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. 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 Muncie Microcosm of America Collection in the Digital Media Repository provides online access to more than 1,100 photographs. Future plans are underway to augment these still images with film assets and other materials. The complete collection of the Muncie Microcosm of America is available in the Ball State University Archives and Special Collections.