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George Eastman Museum appoints Michelle Finn as Curator of the George Eastman Collection

Closeup photo of new curator Michelle Finn

Rochester, N.Y., March 6, 2024—The George Eastman Museum has appointed historian and curator Michelle Finn, PhD, as curator of the George Eastman Collection, with responsibility for George Eastman’s 35,000‑square-foot mansion, its contents, and archival materials comprising more than 200,000 items. Finn will start in the position on April 15.

“The Eastman Museum is committed to developing and presenting contemporary interpretations of George Eastman that are broadly relevant in our diverse community,” said Bruce Barnes, PhD, Ron and Donna Fielding Director, George Eastman Museum. “Michelle Finn’s experience in interpreting social, cultural, and political history will make a crucial contribution to this effort. She has curated several exhibitions about various previously underexplored aspects of Rochester’s history—with contemporary relevance in mind. ”

“I look forward to making connections between George Eastman and the present in ways that are meaningful to a wide range of audiences,” said Michelle Finn. “With more than a decade of experience in handling and interpreting the Rochester Public Library’s historical collections, I have introduced diverse audiences to these materials and helped people to explore them and appreciate their current significance.”

“I am enthusiastic that Michelle Finn will be my successor in stewarding and curating our National Historic Landmark and our collection and archive related to George Eastman,” said Kathy Connor, the retiring George Eastman Legacy Curator, who has held this position since 1990 and worked at the museum for 42 years. “Finn’s background in archives and collection management will assure preservation of our original artifacts, and her experience in making research materials accessible will advance our ability to make our important holdings available onsite and online.”

Finn is currently the Senior Historical Researcher at the Central Library of Rochester & Monroe County’s Local History & Genealogy Division and has served as the Deputy Historian for the City of Rochester since 2012.  Between 2008 and 2016, Finn developed and taught undergraduate courses at the University of Rochester, State University of New York at Geneseo, and Monroe Community College. From 2013 to 2022, Finn curated seven exhibitions at the Rundel Memorial Library Building in Rochester, including Everyday People: The Dinkle Family and Rochester’s African American Past and Because of Women Like Her . . . Winning the Vote in New York State.

Finn received a doctorate in American history from the University of Rochester and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in political science, magna cum laude, from the University of Pennsylvania.

About the George Eastman Museum
Founded in 1947, the George Eastman Museum is the world’s oldest photography museum and one of the largest film archives in the United States, located on the historic ten-acre Rochester estate of entrepreneur and philanthropist George Eastman, the pioneer of popular photography. Its holdings comprise more than 400,000 photographs, 41,000 motion picture films, the world’s preeminent collection of photographic and cinematographic technology, one of the leading libraries of books related to photography and cinema, and extensive holdings of documents and other objects related to George Eastman. As a research and teaching institution, the Eastman Museum has an active book publishing program, and its L. Jeffrey Selznick School of Film Preservation’s graduate program (in collaboration with the University of Rochester) makes critical contributions to film preservation. For more information, visit eastman.org and follow the George Eastman Museum account on

Facebook, as well as the @eastmanmuseum accounts on Instagram, TikTok, and Threads.