The George Eastman Museum is an international treasure, with one of the world’s foremost photography and cinema collections. Our institution recently changed its name from George Eastman House, the original name, which denoted the museum’s location on George Eastman’s estate. Our new name better reflects our core identity as a museum—encompassing the breadth of our collections, exhibitions, publications, educational programs, and research—and will reduce misperceptions that our institution’s scope is limited to its cherished house. The three-part mission of the George Eastman Museum remains unchanged: preservation and development of our collections, including the historic mansion and gardens; leadership in the fields of photography and cinema; and service to our communities, in Rochester and beyond.
The name change, unanimously approved by our Board of Trustees, was the result of more than a year of brand and audience analysis and strategic planning. We are deeply grateful to the professionals who made pro bono contributions of their time and skills that were essential to this process. Brad VanAuken, of Brand Forward Inc., expertly designed and analyzed our audience surveys and then facilitated and advised our brand positioning workshops. Alan and Amanda Altman, of A3 Design, developed our new logo and graphic identity. Complemar Partners generously donated new stationery supplies and business cards. We are exhilarated by our entirely new website at eastman.org, which is far more attractive and user-friendly than its predecessor. Visit the site frequently for information on our exhibitions and programs and to learn more about our museum. The website’s technology greatly simplifies updates and upgrades. Future features will include searching our collection database and accessing digitized archival materials. We are grateful to the many staff members who contributed to this collaborative effort and to the dozens of friends of the museum who vetted and helped improve the site.
The George Eastman Museum is actively building our collections—with a particular emphasis on photographic and moving image works by contemporary artists from many cultures to complement our great strength in works from the past—while investing in a major project to restore George Eastman’s mansion and gardens. The recent donation by renowned artist William Kentridge of his complete works in time-based media is perhaps the most artistically important acquisition in the museum’s collection of moving image works since our founding acquisition of James Card’s film collection.
One of the most exciting aspects of the Eastman Museum is our dynamic and wide-ranging exhibition program. Each year, we present at least ten new curated exhibitions: three major shows, ranging from the dawn of photography or cinema to contemporary works, in our main galleries; three presentations of contemporary works in our Project Gallery; three installations of collection objects in our History of Photography Gallery; and several exhibits on the second floor of the mansion. If you have not visited the museum in four months, you are guaranteed to see several new exhibitions on your next visit, as virtually all of them will have changed. Currently on view is a sumptuous retrospective on Alvin Langdon Coburn, who bequeathed his photographic estate to the museum.
The Dryden Theatre exhibits at least six different motion pictures each week— often films that cannot be seen anywhere else—ranging from silents with live musical accompaniment, classic Hollywood pictures, and past blockbusters to rarely shown independent, foreign, or experimental films. We also present artist and curator talks in the Dryden and Curtis theaters. There is something to engage or entertain every taste.
The historic mansion and gardens offer a variety of delights throughout the year. Join us for a musical program in the mansion any Sunday afternoon. Stroll through the gardens and enjoy the change of seasons. Celebrate the holiday season with our annual display of wreaths, trees, and gingerbread creations, and escape from winter with our Dutch Connection floral show in February.
The George Eastman Museum is a very special institution. Our trustees and staff are deeply grateful to our members and other donors who support our mission. We hope that you will join us and explore all the museum has to offer. We invite one and all to come back— again and again—and see what’s new.
Bruce Barnes, Ph.D.
Ron and Donna Fielding Director
November/December 2015 Bulletin