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Holland Land Office Museum

September 15, 2020 - 4:03pm
posted by Press Release in hlom, Holland Land Office Museum, batavia, history, news.

Press release:

Have you ever wondered how Genesee County came to be? What was the Holland Land Purchase? What is a Gibbet? How did Batavia get its name? If any of these questions peak your curiosity among many others, then volunteering at the Holland Land Office might be perfect for you.

The museum is reaching out to anyone with an interest in local history who would like to volunteer. Any amount of time that can be given is welcome, even an hour a week can make a great difference.

Volunteers can work in many different areas, and interests and strengths will be used to the most optimum affect. Areas of need include: cleaning, gift shop, docent/tour guide, documenting of artifacts, exhibits and displays, landscaping, etc.

Volunteer hours would be during the normal hours of operation of the museum are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

If you have an interest in volunteering with the Holland Land Office Museum, please contact Director Ryan Duffy at (585) 343-4727 or email: [email protected]

Information can also be found at the museum’s website.

September 1, 2020 - 10:36am

Genesee County legislators on Monday urged the Holland Land Office Museum executive director to explore ways to increase revenue – even suggesting Sunday hours – and trim expenses in light of possible funding cuts in 2021.

Speaking at a Human Services Committee meeting, Ryan Duffy (inset photo right) presented a review of HLOM operations over the past year, and was quick to state the obvious: 2020 has been “very difficult” as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic that forced the West Main Street facility to close for three and a half months.

Still, he said there has been progress in some areas, notably by utilizing social media “quarantine” programs such as "Genesee County Jeopardy!" and history-themed activities related to food, movies and travel.

“Really, we’ve been trying to look at this pandemic as an opportunity,” he said, with an eye on maintaining and, in some cases, expanding its programming.

Upon reopening in early July, Duffy instituted an admissions fee, charging $5 for adults; $3 for seniors/students/veterans; $1 for children; and $10 for families of four. Museum members are admitted free of charge.

“We have seen a positive response in the two months," he said. "The fee structure is right in the ballpark."

Duffy mentioned other “positive” developments, including a video series about artifacts, installation of a new projector, screen and sound system in the East Wing for events and use by community groups, and restoration of the two cannons under the front canopy.

The cannons were restored by Seed Artillery of Altoona, Pa., and now are period accurate to the time of their forgings, pre-Civil War, Duffy reported.

“They came back and they look amazing … you won’t believe the difference,” he offered.

While efforts have been made to overcome a significant revenue loss (gift shop sales, major fundraiser and summer program cancellations, lack of group tours, etc.), things could get tougher next year if the county slashes its funding to outside agencies.

The county has committed to fully funding its 2020 commitment of $33,554, which represents about 40 percent of the HLOM’s budget, County Manager Matt Landers said.

“For 2021, outside agencies have been informed of potential cuts,” Landers said. “We will know more after our department heads submit their budgets by September 4th for me to review.”

Along these lines, Legislature Chair Rochelle Stein asked Duffy what he could do to cut costs and increase funding.

Duffy said that some expenses were naturally eliminated due to being closed and that he could find across the board cuts in programming, exhibits and equipment, if necessary. He said staff is always looking for grants – noting they received one recently for $2,500 – and in May, the museum joined the Amazon Smile fundraising platform.

Stein then brought up that the Historic Le Roy House attracts 10,000 visitors annually, with the bulk of its visitorship on Saturdays and Sundays.

“So, I would offer that as a peer comparison,” she said. “Would you imagine that Sunday might be a good day for visitors from out of town?”

Currently, the HLOM is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Duffy said more than 1,000 people have visited the museum since September 2019.

Duffy, the only paid employee at the museum, responded by saying that’s “always a possibility” but the present schedule “is following the trends of the industry; most are closed on Sunday.”

Legislator Marianne Clattenburg spoke up in support of the museum, advising her colleagues that the HLOM received a Personal Payroll Protection loan from the federal government and conducted a fundraiser separate from its budget to restore the cannons.

As far as county funding is concerned, she said, “It seems like a small line item in our budget … but to them it is a large amount” and to reduce it would be “devastating.”

File photo of Ryan Duffy from Feb. 11, 2017.

August 30, 2020 - 8:00am
posted by Anne Marie Starowitz in nostalgia, history, Holland Land Office Museum, news, batavia.

I recently spent a day at the Holland Land Office Museum in Batavia and enjoyed the newest exhibits. Like most museums, it has various displays that take you back to a time when the artifacts you are looking at or reading about were used.

For example, they have a room that explains the history of the Holland Land Office building. Another room is the Land Office Room where Joseph Ellicott, founder of Batavia and Buffalo, sold land to our early settlers. There is the Colonial Kitchen depicting what it was like to cook from the flames and coals of a fireplace in the 1800s.

The West Wing is called the Military Room where you can learn about the famous men and women from Genesee County who fought for our country. The East Wing houses an exhibit on local businesses.  

I think of our minds as a museum, storing memories of artifacts we have used over our lifetimes. I guess I am speaking to the baby boomers (born 1946-64) for obvious reasons (because I am one). I have been thinking about some of the artifacts that have been on display in the past.

The old black and white Sylvania television set (once made in Batavia) takes me back to watching "The Beverly Hillbillies,"* my favorite show as a child. We were only allowed one TV show a week when school was in session.

The museum has an old Victrola. Children love to hear the history of our early records or big CDs as children often call them.

Another artifact is a vintage typewriter. Now there is something the children of today have never seen. Remember the carbon paper for the typewriter and if you made a mistake you had to use a correction tape? My roommate actually had a typewriter in the early ‘70s and I had a plastic portable record player.

You can’t forget the three-pound transistor radio that could only pick up three AM radio stations.

There are so many memories and so many artifacts.

I really loved my ball bearing roller skates that clipped onto my shoes, not my sneakers. I would wear the key on a string around my neck.

Can’t forget the balloon tires for our bicycles, a 3-speed English bike, penny loafers, high-top sneakers, madras clothing, long hair for boys and girls. We played outside, used the sewer and manhole covers as bases for kickball.

We played games such a Kick the Can, Red Rover, Freeze Tag, Cops and Robbers and an old favorite, Hide and Seek. 

I wonder if someday a merry-go-round, teeter-totter, metal slide and monkey bars will be on display in a museum or big cardboard boxes from Max Pies  (Furniture store) that were used to slide down the grassy overpass on South Jackson Street. 

Sandlot baseball was anyplace you could find an open field. The list could go on and on. These are our artifacts!

Now the artifacts are stored in our minds in a happy place.

Photo courtesy of Anne Marie Starowitz.

*Editor's Note: This YouTube link plays the second episode of season two of "The Beverly Hillbillies" called "Hair-raising Holiday." It's a hoot!

August 19, 2020 - 5:36pm

Press release:

The Holland Land Office Museum is proud to announce that on Monday, Aug. 24th, the official Cannon Welcoming Home Celebration will be taking place at 10 a.m.

We are welcoming our two cannons back to their familiar spot on the front porch of the museum after a long absence due to being restored. Seed Artillery out of Altoona, Pa., spent many months carefully restoring our guns to their former glory as they would have looked in the early 19th century.

The work included rebuilding of the carriage with all new metalwork and refurbishing the cannon barrels.

The cannons will be welcomed home in style with the help of a gunnery crew of the Genesee County Militia reenactor group.

We would also like to thank everyone who contributed to our Cannon Restoration Fund.

All are welcome to attend, while observing social distancing protocols and wearing facial coverings. 

For more information please call the museum at (585) 343-4727 or email at [email protected].

June 26, 2020 - 2:04pm
posted by Billie Owens in hlom, news, batavia, history, Holland Land Office Museum.

Press release:

The Holland Land Office Museum reopens to the public today, June 26, at its normal business hours. The museum will be open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The museum will be reopening with some noticeable changes.

Firstly, the museum is implementing its Safety Plan, which requires all visitors to the museum to wear masks and admission will be limited to 10 at a time. Also, visitors are asked to refrain from touching any of the artifacts and cases, and to follow our “one way” floor plan. Visitors are also asked to maintain the 6 foot social distancing protocol and to use the hand sanitizer and washing stations around the museum.

Secondly, the museum is reopening under a new admission policy. Visitors to the museum will now have to pay an admission fee. The ranges include: Free for Museum Members, $1 for Children, $3 for Students/Veterans/Seniors, $5 for Adults, and $10 for a Family of four.

The HLOM is instituting a strict cleaning procedure to ensure the safety of our staff, volunteers, and visitors, but wishes everyone to come by and visit us and see all our treasures of the history of Genesee County.

Thank you to all who have supported us in the past, through this difficult time, and continue to into the future. 

If you have any questions please contact the museum by phone at (585) 343-4727 or email at [email protected]. Information can also be found on our website, hollandlandoffice.com, or our Facebook page.

June 6, 2020 - 8:00am
posted by Billie Owens in hlom, Holland Land Office Museum, news, batavia, volunteers.

Press release:

Have you ever wondered how Genesee County came to be? What was the Holland Land Purchase? What is a Gibbet? If any of these questions peak your curiosity among many others, then volunteering at the Holland Land Office might be perfect for you.

The museum is reaching out to anyone with an interest in local history who would like to volunteer. Any amount of time that can be given is welcome, even an hour a week can make a great difference.

Volunteers can work in many different areas, and interests and strengths will be used to the most optimum affect.

Areas of need include: cleaning, gift shop, docent/tour guide, documenting of artifacts, exhibits and displays, landscaping, etc.

Volunteer hours would be during the normal hours of operation of the museum are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

If you have an interest in volunteering with the Holland Land Office Museum, please contact Director Ryan Duffy at (585) 343-4727 or email him at:   [email protected]

Information can also be found at the museum’s website.

May 4, 2020 - 6:46pm

From the Holland Land Office Museum:

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, on May 5, 2020, people around the world are coming together for #GivingTuesdayNow to give back to their communities and valued organizations in many different ways. The Holland Land Office Museum will be one of those participating cultural organizations and we need your help!

By joining the #GivingTuesdayNow movement, you’re proving that in times of uncertainty, generosity can bring the whole world together. As regular sources of funding become less reliable, we must look to other avenues to make our way through these difficult times.

We are joining this movement to ask for support from our friends and community in order to continue our mission to educate and preserve the local history of Genesee County and the development of Western New York through the history of the Holland Land Company.

Here is how you can help:

On May 5, go to www.hollandlandoffice.com or our Facebook page and donate.

This support will go toward many different areas:

  • The continued operation of the museum and maintaining of our staff.
  • The continuance of our programming both virtual and in public once it is safe to do so. These programs include: History Heroes Kids Summer Camp, Saturday Morning Children’s Program, Guest Speaker & Concert Series, Java with Joe E., and Trivia Nights.
  • The development of exhibits and exhibitions.
  • The preservation and conservation of the museum’s collection of more than 20,000 artifacts.
  • The efforts currently under way to rebuild and restore the two 19th century military cannons featured on the museum’s front portico.

You can also support our organization in these ways:

  • Follow -- Please follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and invite your friends to do the same.
  • Spread the word -- Encourage your friends and family to join you in creating a real impact on May 5th by sharing what our mission means to you and why you support our organization. Make sure to use the hashtag #GivingTuesdayNow.

Learn more at www.hollandlandoffice.com as well as our social media platforms.

Thank you for your support during this challenging time.

Ryan Duffy, Director, Holland Land Office Museum

November 23, 2019 - 7:07pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Holland Land Office Museum, hlom, batavia, video.
Video Sponsor
November 21, 2019 - 12:57pm

Submitted photo and press release:

We are ready for our 18th annual Wonderland of Trees Kickoff! Baskets at the Holland Land Office Museum are nestled all snug in their places, so come on down today or tomorrow during business hours if you want a sneak peek and to get your choices in early!

Not only do we have close to 40 gift baskets for our raffle, but we also have a beautiful tree to win  -- decorated by the lovely "Anything Your Heart Desires" florist. If you would rather, try your luck at winning cash grab, or a couple of tickets for our 50/50 raffle instead.  

The kickoff starts tomorrow (Nov. 22) at 6 p.m. and will continue until 8:30. There will be delicious hors d’oeuvres provided by the D & R Depot throughout the night to enjoy while you listen to music performed by voice students of Sound Foundation Voice Studio as well as a flute ensemble from Batavia Middle School.  

Tickets for the kickoff are $15 per person, $10 per member or $5 per child under 12. They can be purchased online here, by calling (585) 343-4727, or stopping at the Museum, located at 131 W. Main St. in Batavia.

Tickets for the basket raffle are $2 per ticket, 10 tickets for $10 or 25 tickets for $20.  

Tickets for the 50/50 raffle are $1 per ticket or five tickets for $4.  

At the kickoff, we will be holding a silent auction for a couple of the bigger items so make sure you don’t miss out.  

Winners will be pulled at 8:15 p.m. at the kickoff but you don’t have to be present to win.

What a great way to start the holidays with food and entertainment for the whole family!

November 2, 2019 - 7:02pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in hlom, Holland Land Office Museum, batavia, history, video, news.
Video Sponsor

The two cannons that have sat on the front porch of the Holland Land Office Museum for more than a century have been removed and transported to Altoona, Pa., for a $20,000 period-accurate restoration.

The Museum is paying $10,000 for the restoration and is seeking public donations of $10,000 in a campaign called, "Ready, Aim, Donate."

July 31, 2019 - 12:46pm
posted by Holland Land Office in Murder Mystery, Holland Land Office Museum.
Event Date and Time: 
September 28, 2019 - 5:30pm to 9:00pm
The Holland Land Office Museum is proud to present its first Murder Mystery Dinner Theater fundraiser. An original Mystery written for the Holland Land Museum, based on the 19th century crime of the century, the Disappearance of William Morgan. Will you outsmart the suspects and determine what happened to him and "who dun it"? The mystery is a live performance with considerable interaction between the suspects and the audience with an extensive comedic touch put on by WNY Improv, Inc. .
July 31, 2019 - 12:43pm
posted by Holland Land Office in Holland Land Office Museum.
Event Date and Time: 
August 29, 2019 - 7:00pm to 9:00pm
Lorna MacDonald Czarnota will be speaking on her book "Legends, Lore, and Secrets of Western New York." Uncover new stories and secrets told through the ages. Learn about the "cat people," Ossian Giant, and Kitty O'Neil, just some of the names that make up the rich lore history of Western New York. This next installment of our guest speaker series will be on Thursday, August 29th, starting at 7pm. It's only $3 per person and $2 for museum members.
July 31, 2019 - 12:37pm
posted by Holland Land Office in Trivia, Holland Land Office Museum.
Event Date and Time: 
August 8, 2019 - 7:00pm to 9:00pm
Every second Thursday of each month, put your knowledge of seemingly trivial facts to the test & learn some new ones with our History Trivia Family & Team Challenge!! This event begins at 7pm and is $3 per person and $2 for museum members. This month's theme is Baseball! Keep an eye on our twitter and website page for more details and make sure to share with your friends!
June 18, 2019 - 12:37pm
posted by Holland Land Office in Trivia, Holland Land Office Museum.
Event Date and Time: 
July 11, 2019 - 7:00pm to 9:00pm
Every second Thursday of each month, put your knowledge of seemingly trivial facts to the test & learn some new ones with our History Trivia Family & Team Challenge!! This event begins at 7pm and is $3 per person and $2 for museum members. This month's theme is the Revolution Period Keep an eye on our twitter and website page for more details and make sure to share with your friends!
May 15, 2019 - 12:31pm
posted by Holland Land Office in Holland Land Office Museum.
Event Date and Time: 
June 13, 2019 - 7:00pm to 9:00pm
Every second Thursday of each month, put your knowledge of seemingly trivial facts to the test & learn some new ones with our  History Trivia Family & Team Challenge!! This event begins at 7pm and is $3 per person and $2 for museum members. The Theme this month is World War II. Keep an eye on our twitter and website page for more details and make sure to share with your friends!
May 15, 2019 - 12:30pm
posted by Holland Land Office in Holland Land Office Museum.
Event Date and Time: 
June 12, 2019 - 7:00pm to 9:00pm
The Holland Land Office Museum is proud to present Earl McElfresh of McElfresh Map Company in Olean, NY, in our next installment of our Guest Speaker Series. McElfresh will be presenting "Strange Ground: Mapping and Robert E. Lee's Gettysburg Campaign." If you are a fan of the Civil War, this is a presentation you don't want to miss. Program begins at 7pm and is $3 per person and $2 for museum members.
May 7, 2019 - 11:42am
posted by Holland Land Office in music, Holland Land Office Museum.
Event Date and Time: 
June 6, 2019 - 7:00pm to 9:00pm
The Holland Land Office Museum is proud to welcome Old Hippies for a night of acoustic music from the 50's, 60's, and 70's. Join us for a night of music, friends, and good memories. Music begins at 7pm and is $5 per person and $4 for museum members.
April 13, 2019 - 12:00pm
posted by Holland Land Office in Holland Land Office Museum.
Event Date and Time: 
May 22, 2019 - 7:00pm to 9:00pm
Join us as Michael Block talks about the "Battle of Cedar Mountain." A battle fought during the Civil War where Union forces attacked the Confederate forces near Cedar Mountain as they tried to march on the Culpeper Court House. This event begins at 7pm and is $3 per person and $2 for museum members.
April 13, 2019 - 11:57am
posted by Holland Land Office in Holland Land Office Museum, Trivia.
Event Date and Time: 
May 9, 2019 - 7:00pm to 9:00pm
Every second Thursday of each month, put your knowledge of seemingly trivial facts to the test & learn some new ones with our  History Trivia Family & Team Challenge!! This event begins at 7pm and is $3 per person and $2 for museum members.
April 13, 2019 - 11:55am
posted by Holland Land Office in Holland Land Office Museum.
Event Date and Time: 
May 8, 2019 - 7:00pm to 9:00pm
Join us as Joyce Thompson-Hovey returns to tell us about Civil War pets & mascots. Explore another side of the Civil War that isn't known to many. Find out which units adopted which animal, the seemingly normal and the bizarre. This event begins at 7pm and is $3 per person and $2 for museum members. 
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