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Rochester Academy of Medicine Welcomes Archives Dedicated to Local Health Care History

April 14, 2014
archives - nurses capsWith more than a century dedicated to medical education, the Rochester Academy of Medicine has enriched its portfolio of outreach programs by welcoming the Rochester Medical Museum and Archives (RMMA).

RMMA collects, cares for, and shares the history of institutions within the Rochester General Health System, which dates back to 1847 and highlights more than 400 cumulative years of caring for the health of the Rochester region. The collection, now located at the academy’s 1441 East Avenue campus, was previously housed at the Stromberg-Carlson complex on Humboldt Street.

“East Avenue is an appropriate location for the Rochester Medical Museum and Archives – here along museum row,” says Suzanne Welch, Rochester Academy of Medicine executive director. “We are so pleased to serve as the new site of the museum’s exhibits and archival material, and we are grateful to Rochester General Health System for the opportunity to form this partnership.”

nursing uniform - archivesThe Rochester Academy of Medicine has been providing educational opportunities to the local medical community since it was founded in 1900. It moved to its current site, the former home of Carolyn and Edmund Lyon, after the landmark was donated to the academy in 1939. Until the latter stages of the 20th century, the facility served as a resource center that provided members access to a comprehensive collection of medical journals.

RMMA assumes 5,000 square feet of space at the site, including gallery space in the academy’s former library.

“One thing that is wonderful to me is the number of curatorial opportunities that exist in this house alongside the history of the Rochester Academy of Medicine,” explains Kathleen Briton, RMMA director and curator. “Becoming part of this facility really helps to reinforce our identity as an historical society.”

archives - old operating roomRMMA’s collection consists of archival documents, photographs, costumes, material culture objects, and a series of oral interviews. All items relate to the history of Rochester General Hospital, the former Genesee Hospital, their associated schools of nursing, Newark-Wayne Community Hospital, and close to 20 other organizations whose roots trace back to Rochester General Health System or one of its affiliates.

“There is a tremendous amount of history and many great stories related to these institutions, so it’s important this history has a safe place to live and be available to share,” Briton says. “The health care history in this area provides a great lens for looking at Rochester. It really is reflective of who we are as a community.”

“When people come to the museum, they will also get to come inside the academy, which in itself is an historic site,” Welch adds. “We’re very happy about that, and I think the Rochester community will be happy too.”