Weekly Feature

2017-04-05 / Local News

New curator dreams big for Heritage Village


Roehling-Flynn Roehling-Flynn Beth Roehling-Flynn, curator for the Buffalo Niagara Heritage Village, surrounds herself with hundreds of historic artifacts every day.

“I love bringing artifacts out for the public to enjoy and not letting the history die,” Roehling-Flynn said.

Roehling-Flynn has been curator for six months but previously was board president for the organization. She is currently working on the “Something Borrowed, Something Blue” exhibit, which will feature bridal fashion spanning 200 years. From an 1812 blue silk empire waist dress to a 1998 modern Eve of Milady satin gown, visitors will experience over 20 wedding gowns and accessories. The exhibit will open June 15.

“As curator, you need to figure out what’s in your collection, what tells a good story and put it together,” Roehling-Flynn said. “We couldn’t display all of our wedding dresses because we have hundreds, but this exhibit is amazing.”

Roehling-Flynn has a master’s degree in art education, museum studies and special education from SUNY Buffalo State. She worked as a docent at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery for 10 years and later was the education curator at the Burchfield Penney Art Center.

Her dream for Buffalo Niagara Heritage Village involves bringing back the livelihood of a prominent Swormville family, the Reikarts. Known as the “Welcome Wagon of Amherst,” Frank Reikart opened a barbershop on Transit Road in 1908. The family, who lived next to the shop, served ice cream and Red Hots in a tent in front of their home with their pet monkey, Joco.

“It was like a carnival,” said Roehling-Flynn, noting that Reikart and his wife, Dolly, performed for the local community at gatherings, and he was also a photographer and built instruments called jazzbolines. “Everyone in the community knew them, and their place was hoppin’.”

Buffalo Niagara Heritage Village has obtained and restored Frank Reikart’s barbershop and his photography studio inside, which he used for over 30 years. Roehling-Flynn’s goal is to obtain Reikart’s house, which still sits next to the Swormville Fire Station on Transit Road.

“We would like to bring that house to the village and have a tent where school groups could come and have fun,” Roehling-Flynn said. “It’s going to take a couple of years and a lot of funding, but I would love to recreate that atmosphere.”

For more information on upcoming events, visit the Buffalo Niagara Heritage Village website at bnhv.org.

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