2020 has been a difficult year for everyone, and the Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum is no exception. This year has been full of loss, heartbreak, and numerous other difficulties. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic the museum was unable to open to the public for four months. We are saddened at the passing of multiple volunteers and museum supporters this year. The museum plans to have a remembrance ceremony this year for the families, as we remember all the wonderful times we have shared. They will be missed.
On a lighter note, I would like to thank former Director Megan Hahin for all of her wonderful years at the museum. She made the difficult decision to take a position with The Buffalo History Museum in November of 2020. Her tenure was a period of positive change, and her efforts will be felt by the museum and the North Tonawanda Community for years to come. Best of Luck Megan!
I would now like to take a moment to introduce myself. My name is Ian K. Seppala, and I have taken the role of Interim Director of the museum since November. I have been the Education Director of the museum since 2018. I began with the museum as a volunteer docent in May 2015, and have been associated ever since. Introducing people to the fascinating history of the Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum is one of my goals. I enjoy working with kids, and am proud of the diverse educational programming available from the museum's Education Department (shout out to Jenna!). My degrees include a M.A. (Museum Studies) from Morgan State University, and a B.S. (History) from SUNY Brockport. My wife and I live in my hometown of Oakfield, New York with our dog and cat. When you come visit the museum please stop by and say hello!
This year was difficult, but was not without its victories. The museum acquired a Dentzel horse and Lion this year from the Estate of Mr. Lawrence Osley. The wonderful animals will be on display when the museum opens to the public in April. A Wurlitzer Automatic Player Piano also joined the museum's collection this year, donated by Robert Cieslak & family. The museum's restoration team has also been hard at work this year, restoring a few of the historic shields from our Allan Herschell 1916 Number One Special.
The staff at the museum took the challenges of 2020 and turned them into opportunities. We began a youtube series called Carousel Curiosities which explores the museum's collection in quick videos. We also began two blog series called Carousel Courier and Carrousel Courier Jr., which provide fun articles and activities for adults (former) and children (latter). Our well received Storytime series has also become available virtually and is conducted the first Friday of each month.
This year's accomplishments would not have been able to occur without our wonderful staff, volunteers, and trustees. Everyone came together to turn 2020's challenges into some success stories. I am proud of all the hard work they have accomplished this year.
A special thank you must also go out to our members, volunteers, and North Tonawanda Community. Without your support in these trying times, we would not exist. It is a pleasure and honor to serve you, as we have for over thirty years. Your continued support enables us to spread the historic importance of the amusement industry of North Tonawanda. Your assistance also allows us to continue offering our award winning programming and to develop new and exciting events for the future.
2020 was a hard year, but together, we can make 2021 something great.
Ian K. Seppala
"Once Around is Never Enough!"