The North Tonawanda History Museum, located in the former G.C. Murphy department store on Webster Street, has 16 sponsors paying $400 each to redo one of the 25 window panes to protect items on exhibit and to inform passers-by.

NORTH TONAWANDA – Despite being closed for the season, work is going strong behind the scenes at the North Tonawanda History Museum. This includes the window pane covering project designed to provide protection to items in the museum at 54 Webster St. and information to passers-by on Webster and Manhattan streets.

So far, 16 sponsors have come forward, paying $400 to sponsor one of 25 panes on Webster Street. Once these panes have been spoken for, then five additional panes on the rear of the building on Manhattan Street will become available.

The sponsorships pay the costs to have each pane designed and installed.

Most recently an Art and Music Heritage pane has been sponsored by North Tonawanda vocalists Valentina Swierczynski Kozlowski and Nicholas DiVirglio, and North Tonawanda artists Robert Mangold and Len Rusin.

Also in progress are the Rand Family pane, designed by Beverly DiPalma and sponsored by the descendants of Benjamin Long Rand, the city’s mayor from 1915 to 1918, and his wife, Kate Stanley Rand; and a third pane providing hours of operation and other information, sponsored in memory of Arlene Stocki McNair. Both are being processed at Pioneer Printing and will soon be delivered and installed.

The new panes will join the Richardson Boat Co. pane, which promotes the Erie Canal Exhibit inside the museum, sponsored by Luke Family members in honor of John T. and Louis J. Luke, master boat builders from 1875 to 1940; the Wurlitzer Co. promotional pane, which shows exhibits on display in the Wurlitzer Exhibit Hall in the museum, sponsored by the Grajek Family, in memory of Stanley A. Grajek; the Pan-American Exposition pane, sponsored by Dean Kopcho; as well as the first two informational panes, one sponsored by Bruce Miner of Sarasota, Fla., and the other by James A. Maglisceau on behalf of the North Tonawanda High School Class of 1961.

The museum is located in the former G.C. Murphy five-and-dime store, which is a former retail site lined with plate glass windows.

Donna Zellner Neal, the museum’s volunteer executive director, has said that covering the museum’s big plate glass windows would protect and preserve exhibits from damaging sunlight and ultraviolet rays, which are a danger to the historical collection. The panels also provide information to members of the public who may not be aware of the museum.

“We want people to know we are not an antiques store,” Neal said when the project was started in October.

The museum is closed to the public for the winter and will reopen on March 15 for its used book sale. Until then, passers-by are invited to watch the developing panes project and learn more about the exhibits inside the museum.

Opportunities remain available for schools, businesses, families and individuals to sponsor panes on a number of topics, including industry, military, school and church heritage, as well as other exhibit-related panes.

Information on the program is available on the museum’s website,


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