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I recently visited the Buffalo Historical Society. I was interested to see if any improvements had been made over the last five years, since my last visit was a disappointment. Alas, this most recent experience also was a letdown.

My primary objections are with the scarcity of exhibits and the poor maintenance of existing ones. Buffalo has a unique and successful history that should produce a much greater volume of artifacts and displays than this museum offers. Granted, the building is rather large, but I find it hard to believe that there are not more historical pieces available to fully convey Buffalo's previous eras. Regarding maintenance, I was disturbed by the fact that every interactive exhibit with some type of audio-visual display was "out of order." What image must this convey to tourists or first-time visitors? Certainly not a positive one.

This is not a direct criticism of the museum's curators, although they should be concerned. Rather, it is an appeal to area philanthropists to make the Historical Society a higher priority. Clearly, the problems -- as a few museum signs acknowledge -- are partially a result of limited operating funds. While I don't begrudge other arts or recreation institutions their success, and in fact encourage it, I believe that a history museum tends to be a primary symbol of an area's tourism, and should reflect well on the city.

Quite frankly, I was more impressed with the layout of the museum's gift shop, with its creative displays and abundant stock, than with the exhibits themselves. This is a sad comment to have to make.

As we approach the peak tourist season, I hope my thoughts will fall on some influential ears and give the society a boost.



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