The Stories They Tell 3

In 2015 archives across the United States shared examples from their collections that specifically give voice to people who have a unique, surprising or compelling story to tell. For the third year in a row, the archives will partner with students in Dr. Juilee Decker's Cultural Informatics to develop engaging exhibits for the RIT community and virtually for all of you.

 

 

RIT's Downtown Campus

RIT's long history begins in 1829 with the founding of The Athenaeum, twelve years after the incorporation of Rochester as a town. In 1885, Henry Lomb, Max Lowenthal, Frank Ritter and others founded the Mechanics Institute. These two organizations merged in 1891 to become the Rochester Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute.  It wasn't until 1944 that the Institute believed they needed a name change to give it a more modern identity.  Rochester Institute of Technology continued growing in their downtown Rochester location until 1968 when they moved to Henrietta.

Henrietta Campus Construction

In April 1959, New York State Department of Public Works informed RIT it was ninety-nine percent sure that it would need to construct an inner loop to connect to the New York State Thruway which would cut right through the middle of the downtown campus. This would lead to the destruction of the Eastman Building, one of the main academic buildings on campus.

Barbi Brill Photographic Printing Lab Book
Barbara "Barbi" Brill graduated as the only female photography major of her class in 1957. On exhibit is her first year photography assignment booklet which offers a glimpse into her life and her photography education at RIT. The techniques, assignments, and results create interesting comparisons to today’s photography education. The rigorous grading and assignments tested the first year students, much like classes do today. Having a look into Brill’s educational experience is gratifying and also informative to current RIT photography students.

The Stories They Tell 4

This exhibit, cultivated from the RIT Archive Collections and the RIT/NTID Deaf Studies Archive, seeks to share stories of the RIT community through documents, photographs, yearbooks, memorabilia, and other items. The exhibition is the product of a museum studies course Cultural Informatics (MUSE 359), which fosters an annual collaboration between the Museum Studies Program and the RIT Archives to curate from the collections. Under the direction of Associate Professor Juilee Decker and Associate Archivist, Jody Sidlauskas, the following students created the display on view on the first floor of The Wallace Center: Taylor Carpenter, Amber DeStevens, Cameron Forbes, Linzie Fuechtmann, Kate MacLaren, and Patrick Toy. Each student researched, selected, and designed one of the exhibit cases you see here as part of the third such collaboration between Museum Studies and the Archives. For more information on the process of creating this exhibition, see https://ritmuse.wordpress.com/. We hope you enjoy learning about the items on view and the stories they tell.

Harry Lang Collection on Robert Panara

This collection consists of the research files compiled and used by Harry Lang when writing his book, Teaching From the Heart and Soul: The Life and Work of Robert F. Panara. Born and raised in the Bronx, Robert Panara lost his hearing to spinal meningitis in 1931, at the age of ten. In 1967, he was hired by NTID where, for the next twenty years, Panara educated not only his students, but also the world about literature, poetry, and communication.

 

The Stories They Tell

In 2015 archives across the United States are sharing examples from their collections that specifically give voice to people who have a unique, surprising or compelling story to tell. RIT Archive Collections, encompassing the RIT Archives, The University Art Collection and the RIT/NTID Deaf Studies Archive, exists to document the history of the university but what is RIT’s history if not the stories of all the individuals who have worked and studied here? This exhibit taps into the collections to display records that reveal this human side of RIT’s history. We hope you enjoy the diversity of voices.

Ruth E. Gutfrucht Design Collection
This collection looks at the life and work of Ruth E. Gutfrucht, a professor of design at RIT from 1947-1981. The collection contains copy prints of Gutfrucht's calligraphy and publications that included her design work as well as examples of work created by her students.

Spirited: Cheers to RIT School Spirit

School spirit is the enthusiastic expression of support for an academic institution, commonly expressed through school colors, mascots, sports teams, and songs. This exhibit traces the fascinating history of how school spirit was expressed, from the earliest days of the Mechanics Institute to today by RIT students, faculty, staff, and alumni. Through vintage photographs, archival documents, and memorabilia from the RIT Archive Collections as well as personal collections, it examines the ways in which school spirit was initiated by students, faculty, and staff of RIT eager to demonstrate their pride.

This exhibition has been a long time in the making. The idea first emerged as a hypothetical display proposed by Jennifer Roeszies and Lisa Witt, museum studies majors, and employees of The Wallace Center, as a project for a museum studies course taught by Professor Rebecca DeRoo during the 2015-16 school year. Two years later, in the fall 2017, the idea was brought to fruition as part of another course, Cultural Informatics (MUSE 359) taught by Professor Juilee Decker, which fosters an annual collaboration between the Museum Studies Program and the RIT Archives to curate from the collections.

Under the direction of Decker and Associate Archivist, Jody Sidlauskas, the following students created the display on view here: Lizzy Carr, Mitchell Cartner, Dante Edgar, Kaye Knoll, Daniel Krull, Elisha Muir, Seth Newburgh, Jen Roeszies, and Anna Vernacchio. Each student researched, selected, and designed one of the nine exhibit cases you see here. In the process of bringing the hypothetical into the actual, the exhibition plan was constrained in some areas and expanded in others—a process that speaks to the iterative work of curation.

For more information on the process of creating this exhibition, see https://ritmuse.wordpress.com/.

Mary Anne Cross-Ehasz Collection

Mary Anne Cross was an Art and Design student at the Rochester Institute of Technology. Her design skill was acknowledged by RIT’s adoption of her logo design for the university’s official seal from 1956 to 1966. In fact, it was Mary Anne who first utilized the dots between the three letters in the acronym RIT. Even though the university changed logos again in 1966, Mary Anne’s influence on the aesthetics of the logo remain. Just take a peek at the seal she created in this exhibit to see the similarities with our present day logo.