“You Press the Button - We Do the Rest.” / by Raymond Merritt

George Eastman Museum, Rochester, NY

Back before Instagram and Snapchat took over photography, you couldn’t help but think of Kodak when you reached for a camera. Whether you had a Brownie or an Instamatic, chances are you’ve used a Kodak camera, the first widely available consumer camera, to capture family moments or to document your travels. “You press the button - we do the rest.”

Maybe you even know about George Eastman, the founder of Kodak, inventor of the first transparent photographic “film” as we know it today. His legacy and collections of photographs and cameras lives on in his very own home in beautiful Rochester, NY.

This past year, the world-renowned George Eastman House changed its name to the George Eastman Museum. This small name change now reflects its educational magnitude. When you arrive, you can’t help but be charmed by its classic architecture and delightful landscaping. Don’t let its homestead appearance fool you, attached it also houses a traditional fine art museum and a research building specializing in photography.

 The meticulously renovated and replicated home portion of the Eastman Museum displays George Eastman’s domestic environment where you can view his personal library, collectibles, and Kodak ephemera. Once you’ve explored the home, you can visit the contemporary photography shows in the traditional museum portion.

The current exhibitions include Lorna Bieber: FabricationsTaryn Simon: Birds of the West Indies, and Collecting Shadows: The Legacy of James Card. The museum also has permanent exhibitions of A History of Photography and The Revolutionary Kodak, which display a rotation of photographs from various points in history and a timeline collection of Kodak cameras.

While planning a potential visit, make sure to check out the details of their current exhibitions at www.eastman.org/exhibitions. The advantage of a visit to the Eastman Museum is the simultaneous appreciation of classic and contemporary photographic art. Like an old friend back with fresh and exciting stories to tell, the Eastman Museum never disappoints.