George Eastman House

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eastman_house.jpgThe George Eastman House on East Avenue. George Eastman House stairs.jpgInterior view of the George Eastman House. Photo by [WWW]_yoshi_2234230592Mounted elephant in the George Eastman House. (by Flickr user RocPX [WWW]license info) 33973060Unlike zebras, the horse doesn't require incontrovertible visual evidence to overturn a call on the field. (by Flickr user magnusdigity [WWW]license info)

Location
900 East Ave, Rochester, NY 14607 [Directions]
Website
[WWW]http://www.EastmanHouse.org/

The George Eastman House is the former resplendant home of Eastman Kodak founder, George Eastman, from 1905 to his death in 1932. Upon his death, the house was donated to the University of Rochester and was the home of University dignitaries until the end of World War II. The house then became a Museum of Photography (originally George Eastman House Museum of Photography), housing a fantastic collection of not only photographic art, but also ephemera, movie memorabilia, and movie prints. Today (as the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film), it is one of the world's leading institutions in photographic preservation and conservation. In the late '80s the house and museum were expanded to include a vast underground climate controlled vault and exhibition space, while the house proper and most of the gardens were restored to the condition that it was in when Eastman lived there.

The house also includes the Dryden Theatre, Eastman's private movie theater. The Dryden exhibits rare treasures from the Eastman House vaults every night. These can be as varied as "Birth of a Nation," complete with live organ accompaniment, to "The Big Lebowski."

Some interesting features of the house include the conservatory, with a huge pipe organ that played Mr. Eastman down the stairs every morning, and the various taxidermied game animals hunted by Eastman. This conservatory is, I believe, the highlight of the house tour, simply for the grandeur, if not for the fact that Eastman decided one day that he didn't like the shape and size of the room. So, given that the conservatory is in the center of the house, he had his house cut in half and one half moved about 15 feet away. This project is captured in several pictures on the walls near the conservatory so you can see what the room looked like before, during and after.

Awards

The George Eastman House was voted "Best Building" in City Newspaper's "Best of Rochester" awards in 2010.1