Wharton Studio Museum is preserving and celebrating Ithaca's role in early American filmmaking, and developing the historic Wharton Studio building in Stewart Park into a park center with exhibits and installations about film history and the history of the park.


Wharton Studio Museum produces four annual events -- Silent Movie Under the Stars (August); Silent Movie Month (October); Southern Tier Student Film Festival (spring); and Party for the Park (September, in collaboration with Friends of Stewart Park) -- in addition to other screenings, presentations and exhibits throughout the year. View our Calendar of Events and Exhibits for full details.


YOU help support WSM's mission, programming and educational outreach when you make a gift!

Finger Lakes Film Trail

Wharton Studio Museum is a founding member of the Finger Lakes Film Trail.


Serial Style

New Exhibit About Irene Castle open at Tompkins Center for History and Culture.

Serial Style: The Business of Being Irene Castle, a new multimedia exhibit curated by WSM and Cornell Fashion + Textile Collection at Tompkins Center for History and Culture, as part of The History Center's new installation Breaking Barriers: Women's Lives and Livelihoods, is on view at TCHC Wednesday through Saturday, 10am-5pm. Serial Style focuses on Castle's participation in silent film production, fashion industry endeavors, and philanthropy. For the first time ever, Castle's personal photo albums--including movie industry snapshots and photos she ...
Walk This Play

Walk This Play

You’re Invited to WALK THIS PLAY beginning Friday, July 10, 2020! WSM and The Cherry Arts, in collaboration with The History Center in Tompkins County, proudly present WALK THIS PLAY, a download hub where two unique local walking headphone plays – The Missing Chapter and Storm Country — can be accessed for the first time without advance tickets — just a minimum $5.00 donation — and whenever audience members desire. Experience these critically-acclaimed immersive outdoor headphone walking-plays during this socially-distanced summer! ...
Race Films Race Matters

New Digital Program on Race Films from Finger Lakes Film Trail

Finger Lakes Film Trail proudly presents Race Films/Race Matters: Starting Conversations About Race in America, a new digital series featuring five important race films, corresponding video presentations about each film by scholars from Cornell University, Ithaca College, University of North Carolina/Chapel Hill, the George Eastman Museum, and Ithaca High School; and other resource materials. The series, which is free and available to all -- aims to encourage conversations about race, racial tension, and race discrimination in America today. For more information, ...

Take a Wharton Studio Museum Silent Film Tour

WSM film tour

WSM has created a Wharton Studio Silent Film Tour. This self-guided tour takes you to a number of Ithaca’s silent movie history locations, beginning with the historic Wharton Studio building in Stewart Park and on to Cornell University’s campus and then on to Upper Treman! It’s fun and informative! WSM thanks Randi Kepecs for her help in producing the tour.

New WSM Video ... Take a Look!

WSM happily premieres its series of 60-second videos!  We hope each one gives you a sense of Wharton Studio history and what WSM is doing to highlight it!

Here's Archelaus "Arch" Chadwick who designed and built elaborate sets for Wharton Studio's Beatrice FairfaxThe Great White Trail and Mysteries of Myra

WSM thanks Ancient Wisdom Productions for its great work on this project!  Stay tuned for the next video coming soon....

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What people are saying about Wharton Studio Museum

“The Wharton Studio Museum, under the intrepid leadership of Diana Riesman, has been a wonderful addition to Ithaca’s vibrant film scene, shining a light on the city’s fascinating silent film history. In addition to all the events and exhibits that WSM has presented to draw attention to this history, it has also regularly partnered with Cornell Cinema in the presentation of silent films with live musical accompaniment, with the mutual goal of introducing new audiences to the richness of the genre.”

– Mary Fessenden, Director, Cornell Cinema

“Ted and Leo Wharton were leading players in the exciting story of silent cinema in the 1910s. The remarkable work of the Wharton Studio Museum has been instrumental in making that story known and keeping it alive more than a century later. Film scholars and cinema enthusiasts alike are in the debt of WSM and its executive director Diana Riesman.”

– Barbara Tepa Lupack, New York State Historian and Public Scholar (2015-2018) & Fellow, Rockwell Center for American Visual Culture