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Press Release

NASA Selects Buffalo Museum of Science as Subject Matter Expert Site April 5-7

Newly Appointed President and CEO Gary Siddall announced spring break eclipse programs, plans for Museum and Tifft Nature Preserve 

BUFFALO, NY– At a press conference held today at the Buffalo Museum of Science (BMS), the Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences (BSNS) Board of Managers formally introduced Gary Siddall as its newly appointed President and CEO. Siddall, who fomerly served as President and CEO of Aquarium of Niagara, assumed his new role in leading the BMS and Tifft Nature Preserve on February 5.

Siddall shared his early vision for the evolution of the Museum experience with aspirations to renovate its permanent exhibit spaces and introduce technologies that offer a personalized museum experience that extends beyond the exit.

“I envision a museum experience that offers ways for guests to track their progress and what they’ve learned about themselves and their interests as they engage with our exhibits, and then have further opportunities to continue their progress with returning visits,” said Siddall. 

Renovations will include infusing visual and educational experiences into connecting hallways, updating guest restrooms, and investing in the Museum’s gift shop and concessions.

“From connecting hallways to previously unnoticed corners, I want guests to expect the unexpected during each and every visit,” said Siddall.

Siddall shared that during the leadership transition, plans for the first exhibit renovation were moved forward by the leadership team and that some conceptual designs are already in place. Details about the new permanent exhibit experience will be announced later this year.

Siddall shared that this spring the BSNS is also moving into the construction phase for an accessible trail at Tifft Nature Preserve. The three-quarter-mile trail will offer wider trails of compacted stone dust, an ADA-accessible boardwalk, and a viewing platform will provide greater access to the Preserve and views of its cattail marsh to guests with limited mobilities. The project was made possible with $1.1 million in funding from Erie County, the Buffalo & Erie County Greenway Fund, the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Legacy Funds at the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, the New York Power Authority and the Montgomery Family Foundation.

Siddall acknowledged his excitement around joining the BSNS during such an exciting time, sharing that NASA has selected the Buffalo Museum of Science a NASA Subject Matter Expert Site for days leading up to the 2024 eclipse.

NASA scientists and educators will offer programming at the Museum April 5-7 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. NASA Subject Matter Experts will offer presentations in the Museum’s auditorium on April 5 and 7 at 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.

With support from M&T Bank, the Museum will grant free museum admission to Buffalo Public School students with presentation of their school ID April 5-7.

“The total solar eclipse will be an experience we will remember for the rest of our lives — and we’re determined to help our entire community enjoy this historic event,” said M&T Bank Regional President Eric Feldstein. “At M&T Bank, we have been focused on partnering with organizations working to make this moment more meaningful for children. Helping Buffalo Public School students access the Buffalo Museum of Science to learn directly from a NASA Subject Matter Experts will further enhance our partnership with Buffalo State to provide 51,000 eclipse glasses to city school district students and teachers. Our hope is to help local children become fully immersed in this unique experience and provide a spark of inspiration to continue exploring science, technology, engineering, and math.”

“I welcome Gary Siddall to his new post as President and CEO of the historic Buffalo Museum of Science and I’m certain he will be a good fit to lead this institution into its next chapter as a hub of learning and exploration here in Erie County. Gary’s vision for the Museum and for Tifft Nature Preserve promises new excitement and experiences for visitors to expand their knowledge and enjoyment of all the Museum offers,” said Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz. “Additionally, having the Museum selected as a NASA Subject Matter Expert Site for the upcoming eclipse is a tremendous honor and brings exceptional educational opportunities with it. A wealth of information, programs and presentations will be centered around this once-in-a-lifetime event, including a visit from an astronaut, so I encourage everyone to participate and enjoy it to the fullest.”

The Museum and Tifft will be closed for the eclipse on April 8, a decision that was made by the Society in 2023. Siddall noted that he supports the decision the Society made last year to close to allow staff to focus on providing safety and educational programs for WNY residents throughout the months leading up to the event.

“Learning from cities along the path of totality in 2017, the Society knew of the potential traffic and safety concerns that come with being an eclipse hot spot,” said Siddall. “The Society made the intentional and prudent decision to focus the Society’s efforts on preparing area residents ahead of time so they would be ready to safely and comfortably view the eclipse at or close to home on April 8.”

Come April 7 the Museum will have committed over 1,770 hours of staff time toward eclipse programming, outreach, events, and communications, and managed the distribution of of 300,000 eclipse glasses courtesy of Erie County to area residents and over 130 community organizations. Siddall credited the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo for the funding used to hire a part-time Eclipse Coordinator to handle a third of that programming, as well as managing glasses distribution.

More information about upcoming eclipse programming taking place at the Museum can be found at the BMS website at https://www.sciencebuff.org/eclipse/.



The Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences manages the Buffalo Museum of Science and Tifft Nature Preserve with the mission of inspiring joyful exploration of science and nature through engaging experiences, unique resources, and exceptional staff. Located in East Buffalo, the Buffalo Museum of Science inspires multigenerational learning through interactive science studios, exhibits, programming, and its extensive collection of more than 700,000 belongings, objects, and specimens. Tifft is a 264-acre urban wetland preserve on reclaimed former industrial land in South Buffalo and serves as the Museum’s “living collection”. The Preserve offers five miles of hiking trails free of charge year-round, as well as environmental education, stewardship, and outreach. Learn more at sciencebuff.org and tifft.org.