The Rozanne M. Brooks Museum came about as the result of Professor Brooks' lifelong dedication to educating undergraduates about our diverse world. Professor Brooks taught in the Sociology/Anthropology Department from 1956 until 1992. While at SUNY Cortland, her love of travel took her to numerous points across the globe. Many of these were places few tourists had ever visited. During her travels she was diligent about purchasing ethnographic objects from their makers or owners.
When Professor Brooks passed away in 1997, she bequeathed her collection of ethnographic objects to the Sociology/Anthropology Department, with the hope that they would form the basis of a teaching museum. Professor Brooks' hope was realized in October of 2001 when this teaching museum opened to the public.
At present, the museum houses a collection of nearly 200 items, approximately half of which are on display at any given time. New donations of ethnographic items, and objects available for long-term loan, are already enhancing the museum collection.
The Brooks Museum is a teaching museum in every sense of the word. In the "Introduction to Museum Studies" course, ANT 460, students research a selection of objects with regard to cultural significance, cleaning, storage, and eventual exhibition. Students also design museum displays and develop public outreach programs. Every aspect of the museum, from object labels, to displays, to programs, is a product of student work.
Students in the museum studies course clearly enjoy the process of learning how a working museum is run, and how to develop public outreach programs. One former undergraduate, Matthew Schneider reports, "This class offers freedom from traditional classes. You can think on your own and approach assignments in your own unique way. This has been one of my most fun and rewarding classes."
For a number of years before her death in 1997, Rozanne M. Brooks set aside funds to help establish a special annual award to be presented to a SUNY Cortland professor. Apply for this award.
The Brooks Museum seeks to serve as a cultural center for SUNY Cortland, as well as for local schools and the public at large. Presently, the museum hosts two types of programs:
This lecture series, featuring up to five speakers annually, highlights a geographical region such as Africa, Asia, and the Americas. Speakers offer presentations on topics ranging from history and art history, archaeology and anthropology, to literature and contemporary arts. The lectures offer the opportunity for students and community members to learn about global culture from the experts who have made such subjects their life's work.
The museum staff is eager to provide educational programs for visiting school or after-school groups. Educators and group leaders can tailor a program in coordination with our student teachers and the museum director. Programs can focus on specific regions, featuring the objects from the region, on topics such as religion or music, or on broader fields suitable to global studies. Program participants have the opportunity to see, close-up, and in many cases, handle, objects from regions they are studying in school or in other learning communities. The mission of the Brooks Museum is to bring the excitement of our multicultural world into the hands and minds of every child and adult.
The museum is located on the SUNY Cortland campus in Moffett Center, Room 116. Please call or email the museum directly for directions and museum hours.