The Rochester Public Market (RPM) is a city-run institution that offers the public access to fresh produce, ethnic delicacies, and general merchandise at low cost, year-round. Its low barrier for entry and allowance for informal interactions between visitors and vendors are just a few of the reasons why the visitorship is consistently high and diverse. With such attributes, the RPM is a vital institution in the Rochester community, leading to the question “what can local museums learn from the market’s methods?” At the time of this writing more and more museums are becoming event spaces with multipurpose uses that fall well outside of the museums’ strictest functions: to collect and conserve. As museums incorporate more and more public programming events that have a higher entertainment to education value, it is helpful to look to other civic institutions that successfully balance the line between maintaining their mission and cultivating new and dedicated audiences in the digital age. Using historical research, contemporary data gathering in the form of informational interviews, and audience research in the form of participant observations, this thesis identifies the RPM’s successful practices of local engagement with diverse communities that can be adapted to museums both within and beyond Rochester.

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Museum Studies (BS)


Tamar Carroll

Advisor/Committee Member

Michael Brown

Advisor/Committee Member

Juilee Decker


RIT – Main Campus