Media Collections

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Cornell’s unique world class collections of old and new media are open for use by students and faculty.

Cornell Plaster Cast Collection

Cornell University once owned a collection of plaster casts of sculptures, gemstones and inscriptions from different cultures and periods such as the ancient Near East, ancient Egypt, ancient Greece and Rome (the majority), the European Middle Ages, the Renaissance and the 19th century. In addition, architectural models and details of architectural sculpture from the above-mentioned periods formed part of the collection together with more abstract drawing models for art students. This collection must have comprised about 2000 pieces (ca. 1000 being reproductions of gemstones), only a part of which has survived, often in very bad condition and distributed all over campus.

Cornell casts

Cornell Organ and Keyboard Collection

Cornell’s collection of organs is wide-ranging and of high quality. The largest organ on campus is the eclectic American classic Aeolian Skinner (1940) located in Sage Chapel. Also in Sage Chapel is a historic Neapolitan organ, built by Augustinus Vicedomini in 1746. A short walk away in the music department’s small concert hall, Barnes Hall, is a central German chamber organ of one manual with pedal, a gift of the Dallas Morse Coors foundation, built at the Gothenburg Organ Art Center in 2003.

Racking baroque organ pipes

Cornell Punk Collection, 1974-1986

Collection of approximately 3,000 rare and unique items documenting English and American punk and post-punk music, circa 1974-1986. The collection includes original manuscripts, approximately 365 fliers and posters, approximately 1,300 fanzines, sound recordings, clothing, photographs, original art, and other ephemera. 157 books in the collection are cataloged separately.

Sex Pistols magazine cover

Cornell Hip Hop Collection

The mission of the Cornell Hip Hop Collection (CHHC) is to collect and make accessible the historical artifacts of Hip Hop culture and to ensure their preservation for future generations. It is open to the public (please contact us for an appointment).

Image from Joe Gonzo collection

Rose Goldsen Archive of New Media Art

Under the sponsorship of The Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, the Rose Goldsen Archive of New Media Art serves as a research repository of new media art and resources. The curatorial vision emphasizes digital interfaces and artistic experimentation by international, independent artists.

Cornell Reuleaux Collection

Cornell’s Reuleaux Collection of Kinematic Models consists of 218 mechanical models and related resources for teaching the principles of kinematics, the geometry of pure motion. Currently held by Cornell’s Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, the collection is the largest remaining of its kind and offers a glimpse of the 19th century’s fascination with machines. Moreover, these models still provide elegant demonstrations of engineering concepts and mathematical formulas.

Cornell Candid Camera Collection

The Cornell University Department of Psychology Candid Camera Collection consists of more than 200 copies of films from episodes of “CandidCamera,” a practical joke reality show which ran from 1961-1966. The show was produced by Cornell alumnus Allen Funt, and depicted practical jokes being played on the unsuspecting public. The films were used for research and in class to document human behavior, and currently reside in the Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections in the Cornell University Library.

Episode description from Candid Camera