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Congressman Higgins Joins Explore & More For Announcement Regarding Proposed Waterfront Museum

Aug 16, 2012
Press Release

Explore & More Children's Museum today announced the selection of Gyroscopea museum planning, architecture and exhibit design firm, to lead its master planning process, taking a critical step towards opening a children’s museum on the Buffalo waterfront. The Master Plan will be funded by The John R. Oishei Foundation, the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation (ECHDC) and Fisher-Price. 

“These funders have made a strategic investment in the future of Explore & More Children's Museum, the development of the Buffalo Waterfront and the children of Western New York,” noted museum Board Chair Peter Bergmann. “Gyroscope brings expertise in childhood learning in a museum setting, a history of cutting edge work in the field, and experience in bringing community involvement in the planning process.  This level of national expertise will be complemented with the local insights of the firm of Flynn Battaglia Architects.”

At a press conference announcing the selection, Congressman Brian Higgins stated, “The addition of Explore & More builds on the exciting progress in place and underway making Buffalo’s waterfront a one-of-a-kind destination people will want to visit often. The museum’s temporary summer stations are already drawing great crowds.  A permanent, expanded Explore & More creates a real family-friendly facility at the water’s edge that links community, history and our natural environment in a fun and educational attraction.”

“Explore & More is grateful to our supporters and our biggest partner in this project, the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation,” noted Bergmann. “The leadership and staff of the Corporation have helped move this project — and so many others — forward.  We’re excited about being one piece of an amazing puzzle combining attractions, restaurants, shops, businesses and housing.”

In May, the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation selected Explore & More to be the operator of a new children’s museum at Canalside.  Before design or construction of the museum building starts, Explore & More must complete both a Master Plan and complementary Capital Campaign Plan within one-year.  Work will begin on the Master Plan by mid-September, with fundraising efforts starting shortly thereafter.

Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation Interim Chairman Sam Hoyt noted, “The excitement and momentum building around the development of Canalside is growing, and we are thrilled about the addition of Explore & More.  As a family attraction, the museum expects to serve more than 130,000 people each year.  With the nearby canals — open with boat rentals in the summer and ice skating in the winter —  families will have plenty of activities to bring them back to Canalside all year round.”

“New York State has made a strategic investment in Waterfront Development through the work of Empire State Development and the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation,” noted New York State Senator Tim Kennedy.  “As the father of three young children, I recognize the need for an attraction like the Children’s Museum along our water’s edge. The investment here and the attention being paid to Buffalo’s waterfront is leading to the revitalization of our city and region while providing much needed recreational options for children and families across Western New York.”

“The John R. Oishei Foundation recently awarded the museum $200,000 in operating support over the next two years,” said Foundation President Robert Gioia.  “This investment in Explore & More will support the museum’s work on master planning as well as the expansion of their staff.  The museum has ambitious plans to reach out to the community, getting people from all walks of life interested in the museum’s efforts.”

“Fisher-Price has supported Explore & More’s growth since museum’s grassroots beginnings nearly twenty years ago,” noted Fisher-Price Senior Vice President Tina Zinter-Chahin.  “We are proud to dedicate our 2012 Community Partner Grant to help the museum create an amazing place for children and families, and we are looking forward to seeing the results of the Plan.” 

Explore & More’s new museum at Canalside will tell the story of Buffalo — yesterday, today and into the future.  The current plans include a centerpiece interactive exhibit on the Erie Canal, an exhibit on Buffalo’s neighborhoods and cultures, and hands-on fun with construction, food, music, physical activity and much more.  The Master Planning process will build upon these plans and promote community involvement and feedback as the museum develops. 

The museum — currently located in East Aurora — serves nearly 50,000 children and family members through hands-on exhibits, programs and activities that inspire creativity, curiosity and imagination.