Buffalo History Museum launches "Hands-On History" program

Jul 2, 2019

The Buffalo History Museum launched a new family-friendly program Tuesday aimed at making the past come alive. It’s called Hands-On History, and it includes a mini-tour of select exhibits followed by related activities.

Sean, 12, makes a Haudenosaunee-style pinch pot during the Buffalo History Museum's first "Hands-On History" event.
Credit Kyle S. Mackie/WBFO News

“That’s the one thing we’ve been trying to do here at the Buffalo History Museum over the past few years—to really get more artifacts out from behind the scenes and in front of people," said Mark Sledziewski, the museum’s program and education coordinator.

Sledziewski led the first Hands-On History event, which focused on the permanent Haudenosaunee exhibit. Haudenosaunee means “People of the Long House,” and it’s the preferred term used by members of the Iroquois Confederacy to identify themselves.

Tuesday's program began with a guided tour of The John R. Oishei Native American Gallery. The exhibit tells the story of the Haudenosaunee as the first inhabitants of Western New York, and it houses artifacts like the famous peace medal President George Washington gave to the Seneca orator and chief known as "Red Jacket."

After the tour, participants tried their hand at making clay pinch pots, and then played a version of a Haudenosaunee bowl game.

“I thought it was wonderful," Kristen Buffamanti-Rivera said of the new program. She's originally from Buffalo but now lives in North Carolina.

Mark Sledziewski, right, led a mini-tour of the museum's permanent Haudenosaunee exhibit.
Credit Kyle S. Mackie/WBFO News

“Both my sister Barbara and I remember coming to this museum for field trips with Waterfront Elementary, and we had fond memories. I wanted to share that with my son, who is now 12.”

Hands-On History will run every Tuesday afternoon in July and August from 1 to 3 p.m. Group activities will vary depending on the exhibit being highlighted.