Hundreds celebrate Susan B. Anthony amid $20 million museum expansion

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. – The 2023 Susan B. Anthony birthday festivities were a celebration of liberty, equality, justice and humanity Wednesday night at the Rochester Riverside Convention Center.

News10 NBC Anchor Deanna Dewberry emceed the 2023 Susan B. Anthony Birthday Celebration. It served as a celebration of her 203rd birthday and as a fundraiser for the National Susan B. Anthony Museum & House.

The event recognized all the former Rochester resident accomplished. Though she died before women got the right to vote, she galvanized that movement, and a new museum in Rochester will honor her and other suffragists.

In her proposed budget, Gov. Kathy Hochul committed $10 million dollars to the project, which is expected to accommodate between 30,000-50,000 visitors annually. It will be built at Jefferson Avenue and Brown Street, around the corner from the current museum – her former home – on Madison Street.

Deborah L. Hughes, president and CEO of the National Susan B Anthony Museum and House, says she is thrilled Rochester’s elected officials worked with the governor to secure $10 million for the museum’s expansion. Fundraising is underway to raise another $10 million.

A key feature? There will be a pressurized room to preserve historic documents and artifacts.

“So for people, when they come they get goose bumps or they get chills. For some people, it’s when they stand in her bedroom. It’s where she died when she was 86. For some people, it’s being in the back parlor where she would’ve hosted people and had conversation. People like Frederick Douglass.”

State Assemblyman Demond Meeks says this investment is a big deal. Susan B. Anthony is part of Rochester’s proud history and the new museum is an opportunity to share that with the world.

“This is rich history that we have continued to maintain,” says Meeks. “Susan B. Anthony has been there. You’ve had groups come and really it’s just not big enough when you think of someone of her magnitude and her accomplishments.” 

The museum also received another gift: a certificate of special congressional recognition presented by U.S. Rep. Joe Morelle. He says it’s important that Susan B. Anthony’s contributions continue to be celebrated. But, he noted it’s a call to action and that the work is not done.

“I think the state recognized, as we did, the importance of this, not only for this generation but for generations to come,” says Morelle.

Once all the money has been raised, it will be determined when they will break ground. And from the time they break ground, it will take two years to complete.