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The George Eastman Museum receives Museums for America grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services

Grant will fund the digitization of Gabriel Cromer Collection of early French photography

Rochester, N.Y., September 19, 2016—The George Eastman Museum has received a grant to support its project Passages: The Gabriel Cromer Collection in the amount of $148,079 from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) through the Museums for America program. The grant will allow the museum to catalog, digitize, and provide online access to its Gabriel Cromer Collection of early French photography, which includes photographs, lithographic prints, albums, books, cameras, lenses, and early motion studies.

“The Gabriel Cromer Collection at the George Eastman Museum is considered one of the seminal collections of early French photography and the most important collection of such materials outside of France,” said Bruce Barnes, Ron and Donna Fielding Director, George Eastman Museum. “We are thrilled to receive this grant award, which will advance two of the Eastman Museum’s key strategic objectives: to preserve our collection objects and to enhance access to and understanding of our collections.”

Gabriel Cromer (1873–1934), a French photographer and pioneering collector, gathered thousands of objects relating to early French photography. The Eastman Kodak Company acquired Cromer’s collection from his widow in 1939 and transported it out of France months before Germany invaded. It was transferred to the George Eastman Museum in 1948, shortly after the museum was founded.

The Gabriel Cromer Collection comprises more than 4,000 objects housed in four curatorial departments of the Eastman Museum—Photography, Technology, Moving Image, and the Richard and Ronay Menschel Library. The IMLS grant will enable the museum to fully catalog and digitize this world-renowned collection and thereby provide the public with free online access to the collection for both scholarly research and recreational inquiry. The museum will present an exhibition and publish a scholarly book on the collection in 2018.

The grant was awarded through the Museums for America grant program, which is the IMLS’s largest grant program for museums, supporting projects and ongoing activities that build museums’ capacity to serve our communities. These grants strengthen a museum’s ability to advance lifelong learning, build strong communities through civic engagement and cultural opportunities, and facilitate the discovery of knowledge through exemplary museum stewardship.

About The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums. Its mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. Our grant making, policy development, and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit www.imls.gov and follow IMLS on Facebook and Twitter.