George Eastman Museum
One of the oldest and largest film and photograph conservation institutions in the world, the George Eastman Museum is located in the Colonial Revival mansion built by East Kodak Company founder, George Eastman in 1905. The museum opened in 1949 with the purpose of preserving films and photographs. The collection is enormous- featuring 400,000 photographs and negatives, 28,000 films, four million films, and thousands of publications. Highlights include Civil War photographs by Alexander Gardner, early Ansel Adams prints, works by French photographers, and daguerreotypes. The museum holds changing exhibits throughout the year. The house itself is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is also a National Historic Landmark.
Backstory and Context
George Eastman (1854-1932) was an entrepreneur known for his contributions and advancements in the field of photography. Eastman resided in his Colonial Revival home in Rochester from the time of its completion in 1905 until his death. In addition to the construction of his estate, Eastman also transformed the 8.5 acres of farmland he bought in 1902. Landscape architect Stephen DeForest, designed the landscape with gardens of all varieties, both formal and informal. The most formal garden is the Terrace Garden, with contains over ninety different perennials and annuals.
The Terrace Garden was the most used and photographed garden due to its easy access from the living room, dining room, and conservatory. In addition, Eastman hosted guests and business receptions at the Terrace Garden. In 1916, after purchasing nearby property to the west, Eastman added even more gardens with the help of architect Claude Bragdon.
George Eastman passed away in 1932 and bequeathed the home to the University of Rochester and became the president's residence (Eastman was a good friend of the president at that time). Ten years later a board of trustees took over the house and started the process of converting the house to a museum, which came to fruition in 1949. The archive building was completed in 1989 and the house was renovated in early 1990.
Greenwood, Richard. "George Eastman House." National Park Service - National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form. November 13, 1966. https://npgallery.nps.gov/GetAsset/09f9ecf7-78e9-4fc6-ae45-833545d319b1.
"History." George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film. Accessed September 18, 2015. https://www.eastman.org/history-george-eastman-museum.