Standing on the front lawn of the Laurel and Hardy Museum in Harlem, you could feel the excitement in the air.
Moments after the ribbon was cut, people stepped into the museum for the first time and saw for themselves what the excitement was about.
"This may be the only time we can get here," said Simon Calvert, of Yorkshire, United Kingdom. "This is a very important place."
Approximately 200 people made their way to Harlem early Monday morning to take part in the ribbon cutting ceremony.
Attendees were able to look at pictures of Laurel and Hardy while talking to actors who worked with the duo and watch movies on the big screen set up in the back room.
Another opportunity the museum opening presented was the chance to speak with the people who made the dream of a museum a reality.
For years, a handful of residents that includes former mayors and current council members have worked to create the museum while putting on the Oliver Hardy Festival each year.
One man, from his home in Atlanta, has done as much to help as anyone, said councilwoman Robin Root. In all, Eugene Clary, born in Harlem, gave $20,000 to the museum and promised to give more should the need arise.
Over the years, he also donated $23,000 to the city's library and, along with his brothers, donated the land used to build Harlem High School on.
His money helped Oliver Hardy Committee members, including his cousin Betty Sargent, to renovate the building and bring it up to code.
"His contributions enabled us to purchase things we would have been able to," said Root, citing the video equipment used to show movies with as an example.
To show their appreciation, committee members decided to dedicate the building to Clary and asked him to make an appearance for the grand opening.
Clary said he would have been there regardless.
"It's my home and my family is proud of this place," said Clary, who's father was once mayor and chairman of the Board of Education.
With the museum now open, Root said committee and council members can channel all their energy into making sure the festival is ready to go by October and can go about attracting tourists to Harlem.
"It's not an end to the work," Root said of the opening, "but it is a sigh of relief."
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