The Museum of Public Relations

The Museum of Public Relations The Museum of Public Relations is the world's only museum dedicated to the PR field. It is a 501(c)(3) educational institution chartered by the State of NY Dept. of Education, with more than 2500 artifacts documenting a century of PR practice.
The Museum and Library are chartered by the NYS Education Department. Together, they represent the world's largest collection of historical resources and writings documenting the evolution of the pubic relations field.
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The Museum is a 501 (c) (3) organization founded by Shelley and Barry Spector in 1997. Its collections are now exhibited at Baruch College's Newman Library.

Mission: To provide the international PR community with an appreciation for the history of the field; to serve as an educational resource to the world's growing community of PR students; to demonstrate not only the history of the field, but how the PR field has shaped history.

1970-- Fifty years ago at Kent State University in Ohio, hundreds of students gathered on campus to protest Pres. Nixon'...
05/04/2020

1970-- Fifty years ago at Kent State University in Ohio, hundreds of students gathered on campus to protest Pres. Nixon's invasion of Cambodia, as part of his plan to escalate the Vietnam War. Some 25 National Guardsmen had been called in to take control of the Kent State campus, and for 13 seconds, the Guardsmen huddled together and fired live bullets into the crowd. Four students were killed. No student had any idea that the Guardsmen had been carrying live ammunition and to this day, it is not known who ordered the firing.... The four students were Allison Krause, Jeffrey Miller, Sandra Scheuer and William Schroeder....This iconic photo has come to represent the anti-war activism so pervasive on campuses from the late Sixties through the mid-Seventies. The burgeoning anti-war sentiment, in addition to the Watergate scandal, eventually led to Nixon's resignation in August of 1974. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/04/opinion/kent-state-shooting-protest.html

1918--Brantford Red Bird Bikes advertised that they would make sure the bike you bought would be free of flu germs. A ma...
05/02/2020

1918--Brantford Red Bird Bikes advertised that they would make sure the bike you bought would be free of flu germs. A massage parlor guaranteed to rid you of the flu. Lifebuoy Soup promised to kill the flu germs... Ads with flu messaging were so common -- remember, this was decades before regulations against unproven health claims-- that one paper in Calgary, Canada devoted an entire page to such ads. Fear within families (especially those with small children) was rampant and could easily be exploited by advertisers... It wouldn't be until 1931 that scientists were finally able to isolate the flu virus that killed more than 50 million people world-wide.

1918-- "There was a little bird, her name was Enza. I opened up the window, and in flew Inza!" -- kids' jump rope song.
05/02/2020

1918-- "There was a little bird, her name was Enza. I opened up the window, and in flew Inza!" -- kids' jump rope song.

04/23/2020

ON THIS DAY: April 23, 1985, is described as a day that will live in marketing infamy. It was when Coco-Cola Co. introduced a reformulation of their classic soft drink, which was often referred to as the "New Coke,” with a smoother, sweeter taste -- similar to Diet Coke, but sweetened with corn syrup, marking the first formula change in 99 years. With a whole new flavor, and all new packaging, it was one of the boldest consumer product moves to date. Coca-Cola CEO, Roberto Goizueta described the new flavor as "bolder", "rounder", and "more harmonious".

However, this campaign that was intended to re-energize the brand was met with strong opposition and protests from many longtime consumers all across the U.S. Though it was meant to be a hit, blind tastes tests and polls showed that most consumers preferred the old classic drink over the new formula. One protest group called the "Old Cola Drinkers of America," gained national attention with their relentless pursuit in having the original Coke return. They even set up local petitions, gave out pins with “new Coke” crossed out, wrote songs to honor the old taste, and spoke to the media about their mission.

Coca-Cola’s biggest rival, Pepsi, also took full advantage of the PR blunder by launching an ad with the tag line: "Somebody out there tell me why Coke did it? Why did Coke change?" By July 1985 , the company eventually caved and announced that the "old" Coca-Cola was returning to store shelves as Coca-Cola classic. This led to two network newscasts and made the front page of virtually every major newspaper.

March 12--On the eve of the emergency declaration by the NYC mayor, our intrepid panelists and audiences gathered for ou...
04/23/2020

March 12--On the eve of the emergency declaration by the NYC mayor, our intrepid panelists and audiences gathered for our 4th annual tribute to the PR Women Who Changed History. Little did we know it would be the last in-person industry event of the season. Panelists included Carmella Glover, Paul Holmes, Judith Harrison, Caryn Euting Medved, Karen Miller Russell and Dick Martin . With special thanks again to our sponsors: Hunter Public Relations (Grace Thompson Leong); Georgetown University; Talkwalker; @Page Society; Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Georgiaand the PR Council.

1970--A team of young environmentalists-- including a young mom named Marilyn Laurie --organizes the first Earth Day, a ...
04/22/2020
PR Pro Marilyn Laurie and the Story of the First Earth Day

1970--A team of young environmentalists-- including a young mom named Marilyn Laurie --organizes the first Earth Day, a celebration celebrated every Apr 22 for the past 50 years. In its first year, there were Earth Days staged in cities across the US, including NYC, whose Mayor Lindsay agreed to close down Fifth Ave for the many thousands of people expected to gather. Read the story of how Marilyn Laurie and the original Earth Day activists made Earth Day front-page News. https://www.prnewsonline.com/Laurie-Earth-Day-coronavirus

Marilyn was a stay-at-home mom with two young daughters in 1969 when protests against the Vietnam War and racial inequality shook the country.

1918-- Happy birthday April 22 to the late Inez Kaiser, the first African American woman to launch her own PR firm. She ...
04/19/2020

1918-- Happy birthday April 22 to the late Inez Kaiser, the first African American woman to launch her own PR firm. She was born in the midst of two world crises: the flu epidemic and World War I, in Kansas City, KS. It was also a time when minorities were discouraged from going to college. But Kaiser was determined not to let society's biases get in her way. She went on to get both a BA and MA, and spent 20 years teaching Home Economics. In 1957, she decided to open a PR business in a city where no Black woman had opened a business before. She developed an expertise then very much in demand by US consumer brands: to market to the burgeoning Black middle class, now quickly gaining buying power in the post-war economic boom. Clients like Lever Bros., Sears and Seven Up sought her counsel to develop PR and marketing programs within Black communities across the country. In 1970 she started serving in the White House to advise on programs to support minority small business owners. When she passed away in 2016, her son, Rick Kaiser, donated Kaiser's archives to the Museum of Public Relations, where they have been viewed ever since by hundreds of students and researchers from around the world.

1847-- The first stamps issued by the U.S. Postal Service featured Ben Franklin (5 cents) and George Washington (10 cent...
04/19/2020

1847-- The first stamps issued by the U.S. Postal Service featured Ben Franklin (5 cents) and George Washington (10 cents). Prior to selling stamps, the postal carriers collected fees for delivering the letter from the recipient, not the sender....The US Postal Service was founded in 1792, with Ben Franklin the first postmaster general to be appointed. After 228 years, the US Postal Service is on the verge of bankruptcy. Now people across the US are campaigning to save the service, urgently buying up hundreds of stamps at a time and using the hashtag #SaveUSPS to create awareness for the problem.

1937-- This iconic photo shows unemployed workers in an East St. Louis bread line standing in stark contrast in front of...
04/16/2020

1937-- This iconic photo shows unemployed workers in an East St. Louis bread line standing in stark contrast in front of a billboard featuring a happy white family. The photo was first printed in Life Magazine during the last years of the Great Depression and continues to showcase racial injustice and income disparity still so prevalent in America today.... The billboard (45k of them were placed around the US) was created by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), a powerful organization made up of the nation's largest corporations. NAM's advertising and publicity campaigns were to turn public opinion against FDR's New Deal, in favor instead of regulation-free private enterprise. The campaign was comprised of comics, a variety of "American Way" billboards, mat feature stories and even a radio soap opera, "The American Family Robinson."

1986--Here is a photo of Bernays being interviewed in his study at his house in Cambridge, Mass. A favorite subject was ...
04/14/2020

1986--Here is a photo of Bernays being interviewed in his study at his house in Cambridge, Mass. A favorite subject was his very close relationship with his double-uncle Sigmund Freud, and the impact they had had on each other's lives. Bernays at this point was 94. We continued interviewing him until his 103rd birthday, in 1995. ....Bernays's family had moved to NYC from Vienna when Bernays was a baby. His Uncle Freud, of course, remained in Vienna. In 1900, when Bernays was 9, his mother brought him and his four sisters to visit Freud in the Austrian Tyrol on the Ossiacher Lake. Read a digitized version of Bernays' draft of "Uncle Siggi," on the Library of Congress website: https://www.loc.gov/resource/mss39990.01354/?sp=2

ON THIS DAY: In the early morning of April 15, 1912, the RMS Titanic, which was a luxury British liner, sank in the Nort...
04/14/2020

ON THIS DAY: In the early morning of April 15, 1912, the RMS Titanic, which was a luxury British liner, sank in the North Atlantic Ocean after hitting an iceberg on its maiden voyage from Southampton to New York City. At the time, Titanic was the largest ship afloat and carried an estimated 2,224 passengers aboard, in which around 1,500 died, making it one of modern history’s deadliest marine disasters. Not only is the sinking one of the most examined disasters of the 20th century, its coverage holds a place in the history and evolution of public relations and crisis communications — from the ship’s travel promotion, to the subsequent crisis management efforts by the ship's owner, to it’s cultural impact.

Initial news of the sinking was met with worldwide shock and outrage that attracted crowds of people and press outside of White Star Line’s corporate offices. The first wave of reports, which included the Daily Mail’s infamous “No Lives Lost” headline, were confusing, misleading, and would even be considered today as “fake news.” With many newspapers competing to be the first to report the survivors' stories, some reporters printed false information about the total number of casualties, the ship’s whereabouts and the actual cause of the sinking. White Star Line even faced ethical issues as most of the victims were steerage, or "third cabin" passengers, who were mainly poor immigrants coming to America. Additionally, many companies like Travelers Insurance Co., even saw a business opportunity with this tragedy and by taking out ads squarely amid the Titanic columns in the daily papers with subject lines that read, “On Sea And Land At Home And Abroad Night And Day Accidents Are Happening! Are You Covered?”

The sinking of the RMS Titanic was unprecedented and contributed greatly to the development of modern PR. It also resulted in better safety measures for commercial ocean liners including laws that would require better radio control, ice patrol and lifeboat accommodations.

#NationalGrilledCheeseSandwichDay — Early ads often showed how food companies built their brand image by appealing to wo...
04/12/2020

#NationalGrilledCheeseSandwichDay — Early ads often showed how food companies built their brand image by appealing to women, mothers and housewives. Many companies directly linked comfort foods, like grilled cheese sandwiches, to wholesome family activities and ”good mothering” to produce happy, healthy kids—and healthy moms, too.

But by the 1990s, PR professionals, advertisers and market researchers realized that households across America were becoming increasingly child-centered, and children were more involved than ever with purchase decisions. This change in the target market not only resulted in evolved brand messaging, but it caused brands such as Kraft Foods to switch gears and focus on children, not only their parents. Whereas earlier ads were narrated by a parental voice off-screen, in the 1990s kids began speaking to the off-screen narrator about the brand. One of the more famous ad campaigns that highlighted this involved Kraft Singles grilled cheese sandwich commercials, where kids referred to the “square goodness” as a delicious and easy shortcut parents could use to feed their families.

1918-- Thanks to the flu epidemic, several household brands pivoted their advertising from beauty and attractiveness to ...
04/10/2020

1918-- Thanks to the flu epidemic, several household brands pivoted their advertising from beauty and attractiveness to personal and public health. Ad copy also started to address how one's personal hygiene is a benefit to the community's health. Two examples here: Kleenex went from a make-up remover to a "disposable" handkerchief; Listerine went from a cure for bad breath to a cure for colds.

RIP Anita Fial, 87, PR Pioneer in the food industry, and a victim of the Coronavirus. In 1954, she graduated from Cornel...
04/09/2020
Anita Fial, Who Carried the Banner of Exotic Food, Dies at 87

RIP Anita Fial, 87, PR Pioneer in the food industry, and a victim of the Coronavirus. In 1954, she graduated from Cornell with a home ec degree, and joined PR firm Lewis & Neale that year as a test kitchen assistant. Decades later she was named president of the firm. She represented the Florida Tomato Committee, the Florida Fresh Corn Association, the American Mushroom Council, the Dairy Council and the American Spice Trade Association, among other groups. H/T Patrice Tanaka.

Ms. Fial worked to burnish the reputation of mangoes, avocados, radishes and celery, among other produce.

1948--It's #WorldHealthDay, a time to pay tribute to nurses working on the front lines at hospitals around the globe. It...
04/07/2020

1948--It's #WorldHealthDay, a time to pay tribute to nurses working on the front lines at hospitals around the globe. It is possible that the commemoration was created by Edward Bernays, who was hired as PR consultant for the American Nursing Association (ANA) in 1947. His goal was to raise the level of prestige for the nursing profession, help improve their wages, and encourage more people (including men) to become nurses. One of his key achievements was to set down a code of ethics for the ANA.

#WorldHealthDay  — Over a century ago in 1918, the so-called Spanish flu outbreak, like COVID-19, was affecting the live...
04/07/2020

#WorldHealthDay — Over a century ago in 1918, the so-called Spanish flu outbreak, like COVID-19, was affecting the lives of millions of people around the world. Though much has changed in the world since then, many newspaper advertisements of the time show that, in some ways, the response to the 1918 flu and COVID-19 are strikingly similar.

As more people died of flu, the tone of PR and advertising changed. Rapid response was crucial to containing the virus and many communicators used it as an opportunity to place advertorials that encouraged better at-home safety measures. The growing population and cramped living conditions in the U.S. in the early 20th century created ideal situations for the spread of the virus. So, PR professionals and advertisers quickly cottoned on, promoting products to educate the public about the growing pandemic and improving hygiene.

Many brands took advantage of the public’s fears and desperation, even if they were irrelevant, not backed by science or falsely guaranteed a cure like one ad from a local massage parlor in San Jose.

One noted brand, Lifebuoy Soap, purchased a series of ads in newspapers across the country and acted as a public-health notice explaining the importance of hand washing, and how their soap would leave skin “antiseptically clean.”

TODAY IN HISTORY: April 4, 1968 — Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was fatally shot while standing on the balcony outside his...
04/04/2020

TODAY IN HISTORY: April 4, 1968 — Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was fatally shot while standing on the balcony outside his second-story room at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. The civil rights leader was in Memphis supporting a sanitation workers’ strike against racial inequality, low wages and dangerous work conditions. On his way to dinner, King was struck by a bullet in the jaw which severed his spinal cord. He was pronounced dead after his arrival at a Memphis hospital at the age of 39.

News of his assassination led to nationwide riots in major cities like Washington, D.C. and Chicago. The following day, President Lyndon B. Johnson declared April 7 a national day of mourning for the civil rights leader.

1946--The first "poster child" was six-year-old Donald Anderson of Eugene, Oregon, who had contracted polio at age 3. Th...
04/04/2020

1946--The first "poster child" was six-year-old Donald Anderson of Eugene, Oregon, who had contracted polio at age 3. The poster shows the boy as a hospital patient, with neck brace and arm splint. The next image is a beaming and confident boy, at last able to walk again, thanks to therapies made possible through the March of Dimes. These posters, all featuring afflicted children, proved to be an extraordinarily effective part of its fund-raising crusade. The organization, founded by Pres. Franklin Roosevelt, was originally called the Infantile Paralysis Foundation. FDR himself was stricken with polio in 1921, which left his legs paralyzed for life. Until his death in 1945, FDR was an extremely influential spokesman and role model.

1918--More than 100 years ago, public health campaigns around the world urged citizens to don masks in order to prevent ...
04/04/2020

1918--More than 100 years ago, public health campaigns around the world urged citizens to don masks in order to prevent the spread of the flu. With no TV, radio or social media, the local governments had to rely on posters, news articles and advertising to get across the message. Masks were commonly seen in newspaper photos. Note the newspaper ad for the J&J Epidemic mask. "Social distancing" was not then a directive from the governments.

Address

85 Broad Street
New York, NY
10004

General information

We are a non profit education institution, the world's only museum dedicated to the public relations field. We acquire, preserve and exhibit rare books, artifacts and papers documenting the field's evolution The museum depends entirely on tax deductible donations, corporate sponsorships, educational grants and licensing fees.

Opening Hours

Monday 09:00 - 17:00
Tuesday 09:00 - 17:00
Wednesday 09:00 - 17:00
Thursday 09:00 - 17:00
Friday 11:00 - 17:00
Saturday 09:00 - 17:00
Sunday 09:00 - 17:00

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(212) 943-5858

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  • The Museum of Public Relations is the world’s only organization dedicated to preserving, exhibiting and teaching the history of our field. It is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit educational institution chartered by the New York state Department of Education.

  • The Museum is at 85 Broad Street. Visits by individuals, classes, agencies and staffs must be scheduled beforehand (sign up at prmuseum.org/requests). We provide a hands-on tour as well as a lecture with videos. Suggested donation is $25 per student; $50 per professional. Donations can be made through prmuseum.org.

  • Our archive includes materials from Edward Bernays and Doris Fleischman, Ivy Lee, John Hill and Arthur Page, as well as a collection of media technologies from the past century, and nearly 700 books, some more than 125 years old.

  • The Museum produces events and classes every month or so, with topics appealing to students, professionals, educators and business leaders. We host annual celebrations of BlackPRHistory, LatinoPRHistory, and PRWomenWhoChangedHistory, as well as panel discussions with industry leaders, exploring such topics as “The Value of Values” and “Implications of ‘Truth Decay’ for the Practice of Public Relations.”

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