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Muncie Microcosm of America collection

Identifier: MSS-370

Scope and Contents

This collection includes photographic slides, negatives, 16mm films, and reel-to-reel audio tapes from the Muncie Microcosm of America art show held in Muncie in 1972.


  • 1972-1973

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Legal title, copyright, and literary rights reside with Archives and Special Collections, Ball State University Libraries, Muncie, IN. All requests to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted to Archives and Special Collections.

Historical Note

Funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Muncie Microcosm of America project was organized by Chicago-based architect and cinematographer John Kurtich, and was developed to commemorate the dedication of the College of Architecture and Planning building at Ball State University in 1972. Kurtich and a crew of Ball State architecture students captured film footage, photographs, and audio recordings of people and places in Muncie.

Architecture students who participated in the project included David M. Black, John I. Byers, Sherman Bynum, James Campbell, John Dierdorf, Mark Peters, John Reynolds, and Richard Wismer.

In the tradition of the Middletown Studies, the final production was meant to "give the audience a look at Muncie as a community that was an embodiment of the typical or ideal in America." It featured seven Muncie archetypes (children, politicians, college students, housewives, etc.) and followed them through their daily routines. The final show premiered in the fall of 1972 at University Hall (now Pruis Hall) and featured 27 slide projectors, 4 film projectors, and nearly 10,000 photographic slides. During the show, as many as 14 images were simultaneously projected on a 77-foot wide screen. The films and photographs were synchronized with music and sounds of Muncie industry.


5 Cubic Feet (4 boxes, 30 reels)

Language of Materials



Arranged in the following series:

Series 1: Muncie Microcosm of America slides and negatives, 1972-1973

Series 2: Muncie Microcosm of America films, 1972

Series 3: Muncie Microcosm of America audio tapes, 1972

Custodial History

This collection was received by Archives and Special Collections as a records transfer from the College of Architecture and Planning Drawings and Documents Archive on 2016/09/27.


No further additions are expected.

Processing Information

Collection processing completed 2017/01/03 by Lindsey M. Vesperry. EAD finding aid created 2017/01/03 by Lindsey M. Vesperry. EAD finding aid revised 2017/01/04 by Lindsey M. Vesperry.

Muncie Microcosm of America collection
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Stoeckel Archives of Local History Repository

Alexander M. Bracken Library
2000 W. University Avenue
Muncie Indiana 47306 USA