed.  A trial selection of tee shirts and caps reading "Proud to be from North Tonawanda" will soon be available also.



"PROUD to be from... North Tonawanda, NY"



"Historic Downtown North Tonawanda, NY"

Call us at (716) 213-0554 for shipping rates if placing order by phone.


Museum Now Accepting Discover Card!!!


The North Tonawanda History Museum is pleased to announce that, in addition to MasterCard and Visa, Discover Card is also an acceptable form of payment.  In addition to Museum books and publications and other publications by local authors, these cards may be used for the purchase of registration for tickets to the September 12 tour of historic homes.

Contact a Museum Representative by calling (716-213-0554) or emailing nthistorymuseum@aol.com for more information.


Museum "Buy A Brick" Campaign Continues!



In 2008, the History Museum Board authorized volunteer Danielle Oney to develop plans for the "Buy a Brick Campaign."  This campaign is ongoing, with engraved 8x8" ceramic tiles offered for $100 for individuals and non-profit organizations, $250 for families, and $500 for corporations.  The tiles, many of which are already on display in the new building, will eventually be installed on the interior walls of the History Museum portion of the building. Brick may be purchased by downloading and printing the following application which can then be sent in to the Museum for processing:

BUY A BRICK APPLICATION
(.PDF File Format)


Kristin Doebler Antemann and Facebook to the Rescue!



We have recently found out that our Online Forums provider (Xsorbit.com) has shut down services (without giving anyone notice at that). We were lucky enough to have a Facebook page created for us within the last few months by Kristin Doebler Antemann and would like to invite all of our old Forum guests to visit the following link to join our new online community hub via registration through Facebook. You will see that she has added the very same forum topics as with Xsorbit and encourage everyone to join and post freely.

Click here to view and register for our Facebook page


"Demonstration Edition" of the "Niagara Historic Trail"  Update 2008-2009 Announced


 The North Tonawanda History Museum, in cooperation with the County of Niagara and the Association of Municipal Historians of Niagara County and other County historians, the Historical Society of North German Settlements in Western New York and the Niagara County Historical Society, has produced a "Demonstration Edition" of "Niagara Historic Trail:  A self-guided historic tour of Niagara County."  It is an update of the original 1975 County project and the 1991 update by the County.

The 166-page spiral bound book (designed for use in driving around the County so that the pages will remain open for reference) will be available in January initially through the North Tonawanda History Museum and will also be distributed to other County cultural and tourism locations wishing to handle the sale. 

Cost of the "Demonstration Edition" is $15 each and can be mailed for an additional $4.  The North Tonawanda History Museum is accepting advance orders and accepts Master Card and Visa.  Mail orders should be sent to the History Museum at 314 Oliver Street, North Tonawanda, NY 14120.

The new "Niagara Historic Trail" is dedicated "to our inspirations for their love of local history:  Dr. H. William Feder, A. Daniel Bille, and John W. Percy." 

Although the North Tonawanda History Museum is presently actively involved in moving from their three previous locations into their new home at 54 Webster Street, orders may be placed by phone at 213-0554 or email at nthistorymuseum@aol.com.  A Museum representative will get back to you within 24 hours and arrange for pick up or delivery or mailing. 

When the current Trail update project began in early 2008, the entire County of Niagara was enthusiastically celebrating the 200th anniversary of its establishment.  The volunteer crew of municipal historians and historians from historical organizations in the County did not know what to anticipate in doing the update.  A few had been involved in the earlier versions and some had never seen the printed versions of the earlier efforts.  We did, however, generally conclude that, since a significant number of sites included in the previous two printed publications either no longer exist, were of current interest at the time of their original inclusion, or required new or additional descriptive material based on knowledge gained since the earlier publications, an updated version was justified.

The original intent was to have each community section updated and redone as correctly and thoroughly as possible so that the current publication would be an appropriate addition to the celebration of the County’s anniversary and provide a starting point for future updates, since technology has significantly improved in recent years and repeat printings and updated printings are much easier to facilitate.  The finished product was to serve visitors to Niagara County, students of local history, and residents and become the basis for regular future updates and printing.

The plan was to fund the initial printing with grants and use the proceeds of the sale of the actual first printing for future printings.  A dedicated fund was  established by the North Tonawanda History Museum for this purpose, and a $5,000 grant was obtained from the Niagara County Legislature and a $2,500 Mini-Grant from the New York Council for the Humanities, a New York State affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, toward the initial printing costs.  Beverly DiPalma of Quinlan Associates volunteered her services for the design of the cover.  Carl Hoover of Pioneer Printers served as a consultant to the editor as plans progressed.  Donna Zellner Neal, North Tonawanda History Museum Executive Director served as Editor and coordinated the project.  Dr. H. William Feder made a presentation on the original Trail project at a March 2008 program of the North Tonawanda History Museum.

Because of the complications of a busy anniversary year in the County, a number of municipal historians were unable to fulfill the request for the historical descriptions, photos, and mapping data for their communities.  We apologize, therefore, if their communities’ segments require future work.  Without their assistance, we worked with what others were able to provide and did some of the work at the editor level so that all towns and villages and cities in Niagara County would be represented in the guidebook. The delays that resulted and the additional unanticipated work prevented us from having a completed copy at the initially planned time in September.

Our goal from the beginning, however, and the requirements of our funding of the printing, were for a book to be published in 2008 that could be easily updated and reprinted as needed. 

Once the copy was as complete as we could make it, with the variety of styles provided merged into a uniform style, mapping proved to be a problem because it was not just a matter of adding available maps.  Much of the material supplied, at a significant contribution of time by the historians, did not incorporate street addresses into the descriptions. In some instances, we had to totally eliminate a site which has an important history but for which siting it on a map was not possible as we passed our initial deadline and were continuing past the original schedule to complete the publication. 

Locating accurate maps which would work became a problem.  From the beginning, we had planned on using a uniform map, breaking it into segments.  That, we found as time was running out, left us with maps which did not agree with either of the previous publications in detail.  The historians who provided actual street addresses make it possible for the reader or traveler to locate their sites using the addresses.   We resigned ourselves to using what we had for the first printing.  John Zellner Neal of the North Tonawanda History Museum worked with the editor on this.  We will appreciate input from users of the book and the contributing historians so that the first update we do may include any necessary corrections and revisions. We also will be grateful for better maps for future reprints.   

We realize at this time with the initial printing that better maps are a necessity for the next printing.  Good quality black and white local municipal maps of the cities, towns, and villages are desired for future updates. It is our belief that the kind historians who worked with us in getting this “demonstration edition" together will, upon seeing the initial printing, assist in locating and preparing better local maps.   We also hope that other historic sites omitted from this initial printing of the publication can be incorporated into the next printing.  We hope as well that street addresses can be included – or at least a description of where on the road or street, or between what other sites, a site is located.

Copies will be distributed to all participating contributors to the publication and to the Mayor of each of the three cities, the Town Supervisors of the twelve towns, and the Mayors of the five villages.  City, Town and Village Clerks will also be given a copy of the "demonstration edition."  The "Demonstration Edition" will be available for purchase and will be reprinted as needed until the next update.  It is hoped that the publication will be updated every couple of years.

DOWNLOAD YOUR PRINTABLE ORDER FORM HERE
(.PDF File Format)




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54 Webster Street
North Tonawanda, NY 14120
(716) 213-0554