“The Return of the Rainbow City” New exhibit debuts at the Buffalo History Museum

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — When you walk through the doors of the Buffalo History Museum, you’re walking through a piece of the city’s own history.

“Even though almost all of the other buildings were not built to last, ours was,” said Brian Hayden, Communications Director at The Buffalo History Museum.

They tell us the building that holds the Buffalo History Museum now is the only structural building left from the Pan American Exposition, that took place in the Queen city back in 1901 and spanned over 350 acres.

“It’s remarkable to think about the amount of work that went into creating this exposition,” said Hayden. “We’re so excited to kind of re-introduce the Pan-American Exposition to Buffalo.”

The Pan-American Exposition is known by many as where and when the tragedy of the assassination of President William McKinley occurred, but a new exhibit, “The Return of the Rainbow City” helps share the full story of the meaning, planning, and construction around the World’s Fair that many Western New Yorkers might not know about.

“Most photos you see of the expo are black and white, but the buildings were known to be very colorful with an extraordinary color scheme, that earned the expo the name “Rainbow City”, said Hayden. “We like to think there really was a city within a city in Buffalo in 1901. We were thrilled, I think at the time, to welcome the world into our city.”

The Exposition lasted for six months and eight million people from all over the world traveled in through the gates of the fair, and according to the museum, aimed to celebrate the achievements in the Western Hemisphere, and build a connection between the Americas.

The exhibit holds souvenirs, photographs, paintings, and artifacts all from the exposition in the museum’s State Court.

They say they plan to keep the exhibit in the museum permanently and that you can pay what you wish to visit the museum. To find out more on the exhibit click here, and for their hours and days of operation, click here.

Hope Winter is a reporter and multimedia journalist who has been part of the News 4 team since 2021. See more of her work here.

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