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Planning Your First Visit to the Research Library at the Buffalo History Museum
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Planning Your First Visit to the Research Library at the Buffalo History Museum


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Because of the irreplaceable and often fragile documents and papers in the Research Library, we have rules for Library visitors that are probably different than what you're used to. This short slide …

Because of the irreplaceable and often fragile documents and papers in the Research Library, we have rules for Library visitors that are probably different than what you're used to. This short slide show to get you acquainted with us.

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  • 1. Planning Your First Visit to the Research Library ©Buffalo History Museum 1 Museum Court Buffalo, NY 14216 January 12, 2015
  • 2. We’re a National Historic Landmark  Founded in 1862 as the Buffalo Historical Society  Building designed by George Cary in 1900  Changed our name in 1960 to Buffalo & Erie County Historical Society  Changed our name in 2012 to Buffalo History Museum
  • 3. How to find us  1 Museum Court, formerly 25 Nottingham Court  North of Rt. 198 off Elmwood Ave.  Free parking & bike rack  Take the #20 Elmwood bus route, exit at Nottingham  The Library is on the main floor of the white marble temple
  • 4. Three Closest Lodgings for Out-Of-Town Visitors  Foundry Suites Hotel  Elmwood Village Inn  Parkside House  There are more options!
  • 5. Admission  Free to Society members and U.S. veterans  $7.00 for all others  Because of the irreplaceability and fragility of library collections, children under 12 are strongly encouraged to use the public library instead of our library  We invite parents & teachers to bring children to museum exhibits and programs instead.
  • 6. Hours  Library hours are Wednesdays through Saturdays, 1-5 pm  No appointments necessary  Professional librarians are always on duty to help you find what you need
  • 7.  When we are closed, we suggest visiting the Grosvenor Room at the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library. It has a superb local history & genealogy collection. 
  • 8.  Collecting since 1862!  20,000+ books  200,000 photographs  2,000 manuscript collections  6,000 postcards  Extensive Vertical/Pamphlet File  22-drawer Clippings file  6,000+ microfilms of newspapers, censuses, church records, cemetery records, and more Our Collections at a Glance
  • 9. A Few Things We Don’t Have  Vital records (government-issued birth, marriage & death certificates)  Your house plans  Passenger lists  Immigration & naturalization records  School attendance records  Deeds or property transactions  Employment records  Motion picture or TV footage  So where are these things?
  • 10. Everything Can Be Retrieved in Minutes Except…  10,000 maps, drawings, posters, prints and other oversized works on paper  About 3 dozen extremely large, heavy ledgers from a few manuscript collections  Negatives  All of the above are stored off-site and may be seen by appointment
  • 11. A Few Rules  Purses, backpacks, briefcases, etc., are kept behind the desk during your visit  Library materials may not be borrowed or removed from room  Cotton gloves are required for handling photographs. We keep a large supply.  Staff does all photocopying. Some things are too large or fragile to photocopy.  We scan only for publication or exhibition. Fees apply.
  • 12. All Library Visitors Must Sign In  We ask for your full name and address  Effective January 1, 2015, signing in will be done via touch-screen tablet computers instead of clipboard  We are happy to help anyone who is new to tablets
  • 13. Please, No Food or Drink in the Library Many good restaurants within a 10-minute walk The Museum does not have an on-site café Your snacks can be enjoyed in the State Court
  • 14. Please silence phones and take calls outside of the library
  • 15. What about cameras?  You may take pictures of museum buildings, grounds, programs, events, and the library interior for noncommercial purposes.  Please add them to our Flickr group!   You may not take pictures of library books, photos, maps, documents, collections, etc.
  • 16. New! Museum Quality Reproductions  Order online at  Custom archival prints of Buffalo scenes for home or office decor  Great gift idea
  • 17. Pencils only. We have lots! This prevents accidental ink marks on irreplaceable items.
  • 18. Technology on Site  FRANK, our online catalog  Yes, we have WiFi, laptops welcome!  Two microfilm reader-printers, $.25/page. Our machines do not have scanning capability.  Three microfilm readers  Photocopies made only by staff, $.25 each. Our machine cannot make color copies.
  • 19. New policy effective January 1, 2015  In order to protect one-of-a-kind collections, those who wish to use manuscripts & rare books must apply for a Scholar Pass and present a valid picture ID  Pictures, microfilm, atlases, card files, and ordinary books do not require a Scholar Pass  Application and guidelines are online here: 
  • 20. Our Most Popular Tool
  • 21. Search FRANK before your visit   Find Resources And New Knowledge. A searchable online catalog of 27,000 books & manuscripts in our collection  In your search results, books are indicated by blue icons, manuscripts by red icons  To use manuscripts, you must apply for a Scholar Pass
  • 22.  Explore unique digital collections from us & similar institutions, including:  War of 1812 documents  Crystal Beach photographs  Buffalo address books
  • 23.  Consider it Google for the offline world  A free database listing 1 billion offline items in thousands of libraries, including us!  Books, newspapers, videos, films, sound recordings, archival collections, etc.  We suggest the Advanced Search
  • 24. A Few Things We Cannot Do  We cannot set things aside for you in advance  We are not qualified to draw genealogical conclusions or find your ancestors for you  We cannot provide open-ended research on a list of names or “fill in gaps” in your family tree  We cannot appraise or advise you on the market value of your books or other collectibles  We cannot scan and send collections
  • 25. What We Can Do  Search for obituaries:  Retrieve books, etc., upon arrival  Mail photocopies from items that can withstand photocopying: $10 for the first 1-20 copies, $.50/page thereafter  Lend newspaper & other microfilm through interlibrary loan  Answer “How do I find…?” questions  Suggest avenues for research
  • 26. More About What We Have  Our online collections  Our offline collections
  • 27. Contact us  Email:  Voice: (716) 873-9644 x 306  For best results, call Wednesdays through Saturdays, 1-5 pm
  • 28. We look forward to your visit!