Our café is currently closed for renovations. You'll be in for a treat when it reopens in July as the Café at RMSC by local partner Creative Caterers. 

Discover Martha's Magic

Discover Martha's Magic

Saturday, June 23 | 10am–3pm

Discover the story of Martha Matilda Harper—inventor, immigrant, and entrepreneur —and her incredible success building a hair care franchise. Meet Jane Plitt and Sally Valentine, authors of Martha's Magical Hair and Martha the Hairpreneur. Enter the longest-hair contest and learn how to keep your hair healthy, get hands-on creating beauty products, and share ideas for your own business. 

Harper originally came to Rochester from Ontario, Canada in 1882 to work as a domestic servant. She then developed a hair tonic, opened the first public hair salon in the region, and then franchised her salon and became one of the first business people in the U.S. to use the franchise model. Her franchise grew to include locations around the world. Each franchised Harper Hair Parlor was woman-owned and allowed other women to become economically independent as Harper had become. 



10–11am: Martha's Magical Hair Storytime with authour Jane Plitt & Longest-Hair Contest Winner Announcement

11am–12:30pm: Meet authors Jane and Sally and purchase signed copy of their books. Discover the items from Martha Matilda Harper and her business in RMSC Collections.

1pm–2pm: "Martha Matilda Harper: Rochester Magic at Work for Women, Entrepreneurs & Scientists," a presentation geared towards adults about the story and successes of Martha Matilda Harper

2–3pm: Meet authors Jane and Sally and purchase signed copy of their books. Discover the items from Martha Matilda Harper and her business in RMSC Collections.

Please note: regular RMSC admission rates apply.


Longest Hair Contest

Martha Matilda Harper’s own exceptionally long locks were a great example of healthy hair care as she worked to promote her “Harper Method.”

How long is your hair? Do the math to discover how long your hair is in proportion to your height and be entered to win our longest hair contest. The winner will each receive three books about Martha Matilda Harper signed by the authors including:

  • Martha’s Magical Hair by Jane Plitt
  • Martha the Hairpreneur: From Servant to Business Empress by Jane Plitt and Sally Valentine
  • Martha Matilda Harper and the American Dream: How One Woman Changed the Face of Modern Business by Jane Plitt

Follow step-by-step instructions to calculate your hair length in proportion to your body as a percent to enter the contest by Monday, June 18.


Get Started


brownie inventor badge croppedBrownie Girl Scouts: Earn your Inventor Badge! 

Are you a Brownie Girl Scout? You can earn your "Inventor" badge during this one-day program at the museum. Ask for self-guided badge materials at the museum's front desk and get inventing! 
(Activities only. Inventor badge not available for purchase)


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