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.
  • 2022: The RMSC rebrands, bringing fresh energy and clarity to the brand and its three locations as one organization. RMSC opens three new state-of-the-art science and technology labs in the Museum & Science Center RMSC opens new permanent exhibitions, Rochester’s Eyes in Space and Same Sky in the Strasenburgh Planetarium. RMSC opens the Wonders of Water exhibition, the first permanent exhibit at the Museum and Science Center building in over 15 years.
  • 2023: RMSC hold press conference to celebrate the one year out Total Solar Eclipse (April 8, 2024) on April 6, 2023.

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