Ira G. Ross Aerospace Museum to Open (Temporarily) in HSBC Arena
The good news is that the Aerospace Museum is officially part of the Inner Harbor and ready to open with exhibits in early August. The better news is that, though this is a temporary move, they plan on staying in the harbor, and may even be eyeing the DLW Railroad Terminal for a permanent home.
When asked if the DLW was a possibility, Museum Trustee and Project Manager Hugh Neeson said, "That's a very interesting building, and that's a very interesting question. We have looked at it."
Along with Neeson, IGR Museum Director Jacek A. Wysocki and Chairman Wayne Hawk said that they are pleased to partner with the Buffalo Sabres and Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation (ECHDC) in bring the museum, formerly the Niagara Aerospace Museum into the HSBC Arena from it's previous location in Niagara Falls, NY.
"We're glad to be at the Harbor Canal site," Neeson said. "It's a good way to salute the new with the old." He went on to pay tribute to the late Elizabeth Ross (nee Olmsted) for her gift to the museum in memory of her late husband, Ira G. Ross, for whom the museum is now named.
Saying, "We think this will be a nice addition to the Naval Park," Neeson went further to point out the rich heritage Buffalo has in terms of aeronautics through Curtis-Wright, Bell and Moog. "We still have a vibrant aerospace industry in Western New York."
Hawk agreed, “It would be difficult to name an important achievement in the history of aviation which does not owe a debt to Western New York engineers and entrepreneurs."
Wysocki stated, "I spent most of my adult life worried about old buildings and old architects. They came in and did their job and left." In comparing what architects built to what our local aeronautic engineers gave to our community and the world, he continued," What we have here is what those other masters built in bricks and mortar. NASA came here looking for answers, and we can tell this story to our young. We have over 2,000 models, components of aircraft, and we can only bring the smallest smattering of what we have."
ECHDC board member Maureen Hurley said, "The time is right. HSBC will make a wonderful temporary home and give the museum the opportunity to have exhibits. It made sense to have them closer, and our hope is that we'll do many things with them out here on the harbor."
When asked about Bass Pro and when the old Memorial Auditorium was coming down, Hurley said, "Our chairman, Jordan Levy, is working hard to keep on schedule. A year from now, the Aud will be down. Right now it's our goal to get people excited about being in the waterfront harbor with lots of features and entertainment."
She added, "A year from now, things will look a lot different."
Just after two P40's, led by another plane, made their final circle through the harbor Neeson concluded, "This is a new horizon. We wanted to be here first. It's altogether fitting with the rebirth of Buffalo."