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Monday, October 15, 2012

Home of the carousel preserves, expands its legacy
Volunteers at the Herschell museum lovingly restore painted carousel horses, ‘modern’ kiddie rides, to their former glory

 
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by Michelle Kearns
from-- buffalonews.com
10/14/2012
NORTH TONAWANDA – Just past the gift shop and through doors that swing open like a saloon entrance, there is a work- room strewn with tools. A small crew of men in their 70s and 80s gathers there to joke, build and paint the things that are slowly bringing Allan Herschell’s old carousel factory back to life as a museum.
“This was brand-new when I started,” said Mel Brundage, 76, looking down at his apron, gray with paint splatters. “I look like Leonardo da Vinci.”
 The splatters are from his 14 years as a volunteer, coming on Mondays and Fridays, repairing windows and the platforms that hold the horses frozen midgallop and the rest of the saddled menagerie of zebra, ostrich, rooster, frog and others. When done, they will be ready to ride and admire at the Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum.
Here, where volunteers often outnumber visitors, the place has a languid, undiscovered air. Brundage and the gang worked together measuring wood and adjusting – “Glue! Glue! Glue!” – as a wall panel came together for a pavilion to go with the four newly renovated Kiddieland rides from the factory’s postwar baby boom era, when merry-go-rounds were considered passé.
By next summer, little kid-size fire trucks, horse-drawn chariots, helicopters that lift in the air and boats with bells to ring as they float will be assembled and open for business on the side yard, like a red, yellow, blue and green carnival garden.
By then, museum director Rae Proefrock hopes, the fun will be more obvious. Maybe, finally, more people will come.
With a yearly attendance of about 12,000 visitors, numbers at the 30-year-old museum are low. “I’d like to get it to 30,000,” she said.
read more---
http://www.buffalonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20121014/CITYANDREGION/121019707/1003
 

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