Monday, July 19, 2010

Interview with Small Museum of the Month: Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum

Earlier this month, we announced our first Museum of the Month, The Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum. SMA recently conducted an interview with their director, Rae Proefrock. Check out what Rae had to say!

SMA: What is your name and position at the museum?

HCFM: Raphaelle A. Proefrock, Director

SMA: What is the best thing to see or do at your museum?

HCFM: Of course, a ride on our 1916 Allan Herschell “Number 1 Special” carrousel with the magical sounds of a Wurlitzer band organ is the best thing, but watching a wood carver or the band organ roll maker demonstrate is also great.

SMA: What is the most surprising/interesting thing in your collection?

HCFM: The different carved menagerie animals always delight visitors, but the hand carved “slaughter bull”, a test of strength for a carnival mid-way, is the most surprising.

SMA: What do you hope people take away with them after visiting your museum?

HCFM: Our goal is to share the history of carousel, rides and band organ production in North Tonawanda, but we hope visitors will also leave with an appreciation for the significant impact these products made on family recreation across the United States, as well as an appreciation for historic preservation.

SMA: What are some of your favorite programs/exhibitions/services that you offer at your museum?

HCFM: In keeping with the light hearted nature of the company products, the museum presents several family oriented events with entertainment, games, treats and crafts. We celebrate the medieval origin of the carrousel with a Renaissance Festival in June. Other events include a Teddy Bear Picnic, Halloween Spooktacular, and Santa on the Carrousel.

SMA: Are there any fun stories about your museum?

HCFM: Certain members and staff believe that the ghost of Allan Herschell roams the second floor of this historic building. I, personally, have never met him.

SMA: Besides your own, what is your favorite small museum and where is it located?

HCFM: I have always enjoyed the Adirondack Museum in northern New York. Last year we visited the SlateValley Museum in Granville, NY and was greatly impressed with what it has been able to accomplish.

SMA: What do you think small museums can do to become better and/or stronger?

HCFM: I wish I knew the answer to this million dollar question. Essentially, we must continue to move forward and expand our services to the community, so that support is there when we really need it.

SMA: Is there anything else you would like to share?

HCFM: The Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum welcomes visitors from across the country and from numerous foreign countries each year. There is something of interest for everyone.

SMA: Thank you!

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