Urbanarium (Rochester, N.Y.) contact sheets
Scope and Contents
- circa 1972-1975
- Urbanarium (Rochester, N.Y.) (Organization)
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Biographical / Historical
The Urbanarium, as it was named, was essentially a community-based education program. According to a brochure, the project's purpose was to:
...develop an informed and competent citizenry - people who are capable of identifying pressing physical, social and economic problems - recognizing their relationship - and - then determining alternate methods to "take action" on these problems.
A six month planning phase began on July 1, 1973 so that the project was in full operation by 1974. The project was governed by three councils: the community council, which assessed the needs of the community; the program council, which planned and designed various educational programs and initiatives; and the Urbanarium council, which was responsible for project policy and administration. Members of the community could participate in a variety of programs, workshops, and seminars. Some events included the "Discover Town Centers" program, a land-use seminar, a workshop on "The Emerging Role of the Suburban Village," and a leadership training course. Ultimately, the program was seen as a way for the 16 participating academic institutions in the area to encourage the Rochester citizenry to think "realistically and creatively" about the challenges facing the area as it moved into the future.
After three years, the project's team began a period of self-assessment. The result was that in 1978 the Urbanarium re-emerged as an independent, not-for-profit organization. Urbanarium, Inc. was a consortium of local education-related institutions, once again partially funded by the W. K. Kellogg Foundation. Some of the participants included: Center for Governmental Research, Monroe Community College, Nazareth College, RIT, Rochester Museum and Science Center, Rochester Public Library, St. John Fisher College, SUNY Brockport, and local television and radio stations. These educational sponsors provided mostly administrative funding and in-kind services. However, it was up to the organization to raise any other necessary funds. Over the project's lifetime, the Urbanarium had more than $1.3 million in funds, a large portion of which was provided by the Kellogg Foundation.
Yet, by 1982 the Urbanarium's directors decided to shut down the project. Although the project was able to sustain itself, most of the staffs' time was spent fundraising. Thus, in October 1982 Urbanarium, Inc. held its "first and last annual dinner and awards night." During the ceremony, some of the project's accomplishments were noted such as the consolidation of technical services among local police departments, which resulted from research into the community. Although the Urbanarium lasted less than 12 years, the project that started as a museum program did leave an impact on Rochester and the surrounding area.
0.3 Linear Feet (1 binder)
- Urbanarium (Rochester, N.Y.) contact sheets
- RIT Archives
- Lara Nicosia
- 20 January 2011
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