3D Objects



Experiencing History with You

An inspired group of history makers founded The Buffalo History Museum, then called the Buffalo Historical Society, in 1862. They assembled a unique collection of regional paintings, photographs, artifacts, and manuscripts to share with researchers and the public.

To accommodate the organization’s rapid growth, operations moved into one of three buildings that comprise the current museum campus. Buffalo architect George Cary designed the New York State Building, hostess for the 1901 Pan American Exposition, which was intended to remain the permanent home for local history. Our mission expanded, and exhibitions to share the collection emerged as a priority.

From handwritten business ledgers to innovations marking industries, from folders of neighborhood photos to complete soldiers’ footlockers, by 1950 the Museum cataloged and safeguarded a vast array of treasures. Westward expansion, entertainment industrialization, immigration, transportation, presidents, military and social history are reflected in our collections and tie us to our nation’s story.

In 2012, on our 150th Anniversary, we became known as The Buffalo History Museum.

Today, we care for and share nearly half-million objects and their stories that characterize Western New York and draw national attention to our community. View our annual report. 


Experiencing history with you, by safekeeping, remembering, discovering, and sharing our stories; learning and exploring together; sparking emotional and social connections within our unique community.

• Be the leading cultural and educational institution for the study, interpretation and publication of Western New York history.
• Ensure and advocate for the preservation, exploration, and enjoyment of our historic treasures.
• By inspiring personal connections to our regional stories, strengthen the fabric of the community and encourage respect.
• Be a hub for gathering, socializing, connecting, and engaging – specifically a welcoming place that establishes and expands networks and creates shared experiences.
• Build sustainable financial capital and hire, develop and retain talent.
• Through our past, present and future, foster connections with our shared history and contribute to the region’s overall quality of life.
• Engage our supporters as goodwill ambassadors for the Museum and for Western New York.


Work together, valuing others perspectives and contributions, and allow new and creative ideas and possibilities to arise.


Listen actively; be open, honest and mindful in our communication.


In our operations and outreach, we prioritize inclusivity and access.


Exude enthusiasm and energy in our work, ensuring that all people feel welcome and have opportunities for participation.


Continuously grow and improve through our implementation of personal and professional best practices and our investment in our people, programs and resources.


Demonstrate the highest level of ethics, authenticity, credibility and transparency in our interactions with all people.


Passionately keep and share our community’s stories.


Meet or exceed our responsibilities as a regional museum and non-profit organization.

About our National Historic Landmark Building

Buffalo architect George Cary designed the New York State Building for the 1901 Pan American Exposition. It is the only structure that was intended to remain from the exposition. The building was dedicated to the then Buffalo Historical Society on August 6, 1901 to serve as a home to the Society.

Most of the Museum’s exhibitions, programs, and special events are held in the Pan Am Building.

Our Leadership

We share a passion for the past. We enjoy the contagious enthusiasm inspired by museum visits and conjured by the collection. We are grateful that the community’s stories – ordinary and extraordinary – have been entrusted to us.

Melissa Brown

Executive Director

Melissa joined The Buffalo History Museum in 1998. Her initial focus was researching and processing the Pan American Exposition Collection in preparation for the 2001 Centennial. She was appointed Director of Research & Interpretation in 2009, and she became the Museum’s 11th Executive Director in 2011.

Board of Managers


President – Kevin Brady, Marketing Research Consultant

Treasurer – Brian Dempsey, CCMA, LLC

Secretary – Sandra Starks, Retired Cultural Tourism in WNY

Vice President – Anne Conable, Buffalo & Erie County Public Library

Vice President – Cassie Irish, Thermo Fisher Scientific

Vice President – Bill O’Donnell, Retired Senior Restaurant Industry

Vice President – Alexander Schimert, Wilmington Trust

Vice President – Melissa Leonard, 7th Gen Cultural Resources

Vice President – Julian Looney, Antunovich Associates



Dr. Lisa Marie Anselmi, SUNY Buffalo State

Dr. Barbara Seals Nevergold, Uncrowned Queens Institute for Research & Education on Women, Inc.

Rosario Chetta, Phillips Lytle

Christopher Copeland, M&T Bank

Noel Emerling, Retired Educator

Michael Quinniey, Western New York Minority Media Professionals Inc.

Stuart Rockefeller, University of Buffalo

Judge Penny Wolfgang, Buffalo City Court

Lisa Yaeger, Tiveron Law, PLLC

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