Rochester is widely considered by many to be one if, if not the most, Deaf-friendly city in the nation due to having the one of the largest Deaf populations per capita in the country.1 The research question focused on whether sufficient material could be assembled to provide a self-guided historical tour application (still in the planning stages) that will feature locations related to Rochester’s deaf community. The content that I curated was chosen based on the historical significance and accessibility of locations to visitors. The tour demonstrates how and why Rochester has achieved its reputation as the location of such a nationally distinguished local deaf community. The historical significance of each site is revealed through facts and photographs – all to be made accessible through the application. This tour originally was planned to be developed as part of a self-guided historical multi-tour mobile application, Rochester: Then and Now, which would feature multiple historical self-guided tours focused on various prominent components of Rochester’s history. While the plans for the mobile application fell through, this tour has still been made for the Rochester Public Library’s Rochester Voices project, directed by Michelle Finn and Christine Ridarsky. This tour may instead be featured on the Rochester Voices website, as platforms and funding to generate a mobile application are continued to be sought after. The content for this tour consists of descriptions of each historical location, accompanied by photographs and videos. The historical descriptions will provide a brief summary of the historical context and impact on the Deaf community. The text will accompany at least one photograph of each location. The Rochester: Then and Now application would have shown on a map exactly where the photographer stood to take the picture – similar to the app it was going to be modeled after, Albany: Then and Now. Locations to be featured in the application include prominent educational institutions (such as the Rochester School for the Deaf and the National Technical Institute for the Deaf), in addition the still-existent sites of both defunct and active deaf social/recreational organizations.

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Museum Studies (BS)


Edwards, Rebecca

Advisor/Committee Member

Kitzel, Mary Beth

Advisor/Committee Member

Juilee Decker


RIT – Main Campus