The Heyday of RIT Women's Fencing 1953-1957

The RIT women’s fencing team is still remembered for their stellar performances and four season winning streak. They  managed to win every match they competed in from 1953 until 1957.  A record of that kind was previously unheard of for the RIT fencing team. This success resulted in many national championships and one member, Barbi Brill, actually qualified to try out for the Olympics.

Recently, the RIT Archives received a collection from Jackie Carson, the daughter of Art Plouffe. Art Plouffe was the fencing coach during the 1950's and 1960's. This exhibit contains images and news articles from this collection that documents the successes of this team, and highlights a spectacular time in RIT women's sports.

Robert Bagby Photographs and Other Material
A success in his field, Robert C. Bagby (1896-1972) traveled around the world helping to shoot advertisements for various companies and organizations. Awarded the title of "Fellow" in the Royal Photographic Society of Great Britain in 1948, by 1953, he closed his firm in New York City and accepted a position at RIT in the university's School of Photography. To our twenty-first-century eyes, Bagby's photography seems to reveal much about the society, culture, and stereotypes of our Western world in regard to the "other."

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.

Wiltsie and Field Families Collection

The collection materials span more than 100 years of history (1852-1967) associated with the Rochester Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute and the Rochester Institute of Technology from these two families who have held long ties to the university and its predecessors. Of interest is the material pertaining to the Wiltsie Watercolor Prize, established by Charles H. Wiltsie, who served as a trustee for RAMI from 1892 until 1914. The award was given annually from 1892-1943.

NTID Dedication

In 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law the National Technical Institute for the Deaf Act and the search for a permanent site to host a new NTID was soon underway. On November 14, 1966, Representative Hugh Carey officially announced the selection of RIT as the site for NTID; the subsequent years were to be of vital importance for the establishment of the new campus.  

Throughout the next several years, NTID and RIT worked tirelessly to provide education and training that would change employment outlook for deaf graduates. Although the final building designations would not be until 1979, the Dedication ceremony of the NTID Facilities in October,1974 marked an important milestone; the Dedication is still considered one of the most memorable events in the institute’s history.

SpiRIT the Tiger

RIT Archives is celebrating the year of our Tiger - 1963/64 when the live tiger mascot came to RIT 50 years ago.

This exhibit features one of RIT's most unique stories, that of SpiRIT the Bengal tiger. Students wanted a live tiger to represent their tiger pride.  Unfortunately, a live Bengal cub grows very rapidly so in no time SpiRIT was more than they bargained for. SpiRIT was loved dearly by the students and is still talked about by alumni when they return to the RIT campus today. Here is a glimpse at RIT's beloved "house cat."

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.

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.

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/.

Liz Dopp Collection on RIT Women's Hockey

Born in Manlius, NY, Liz Dopp came to RIT in 1979 to study business administration and to play hockey. During her four years of play, she served as assistant captain during the 1982-1983 season. However, during her junior year, Liz and her fellow teammates (and their parents) took RIT to task regarding the marginalization of female athletes and teams, specifically the women’s hockey team.