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  • George Eastman HouseGeorge Eastman House Rochester, New York
    The George Eastman House in Rochester, New York is the oldest museum in the world that is dedicated to photography, housing one of the world's oldest film archives; and was opened to the public in 1949. The museum has become known the world over for its magnificent motion picture and photograph archives, and a leader in film preservation and photograph preservation; offering the finest education to conservators and archivists across the globe. The museum also houses the Dryden Theater, which seats 535 people and is a repertory theater. The museum is situated in the house that George Eastman constructed, as well as around it, and made a National Historic Landmark in 1966. Eastman was the founder of the world famous Eastman Kodak Company that still operates from Rochester. The letter K had always been one of Eastman's favorite letters, quoted as having said, "it seems a strong, incisive sort of letter", so he and his mother came up with the name Kodak with an anagram set. George stated that he had used three important principles when he created the name; "it should be short, one cannot mispronounce it and it could not resemble anything or be associated with anything but Kodak." So that is how the company name, as well as the camera would be named Kodak. When Eastman passed on, his entire estate, was left to the University of Rochester, which were then occupied by the university's presidents for ten years, until after WWII, when the university transferred the estate to a board of trustees. The George Eastman House Museum of Photography would be chartered in 1947, and now the museum's complete name is the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film; with its main mission is to collect, preserve and present the amazing and exciting history of film and photography. It opened in 1949, where it would showcase the nucleus of its collections in the Eastman House, and these included; Eastman Kodak Company's historical collection, the Medicus collection of Civil War photographs by Alexander Gardner and the huge Gabriel Cromer collection that came from France. It would be augmented over the years with numerous outstanding collections, with corporate collections, artists' lifetime portfolios and entire archives, along with rare ephemera and motion pictures. By 1984, the impressive collection were believed to be the best in the world, with the collections continuing to grow at a rapid pace, which eventually would cause some concern as the museum was becoming overstuffed with too much. In January, 1989, a new facility would open, and in 1996, it had to open the Louis B. Mayer Conservation Center in Chili, NY that was close by. It is only one of four in this country, housing rare 35mm prints that had been made on cellulose nitrate. The same year, the Eastman would launch the first school of film preservation in the country so that they could teach preservation, archiving of motion pictures and restoration. The L. Jeffrey Selznick School of Film Preservation would then be supported by a grant from the Mayer Foundation, and in 1999, the museum began the Mellon Advanced Residency Program in Photograph conservation, which was made possible by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; training the best photograph archivists and conservators from across the globe. The incredible permanent collection contains over 400,000 photographs and negatives that date from the early invention of photography to the current day; 43,000 publications, over 25,000 objects of technology and 23,000 films and numerous millions of film stills. The house itself is a 35,000 square foot 50 room Colonial revival mansion, constructed between 1902 and 1905 with 10.5 acres of working farm land, stables, barns, formal gardens, pastures, greenhouses, and the most modern conveniences available. The house contained an electrical generator, a central clock network, marvelous pipe organ, a built-in cleaning system, elevator and an internal telephone system that had 21 stations.

  • Susan B. Anthony House
    Susan B. Anthony House Rocherster, New YorkThe Susan B. Anthony House in Rochester, New York was her home while she lived as a national figure involved in the women's rights movement, arrested in her front parlor after trying to vote in the 1872 Presidential Election, and lived here until her passing. In 1965, it would become a National Historic Landmark and a year later be listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The house is used today as learning center and museum open to the public for tours and special programs, with a visitor center and museum shop situated in the historic house next door, that had been owned by Hannah Anthony Mosher, Susan and Mary Anthony's sister. The main mission of the museum and house is to continue Susan's vision alive and relevant, especially as it relates to the women of the world today. Susan was also very involved and interested in equal rights for everyone, since they should be. Some of the fascinating programs offered by the museum are geared towards girl scouts, cub and boy scouts, neighborhood connections, lunch and lecture series, women's initiatives, professional development, inspiring one another, healthy aging seminars and so many others worthwhile projects that strive to bring equality for all of the world's peoples. Susan was many things to many organizations, that worked as an abolitionist, suffragist, temperance worker, educational reformer and labor activist, always aspiring to raise her fellow workers to a better place and circumstances; perhaps one of the most courageous women in our short history. Susan was born in Adams, Massachusetts in 1820 and raised as a Quaker, in a family that already had a long tradition of being active in various struggles of the American peoples; which is how she would become endowed with such a strong sense of justice and moral zeal. She began teaching, and after 15 years, she started becoming involved in the temperance movement, although she would be barred from speaking at any of the rallies. Because of this experience and others during her early life, she would meet and join with Elizabeth Cady Stanton, in the women's rights movement in 1852. It wouldn't be much later when she decided to dedicate her life to women's suffrage, also campaigning for the abolition of slavery, women's rights to their own property and earnings as well as women's labor organizations. She would persuade the University of Rochester to accept women in their curriculum in 1900, and although she never married, she would continue to be aggressive and compassionate, with an excellent mind and a wonderful ability to inspire; continuing in her causes until she passed on in 1906. Her story is a long and difficult journey of a woman led by determination and the ability to inspire, there is so much more to be said, to be written, but that is why her house museum is such an interesting and exciting place to visit. You can spend all the time you like, learning more about this extraordinary woman and the many people, both men and women that she would help during her lifetime.

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  • Rochester Museum and Science CenterRochester Museum and Science Center Rochester, New York
    The Rochester Museum and Science Center (RMSC) in Rochester, New York houses many unique exhibits that pertain to science, as well as AdventureZone, How things Work, the recently enlarged Expedition Earth and many other traveling interactive exhibits and the permanent historical galleries; as well as operating the Strasenburgh Planetarium that is located in an adjacent building. The museum is responsible for the operation also of the Cumming Nature Center that is a 900 acre preserve near Naples, New York. The museum began as the Rochester Municipal Museum in 1912, but when the great depression hit, it would decline in attendance and revenue, until Dr. John Ralston Williams started an effort to keep the museum open, eventually becoming the chairman of the museum governing commission for the next 28 years. While he was the chairman, the Bausch and Lamb chairman, Edward Bausch, would bequeathed some land on East Avenue for the museum to use as it saw fit. The museum's first curator was Edward D. Putnam that served from 1913 until 1924 and then the New York state archaeologist, Arthur C. Parker would become the director, developing the museum's holdings and research in natural history, biology, history and industry of the Genesee region, anthropology and geology. Parker was a community minded leader, believing that the museum was a university for the common man, and some of his significant legacies included the WPA funded programs, the construction of Bausch Hall, a new museum structure and the Indian Arts and Crafts project. In 1945, W. Stephen Thomas, a trained museum specialist from Philadelphia's Academy of Natural Sciences would succeed Parker and his enthusiasm for learning sparked a new age, as he would encourage the staff and volunteers to interact with the visitors that came here, as well as outreach programs for the community. He would oversee the creation of magnificent state-of-the-art dioramas and a large growth in the collections.  The collections located here contain over 1.2 million objects, as well as a huge library. There are books, serials, media, detailed information about the libraries, collections and archaeological services, outstanding resources, and an archive that holds some 60, 000 documents. It is an excellent museum and science center that offers so much to its visitors that it almost behooves you to visit and learn about all the magnificent collections, artifacts, books and other historical and informative materials. 

  • Memorial Art Gallery
    Memorial Art Gallery Rochester, New YorkThe Memorial Art Gallery in Rochester, New York is a civic art center that began in 1913 and is now part of the University of Rochester, situated on the southern half of the former Prince Street campus. It has grown into the pinnacle of fine arts activity in the area, hosting such yearly events as the Clothesline Art Festival and the Rochester-Finger Lakes Exhibition. It is a memorial to James George Averell, the grandson of Hiram Sibley, an entrepreneur, industrialist and philanthropist, who died of cholera at the young age of 26. His mother, Emily S. Watson, the wife of James Sibley Watson, would spend quite a few years trying to discover some unique way to publicly commemorate him. During that period, the president of the University of Rochester, Rush Rhees, had been looking for benefactors to help him add more to the university's Prince Street campus in Rochester. Hiram had already given funds to construct the university's library some thirty years before, and had shown Sibley's art collection on the top floor for a while, but Rhees wanted a dedicated art gallery. The Rochester Art Club that had been the focal point of the region's art patrons as well as exhibiting and teaching art venues, would give the manpower to staff the gallery, so Rhees chose a board of managers, that included the art club's president, George L. Herdle, during November of 1912, and by the next October, he would be presiding over the opening. The initial exhibition would be of paintings from various dealers that wanted to sell them, with the gallery getting a 10% commission, so the richest families would immediately donate their purchases to the gallery so they could begin a nucleus for its permanent collection. The exhibits that were shown in the early years of the gallery's start, would be loans from the private collections of such wealthy patrons as George Eastman, the Watsons, Sibleys and other important families that lived in the city. The permanent collection houses about 11,000 which the majority of had been donated by affluent citizens, although there were some acquisitions that would be financed by the Marion Stratton Gould fund. These include; Milton Avery's Haircut by the Sea, Jean-Leon Gerome's Interior of a Mosque, William Congdon's Eiffel Tower #1, Egyptian and Eastern Mediterranean antiquities from the collection of Herbert Ocumpaugh, a 19th century businessman, Woman in Red by Maud Humphrey, whose son, Humphrey Bogart, would loan two of her sketches to a 1952 exhibit, Near East antiquities from the collection of Edwin Barber Morgan's son, Portrait of Colonel Nathaniel Rochester by John James Audubon, English and continental silver from the 17th century to the 19th century from the collection of Ernest Woodward, the Jell-O fortune heir, El Greco's The Apparition of the Virgin to St. Hyacinth and George Eastman's collection of some 60 old master, Dutch, English, French Barbizon School and American paintings.

January 11, 2011