Incoming Crystal Beach museum seeks stories and namesakes

Crystal Beach is getting a new hub to preserve the past.

Advancing Crystal Beach (ACB) is building a museum on Erie Road and they are looking for the community’s help to fill it with artifacts, stories, and even to give it a name.

“The museum will be custom built and set on the Erie Road property beside The Green (House) Floral Bar, known as the weather station,” said Orma Bleeks of ACB, referring to land donated by local Realtor and restauranteur Phil Smith.

Credit: Christine Whelan | Fort Erie Observer

“We’re really excited to go forward with this initiative but we really want resident participation of anyone who has lived in Crystal Beach and wants to tell their stories,” she said.

The museum is already off to a good start, with a collection that includes photos dating back to the 1920s, a scale model of the iconic Cyclone rollercoaster, and even a story about a balloon release contest from the 1980s. ACB is still eager to expand its collection.

“We are still looking for more artifacts, stories of resident and family adventures in Crystal Beach through the years,” Bleeks said. “We would really appreciate volunteer assistance to collect these stories, especially longtime residents of Crystal Beach.”

ACB is also seeking volunteers to staff the museum, which is expected to be open on weekends with additional hours on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays depending on volunteer availability.

The project has been partly funded by “major local donors,” said Bleeks. Donations are still being accepted with donors of $200 or more receiving a metal plaque and a Cyclone rollercoaster car inscribed with their name on the front of the building.

The museum is aiming for an unveiling in May and a grand opening in June. Admission will be free or by donation.

There is one more way for Crystal Beach residents to get involved: suggesting a name for the museum.

ACB is running a contest to pick the perfect moniker and submissions are welcome until March 31, 2024. ACB has posted the entry form link to their Facebook page. The winning entry will even get an invite to the museum’s unveiling ceremony.

With a focus on community stories and a celebration of Crystal Beach’s rich history, this new museum promises to be a must-visit for anyone who loves the shores of Lake Erie.

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