JAMESTOWN, N.Y. (WIVB) - The first large-scale attraction of telling the story of comedy, in America, is now open in Western New York. The National Comedy Center, in Jamestown, opened its doors for the first time to visitors, at 9 a.m. Wednesday.
There are 50 exhibits, which take up 37,000 square feet of space, at the center. It cost $50 million to build, with $14 million of that coming from New York State.
And there’s a reason behind its Southern Tier location.
“The vision truly started with Lucille Ball,” Executive Director, Journey Gunderson said.
Ball was born in Jamestown.
“It’s not just that she is a native of Jamestown, but she said to Jamestown in the late 80s, ‘don’t just celebrate me, don’t just offer I Love Lucy nostalgia,’ as important as that is, but she said, ‘make Jamestown a destination of the celebration of comedy as an art form.’”
Gunderson says this is one of the most interactive museums in the world. When you walk in, you’re given a bracelet that allows you to unlock most exhibits.
“My favorite exhibit, it’s hard to say, but I think it might be the comedy continuum because it’s an enormous room with an interactive touchscreen wall that allows the visitor to explore the never-ending connections in comedy,” Gunderson said. “So, it’s a spider web. It’s like six degrees of separation but in comedy.”
The building is a reuse of two structures: the old Jamestown Gateway Train Station and a former trolley garage. A new structure was also built, to bring it all together.
The center also has staggered admission, so you don’t have to worry about it getting too crowded.
There are four days of events happening, starting with the opening Wednesday. Amy Schumer will be there for two shows Friday night.
See more of what you can find at the National Comedy Center here:
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