The George Eastman House — A Picture of Innovation

February 4, 2012 at 6:33 am Leave a comment

Finger lakes summer

The George Eastman House is located at 900 East Avenue

To learn about the roots of Rochester New York, you have to visit the George Eastman House. George Eastman is called the father of Rochester. Eastman, a lover of photography, did not invent it, but his inventions made it possible for every family to afford to take their own pictures for the first time.

Finger lakes summer

Front hall way, where thousands of guests were greeted during many parties

Eastman invented the Brownie Camera — pretty much a box — with a lens, with film inside, ready for instant use, with no special training, for only $1.00 — and that included printing the pictures! Once you took the pictures, you had to mail the entire camera back to get your pictures — and another roll of film inside your camera. This camera business became known  to the world as the Eastman Kodak Company.

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Care for an elephant on the wall of your conservatory?

The George Eastman Museum contains over 400,000 photographs, and 28,000 films.

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Even ash trays have become extinct

Just beyond the main entrance is the photography gallery, which hosts changing shows through out the year. You can enjoy classic films at the Dryden Theater, also part of the museum. There is also a café and gift shop between the gallery and the house.

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View of the mysterious third floor

The museum generously allows photography anywhere inside the house, and once the tour is over you can explore the second floor yourself. I strongly suggest arriving in time for a docent-led tour. I enjoyed the wonderful stories describing Mr Eastman’s constant innovation.

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View of the north side gardens

Eastman’s father died when he was very young. To make ends meet his mother operated a boarding house and taking in renters, which included, cooking for them and doing their laundry. As soon as he could, George quit school very young, and took a job to help out.

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Learning nook

His rough beginnings explain his lifelong commitment to supporting education, the arts and cultural improvement. These include contributions to The University of Rochester, Hillside Children’s Center, The Rochester Friendly Home, The Memorial Art gallery, Rochester Institute of Technology, the Red Cross, and Durand Eastman Park.

Eastman is credited with creating The Center for Governmental Research, The United Way, The Eastman School of Music, The Rochester Philharmonic, The Eastman (KODAK) Theater, Strong Hospital and the Eastman Dental School.

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Hat boxes from area retailers in an upstairs closet

There are many other universities and institutions outside of Rochester that he also supported. It is amazing that a man with so little education could contribute so generously to the education and improvement of life for so many others.

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Doesn't everyone need an elephant foot trash can?

George Eastman so loved music that he had a full pipe organ installed in his house, and a giant conservatory built to enjoy it in. Originally the room intended to contain the organ was not big enough, so Mr. Eastman had his mansion cut in half. The north (rear) section was moved 9 ft. 4 in. north — to make a bigger room. The house was moved with horizontal hydraulic jacks on railroad ties with special wheels and tracks.

Location : 900 East Avenue, Rochester, NY 14607

Hours : Tue, Wed, Fri, Sat : 10am – 5pm · Thu 10am – 8pm · Sun : 1pm – 5pm

Admission : Adults $12, Seniors (65+) $10, Students (with ID) $5, Children 12 and Under Free · Members Free

Contact : Telephone (585) 271-3361


Entry filed under: Activities, Antiques, Gallery, Museums, New York, Rochester. Tags: , , , , , .

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