The Museum of Public Relations is a 501(c)(3) educational institution chartered by the New York State Board of Regents to serve the world's growing community of students, scholars and practitioners in the public relations field. As only such institution of its kind, the museum houses more than 600 volumes of historical books, two dozen artifacts, and a digital archive of more than 100 hours of video taped oral histories.
Founded in 1997, the museum is now in residence at Baruch College’s Newman Library Archives and Special Collections, where it is open to the public by appointment for tours, guest lectures and research. The museum provides educational content and digital resources online through a web site featuring PR pioneers and program. Its Facebook page regularly features historical content and photos to demonstrate the important role PR has played shaping society, culture and politics throughout history.
On September 23, 2014 the Baruch College Library and its Dean, Arthur Downing, and Corporate Communications International (CCI) Director Dr. Michael B. Goodman, co-hosted an event to celebrate the opening of the Museum’s first exhibition, “The People, Ideas and History that shaped PR’s First 100 Years.” The program featured Harold Burson, Muriel Fox and Herb Schmertz, movers and shakers in public relations, advertising, communications and media in the twentieth century. This historic panel discussion with three iconic leaders who appeared together for the first time before an audience of spellbound students, faculty, scholars, public relations practitioners and senior counselors was videotaped for the Museum’s archives.
The Museum and Library, having recently relocated to Baruch College, will be a rich resource for their students in undergraduate and graduate programs in communications, public relations, journalism, history, psychology and political science. The Newman Library is supporting the Museum with archival and exhibit space, custodial care of the Museum’s collections and books, staffing for needed operational and planning activities, scheduling of visitors, setting up and taking down exhibits, security and occasional hosting and docent services.
Since January 2012 the Museum has maintained a Facebook page that has now been liked more than 4,000 times by students, professors and practitioners from 47 countries. New posts go up regularly and the engagement is remarkable. The site has been supported by the volunteer efforts of Shelley Spector with assistance from James Arnold.
The Museum and Library were established by Shelley and Barry Spector as a private collection in 1995. The museum's web site, posted in 1997, was the first-ever site to serve as its own museum, which continues to be a popular resource for students around the world. The Spectors spent the next 15 years actively acquiring historically significant books, documents, photos and artifacts in order to preserve them for future generations. In 2011, the Museum and Library were chartered by the New York State Board of Regents as an educational institution to serve the academic needs of students and scholars. Its library collection grew to more than 600 historically significant works, many first edition and a century old.
The Spectors also acquired works in the several fields that have impacted the development of PR as an applied social science, such as psychology, communications theory, political science, journalism, propaganda and history. Additionally, they continued to video tape oral histories of such individuals as: Daniel Edelman, Harold Burson, David Finn, Herb Schmertz, Muriel Fox and Ed Block. In 2014, the museum's growing collection was relocated to the Special Collections Department at the Newman Library at Baruch College, of the City University of New York. journalism, political science, research and communication theory.