25 things to do under $25—Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum
July 18, 2012 at 2:40 PM
The Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum is located in the original Allan Herschell Company factory complex (180 Thompson Street, North Tonawanda, NY). The company was founded in 1915 and manufactured and shipped carrousels and other amusement park rides across the globe.
With a reputation for quality and workmanship, the Allan Herschell Company became the most productive carrousel maker, specializing in portable rides that could be used in traveling carnivals. The company also out-produced rival factories, constructing over 3,000 hand carved wooden carrousels.
Admission to the museum is $5 for adults and $2.50 for children ages 2-12 and $4 for seniors.
The museum is an affordable family-friendly activity and is quite unique. “It is the only museum in the world housed in an authentic carrousel museum,” said Museum Director Rae Preofrock.
Inside the museum, visitors can observe the Lockman Collection, including 20 authentic hand-carved carrousel animals. Lining the walls of the gallery are animals made in different time periods and created under the different companies of which Allan was associated. As visitors progress from one end to another, they will notice the differences in building materials, styles, and company ownership of the North Tonawanda carrousel companies over a span of sixty years.
The museum is sure to please the young and the young at heart. “There’s something for everyone to enjoy—some like carving, some like the mechanical aspects, and some like the art,” Proefrock said.
Be sure to view the authentic materials that line the walls of the museum and a 26-photo exhibit documenting the production of a carousel from delivery of lumber to setup inside a park.
Take a seat and listen to the Wurlitzer organ! The museum also houses the Wurlitzer Music Roll Shop, a collection of original machinery from the early 1900's Wurlitzer Company factory. Band organs use these rolls to play their signature sounds and 1,600 of the Wurlitzer Company’s hand-punched original master rolls are exhibited in the museum.
Those interested in the carrousel craftsmanship will be delighted with the carving shop which displays building materials and allows visitors to watch as wood carvers demonstrate the art of wood carving (wood carving classes are available for all ages).
Kids will be entertained with the Children’s gallery which offers games, arts and crafts, and other activities. Kids can even ride the “Kiddie Carrousel,” a small 1940’s aluminum carrousel that was created specifically for children.
Don’t forget to take a ride on the full-sized carrousel! It is believed that the carrousel featured in the museum was the first to come from the factory. “We’re really excited to have found this particular machine for this museum,” Proefrock said.
Herschell Carrousel Museum is a fun stop for guests of all ages and all backgrounds. In the gift shop, you can overhear local visitors say, “Whenever we have guests staying with us, we bring them here,” and first-timers admit, “We’ll be back!”
Each year the museum hosts approximately 15,000 visitors from all over theUnited Statesand the world but the operation of the museum is run by local aid. “We invite locals to come often and to participate in family events; we need local support,” Proefrock said.
Be sure to keep an eye out for exciting renovations, restorations, and additions to the museum in the next year!
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