Rochester Museum & Science Center


A Brief History of the RMSC

Established in 1912 as the Municipal Museum in Rochester, New York, the Rochester Museum & Science Center has constantly expanded and evolved to meet the changing needs of our community.

  • 1912: Established at Exposition Park (later Edgerton Park) as the Municipal Museum of Rochester, New York, the Rochester Museum & Science Center expands and evolves to meet the changing needs of our community
  • 1925: The Municipal Museum Commission becomes a City department.
  • 1930:  The institution changes its name to the Rochester Museum of Arts and Sciences.
  • 1941: The cornerstone for an expanded Rochester Museum of Arts and Sciences is laid on East Avenue with the donation of land and funding from Edward Bausch.
  • 1968: The most advanced planetarium in the world at the time opens as a gift from Edwin and Clara Strasenburgh of Rochester, and Monroe County becomes principal supporter. Our name officially changes to the Rochester Museum & Science Center (RMSC).
  • 1969: The transition of financial support from the City of Rochester to Monroe County.
  • 1973: The Cumming Nature Center (CNC) officially opens to the public with a regular schedule of programs; in 1977, CNC was designated a National Environmental Study Area by the US Department of the Interior after meeting their high standards.
  • 1973-1974: RMSC upgrades physical facilities by constructing the Gannett School classroom building for lifelong learning (1973) and the Eisenhart Auditorium (1974). 
  • 1976: The RMSC Preschool opens on the RMSC’s Rochester campus.
  • 1982: The visitor’s building, funded in part by the Kresge Foundation grant, opens at Cumming Nature Center.
  • 2001: Genesee Community Charter School opens on the RMSC campus.
  • 2018: With a lead gift from John and Barbara Bruning, the Planetarium is renovated with digital visualization technology and modifications to the theater, lobby, and restrooms.
  • 2020: Closed from March 13 through June 27 due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout the closure, RMSC provided online educational content. Reopened in June 2020.
  • 2020/2021: Enormous growth in Cumming Nature Center programs – particularly outdoor Forest School programs and Cross-Country Skiing lessons and rentals. Installation of an elevator in the Nature Center building to increase accessibility.

Click here to see a detailed fact sheet about the RMSC Museum, Strasenburgh Planetarium, and Cumming Nature Center.