From the earliest canoes and flat bottomed bateaux to canal packets and majestic yachts, regional watercraft of the Niagara Frontier have played a central role in prehistory and the history of the region. The vital water links of the Great Lakes, area rivers, and countless smaller lakes spawned unique and specially adapted boats. It also attracted works from the best naval architects of the east coast. The mission of our museum is to bring to life this aspect of western New York’s unique maritime heritage.
At present, our six thousand square foot exhibition space allows the display of boats ranging from an 1840’s Buffalo Harbor Ferry to a 24 foot racing keelboat. Also on display are photos, models, and paintings of boats of the Niagara Frontier.
The Buffalo Maritime Center maintains a maritime library with a collection of historic boat plans, scholarly journals, magazines, books, and archival documents.
The Buffalo Maritime Heritage Museum is also in the process of developing a Regional Center for Watercraft Documentation, under federal guidelines. This Center will play an important role in preserving the area’s maritime heritage.