Rochester in 1838: Young Lion of the West

Rochester in 1838: Young Lion of the West

Rochester became America’s first western “boomtown” as a result of the Erie Canal, and the Rochester in 1838 diorama celebrates that heritage with a depiction of a downtown scene on a typical winter day.

Completed on the Museum’s third floor in 1946 from components originally displayed in a Sibley's store window at Main and Clinton, the diorama depicts a slice of downtown from Main Street to Spring Street and South Avenue to Plymouth Avenue, including the canal. Throughout the restoration project in celebration of the canal's bicentennial in 2017, RMSC visitors were able to track its progress and interact with technicians, who worked in a fishbowl-style "living exhibit" surrounding the diorama. The diorama now features restored sky and foreground painting, enhanced lighting, interpretive signage, and preservation features that will ensure its enjoyment for generations to come. Experts also enhanced the diorama’s interpretation to address historical inaccuracies in its original presentation, such as the American flags displayed prominently on buildings and incorrect period clothing. 

RMSC’s Rochester in 1838: Young Lion of the West diorama restoration project was made possible by grants from the New York State Council on the Arts; the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor; and the Historic Preservation, Restoration and Literature Fund at the Rochester Area Community Foundation; as well as a donation from Arthur W. Schuster, Jr.

 

 

NYSCA Logo Black min


Image Gallery


Sign up for E-news

Get breaking news delivered to your inbox.

Sign up for Teacher E-news

Get valuable teacher-specific news.