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Best Museums in Buffalo

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Buffalo & Erie County Naval & Military Park

This waterfront museum, located across from First Niagara Center, salutes all branches of the United States Armed Forces, with special emphasis on veterans from Western New York. Visitors can tour a World War II submarine, a destroyer and a guided missile cruiser. There are military artifacts such as tanks, aircraft and memorabilia, including an interesting collection from the Polish Armed Forces.

Buffalo, NY, United States
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Buffalo Transportation Pierce-Arrow Museum

At one point in time, Buffalo was a leading industrial center and home to several automobile manufacturers. This 20,000 square-foot museum has a special focus on Buffalo's own, though often maligned Pierce Arrow. Most of the vehicles are from the personal collection of museum founder James Sandoro; other vehicles in the museum are on loan from various collectors from all over the country. The Buffalo-made Thomas Flyer is also on display, along with various automotive memorabilia including photos, paintings, household items, factory items, signs and more about this industrious city. Hours are seasonal.

Buffalo, NY, United States
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Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site

Ultimately the site of Theodore Roosevelt's inauguration as President of the United States following the assassination of William McKinley, this stately Greek Rival home has stood at 641 Delaware Avenue since the early 1800s. Also known as the Ansley Wilcox House, the building served as a emergency venue for Roosevelt's swearing-in ceremony that took place on 14th September 1901. The house has undergone a series of architectural changes over the centuries but retains an original structure that formed a part of the Buffalo Barracks compound. While the presidential office is by far the site's prime attraction, its onsite museum is equally impressive preserving exhibits from the Pan-American Exposition of 1901 among many others.

Buffalo, NY, United States
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Buffalo Museum of Science

This museum is dedicated to all things science, from cosmology and natural history to archaeology and zoology, the museum's collection surely has something to entice the visitor. One of the highlights is the ephemeral Tibetan Sand Mandala that appears and disappears in accordance with the Buddhist axiom of impermanence. The museum also has one of the largest known Kodiak bear specimens in North America and its perfect for posing pictures. If you visit at night, you can visit the Kellogg observatory and take a look into the heavens (weather permitting). The museum also promotes science in the community among citizens as well as educators and researchers, with its various programs for children, families and schools held throughout the year.

Buffalo, NY, United States
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Burchfield Penney Art Center

Situated in Rockwell Hall on the Buffalo State College campus and close to the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, this museum is dedicated primarily to the work of American watercolorist Charles Burchfield, who died in 1967. The Burchfield collection consists of almost 700 pieces of art; there are paintings, drawings, sketches, prints and even wallpaper designs displayed here. The museum also has a 5,800-piece collection that displays the work of Western New York artists in addition to many others around the country, including the Charles Rand Penney Roycroft Collection with objects made available by the Roycroft Campus community.

Buffalo, NY, United States
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Iron Island Museum

Iron Island is not some piece of land you'll find in the middle of Lake Erie, this 'island' is actually in the Lovejoy Neighborhood of Buffalo. The oddly named museum is run under the auspices of the Iron Island Preservation Society of Lovejoy and the society's aim is to preserve the historical record of the area. Inside the museum, guests will find memorabilia, artistic renderings of buildings and photos of war veterans who lived in the area to an authentic, wooden altar from an 1896 church that once stood on the site. One other side note, it is said that the building is haunted by a ghost named 'Edgar', a war veteran who never had his remains buried.

Buffalo, NY, United States
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Buffalo & Erie County Historical Society

Founded in 1862 by former President Millard Fillmore (also a Buffalo native) and housed in the last remaining building from the 1901 Pan-American Exposition, the Society has exhibits on Western New York history from the first explorers to the present. Included in the over 80,000 artifacts are items such as the pistol used to assassinate President William McKinley in Buffalo in 1901. The building and the Delaware Park setting alone are worth the visit.

Buffalo, NY, United States
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Buffalo Fire Historical Society Museum

For decades, equipment used by firefighters from the early 1800s gathered rust in musty rooms until it was decided in 1981 that these brave men should have more significance than just dusty memories. Included is an 1831 hand pump, an parade carriage from 1893, and an early 20th-century street-corner fire alarm. Throughout the museum visitors will see what it takes to make it as a firefighter and the obstacles they face on the job. One display honors a group of firefighters who lost their lives when a propane tank exploded. The museum is run by volunteers with no admission fee and it is a great place to take the kids as well as anyone interested in what real heroes do.

Buffalo, NY, United States
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Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum

Located in North Tonawanda between Buffalo and Niagara Falls, this is the only historic carousel factory in the nation. The museum opened in 1983 and is located within the original Allan Herschell Company factory, which began operating in 1916. A National Historic Site, the building is now divided into seven connected areas demonstrating such things as woodcarving, horse restoration, and two original carousels. The museum also sponsors programs including a summer Sunday series featuring youth theater, puppets, and magic. Check websites for varying dates.

North Tonawanda, NY, United States
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