Recently, I spent a day with my friend, Rita, exploring Rochester. We spent part of our day exploring the beautiful George Eastman Museum and all it has to offer.
Located on East Avenue in the Historic District, the George Eastman House and Museum can be found in one of the most beautiful and wealthiest parts of the city. In this area of East Avenue, you can find gorgeous homes, the Genesee Valley Club, and the Rochester Museum and Science Center.
There are several reasons why I think all University of Rochester students should check out Eastman Museum at least once. George Eastman is the biggest benefactor in the history of the University, so it’s incredibly exciting to see who he was and what he was about. Photography is also a huge part of our daily lives and without Eastman’s creation of the first personal camera and his company Kodak, photography wouldn’t be as commonplace as it is today.
Upon entry into the museum, to our immediate right there were photo galleries of photos taken by the film Kodak camera. As we walked down the main stretch, there were also rooms with displays of old daguerreotypes (the first type of camera) and discussions about development of the film camera that Kodak made so ubiquitous. Deeper into the museum, we came across Dryden Theatre, a theatre commissioned by some family members of Eastman in which old movies are always playing and you can walk in to watch them at any time.
In between the museum and entrance of the house, there is a nice sun porch with doors out to the Eastman gardens. Eastman was incredibly passionate about his gardens and the museum works hard to maintain these flowers, plants, and bushes. In the center was a water fountain, and along the paths were finely manicured bushes. All around the gardens were other museum visitors and photographers trying to capture that perfect photo. I think Eastman really would’ve appreciated them.
After exploring the gardens, Rita and I entered the actual Eastman House. There were dining rooms, beautiful bedrooms and bathrooms. In the living room, Eastman displayed an elephant head that he shot himself. The first floor also held his library and a music room in which Eastman would entertain guests and invite local musicians to play on Wednesday nights.
On the second floor, on display was his old safe which was hidden by a panel in his stairwell.
All in all, it was a wonderful experience learning about George Eastman and his connections to the University of Rochester! If you have a chance to explore this house as student, I highly recommend it!