Date of Award


Access Control

Open Access

Degree Name

Museum Studies, M.A.


History and Social Studies Education Department


Cynthia A. Conides, Ph.D.

First Reader

Jill M. Gradwell, Ph. D.

Second Reader

Cynthia A. Conides, Ph.D.


This project defines and validates the concept of the Roycroft Campus as a living museum and explores how the implementation of a “living” component to its educational programming would strengthen visitor engagement. It also focuses on the various ways in which to fortify the utility and visibility of a museum within a community, demonstrating how the Roycroft Campus can become a center for community engagement and cultural development. Through this research, I present the Roycroft Campus’ potential as a living museum and have created an educational based event which will bring to life the year 1915 on the historic Campus grounds. The event will emulate stepping back in time on the Campus and include interpretive elements such as re-enactors, object handling, and hands-on activities.

Located in East Aurora, New York, the Roycroft Campus is a complex of buildings developed at the turn of the 20th century which embodied the American Arts and Crafts Movement. In 1897, following an inspirational trip throughout Europe, philosopher and entrepreneur Elbert Hubbard established the Roycroft Press. Hubbard, a skilled businessman and former partner at the Larkin Soap Company, strongly believed in the ideals of his European counterparts, William Morris and John Ruskin. Propelled by the success of his essay, A Message to Garcia, the Campus greatly expanded and became the birthplace and major center of the American Arts and Crafts Movement. At its peak, the Roycroft Campus employed over 500 people, including master craftsmen, local workers, women and minorities, and welcomed many notable artists, authors, philosophers, and political icons

The Roycroft Campus was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1986. Of the fourteen original structures, nine remain standing, some of which are privately owned. The Roycroft Campus Corporation (RCC) is a non-profit organization which works to preserve the Campus’ architectural integrity and develop unique educational programming pertaining to the Landmark’s rich history and legacy.