The director reports that the Holland Land Office Museum is on the rise in terms of attendance, membership

Things are looking up for the Holland Land Office Museum at 131 West Main St., the Genesee County-run and supported facility dedicated to showcasing the events and people who contributed to the area’s rich history.

Membership at the museum, which is managed by the board of directors of the Holland Purchase Historical Society, is nearing 250 and attendance since last July has topped the 3,000 mark.

Those landmarks alone, says executive director Ryan Duffy, indicate the museum has definitely rebounded from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Duffy and Don Burkel, chairman of the HLOM board of directors, presented their annual report Monday at the Genesee County Legislature Social Services Committee meeting.

“Our members topped 200 for 2021 for the first time in a few years and we’re at 90% of that number this year,” Duffy said. “Our target (for 2022) is 250 and we are 75% of that.”

He said the museum was attracting more international visitors – especially from the Netherlands (as this region was a Dutch colony) – while the recording of his guest speaker series received hundreds of views on YouTube.

Duffy also mentioned the restart of the History Heroes program this summer, which attracted around 27 young people to the museum, and that the Tree Wonderland was the museum’s largest yet in terms of visitors and sponsors.

Volunteer support is critical to the success of the museum, he noted, and was pleased to report that 17 people regularly donate their time.

“Volunteers, guides and interns have completed over 1,500 hours of community service to date,” he reported, adding that gift shop attendance and sales have returned to pre-levels. 2020.

Going forward, Duffy said administrators are in the early stages of securing a design for a new entrance to the building’s west wing “to create a more welcoming and efficient entrance” that would conform to the Americans with Disabilities Act. In addition, this space would be used for the relocation of the gift shop and a larger space for the research library.

“It will be a better location for the gift shop, hopefully generating double the annual revenue, and we would gain exhibition space (using the area currently occupied by the gift shop),” said he advised.

The museum has also launched the Garth Swanson Memorial Scholarship, which will be available to students in 2023, Duffy said.

The scholarship will benefit current high school students planning to attend Genesee Community College or students currently attending GCC who are passionate about history. It is in honor of Garth Swanson, a longtime board member and patron of the museum, who died in early 2022.

The Holland Land Office Museum currently operates normal hours throughout the year. It is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. from Tuesday to Saturday. For more information, call 585-343-4727.

Photo: Don Burkel, left, and Ryan Duffy, representing the Holland Land Office Museum, spoke about the museum’s activities over the past year at the county legislature’s social services committee meeting on Monday. Photo by Mike Pettinella.

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