The Erie Canal is one of the engineering marvels of the world and was largely responsible for Rochester’s transformation into an economic powerhouse, yet there is little representation of it in the cultural institutions throughout Rochester. In collaboration with the Office of the City Historian, I created a digital exhibit to commemorate the Erie Canal and its economic and social effects on the City of Rochester. This paper tracks the many decisions I made throughout the process of creating the exhibit and goes into detail about how best to select items, craft a narrative, and put the exhibit together in a way that will entice people and be accessible to all that are interested. Additionally, this paper explores the benefits of an online exhibit as compared to an in-person one, and it gives guidance as to what types of items should be digitized and what that digitization can do for the artifact. Additionally, I explored how an exhibit can be formed around educational standards, as this exhibit will be used in classrooms throughout the Rochester City School District. By identifying broadly applicable best-practice standards, this paper provides a road map for cultural institutions across the country looking to create a digital exhibit of their own, even with limited resources.

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Museum Studies (BS)


Michael Brown

Advisor/Committee Member

Michelle Finn

Advisor/Committee Member

Tina Lent


RIT – Main Campus