The George Eastman Museum seeks funding for major restoration and redesign projects

Community forum planned for Monday, July 17 at 6 p.m.

Rochester, N.Y., July 13, 2017—The George Eastman Museum is hosting a community forum on Monday, July 17, at 6 p.m. to share information about its historic mansion restoration program and update community members about the next phase. In addition, the museum will share information about its plan to relocate and redesign the museum’s main public entrance to enhance accessibility for all visitors.

The George Eastman Museum is in need of support for two upcoming projects and will be submitting grant applications for review by the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council (FLREDC) in the coming weeks. The museum will seek grant funding from the New York State Council on the Arts/Empire State Development through the Cultural Facilities Improvement Program for the relocation and redesign of the museum’s main entrance. The museum will also submit an application to the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation to request support for completion of colonnade restoration efforts that began in 2014.

The primary entrance to the George Eastman Museum is currently located at north end of the museum, facing University Avenue, some distance from the museum’s parking lot. Relocating the main entrance will enhance the visitor experience and access to the museum by improving tour bus drop off and parking and creating additional accessible parking spaces. The project would also include expansion of the museum café, creation of a unisex/family restroom, and renovation of the Curtis Theatre. The total project cost is estimated to be near $2 million, and the museum is seeking a grant of $1 million from the New York State Council on the Arts/Empire State Development Arts through the Cultural Facilities Improvement Program. 

The current preservation initiative at the museum began three years ago, when Bero Architecture PLLC conducted a site condition survey of George Eastman’s historic residence. The survey was funded by a grant from the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation through Title 9 of the Environmental Protection Act of 1993 and the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council. The survey identified necessary and urgent restoration and repairs of various areas of the historic house and several garden structures, with an estimated total cost of $3.5 million.

In 2014, the George Eastman Museum received a grant of $500,000 from the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation to support restoration of the mansion’s East Porch and Colonnade. Matching funds to support these projects have been generously donated by Georgia Potter Gosnell, the Davenport-Hatch Foundation, the Rochester Area Community Foundation, and others. Restoration efforts will preserve the historic mansion and ensure that all areas remain safe and publicly accessible. 

The George Eastman Museum invites the public to attend a community forum to learn more about the status of the historic mansion restoration project and its next phase, as well as the relocation and redesign of the museum’s main entrance. The forum will be held on Monday, July 17, at 6 p.m. in the Curtis Theatre at the George Eastman Museum, 900 East Avenue, Rochester (use the Café & Store entrance on the west side of the building).