The fifth, sixth, and seventh display cases in the gallery area function as what museum theorist Nina Simon has called “social objects“—the content around which conversation happens, an item that functions as part of a socially networked experience. A team of students enrolled in the Visitor Engagement course created a series of posters that call to mind the Royals of yesterday. Come see the retro posters on display through April 22, 2016. An explanation of their work is below.

When Rochester Was Royal, 2016

Visuals in  three cases as you enter the second floor of The Wallace Center were prepared as part of this exhibition by RIT Industrial Design students Sydney MacMillan and Rebecca Merriman with the assistance of Museum Studies majors Hannah Barber and Ruth Starr.

These posters are rooted in imagery taken from photographs, programs, and other memorabilia associated with the Rochester Royals—the players, their coach, their home arena at Edgerton, and their fans—as well as that which led to their demise, including t.v. In 1950-51, only 24% of American households owned a television. Six years later, in what would prove the Royals’ last season in Rochester, 79% of American households had one. As their Coach Les Harrison lamented, “We played Tuesdays and Saturdays opposite Milton Berle.…Attendance went down after our title year. It was just a matter of time before we had to give up.”


The exhibition When Rochester Was Royal: Professional Basketball in Rochester 1945-1957 is on view through April 22 in the Sunken Gallery around the corner. A reception will be held on Thursday, April 21, 2016—65 years to the day when the Royals captured the NBA crown. Visit the exhibition website for more information:

Photo credit:  exhibition  panels on view in the Sunken Gallery, RIT, designed by Sydney MacMillan and Rebecca Merriman