This guest post is written by Sammi Cohen, author and creator of The Soubrette Brunette, a vintage fashion blog. Sammi is a fan of Dutch Connection, and wrote a fantastic post about last year's display, so we invited her to share a little about her experience.
One of the George Eastman Museum’s time-honored traditions and most popular events begins again this weekend, and I couldn’t be happier. It serves as a much-needed reminder that it won’t be too long before our long Rochester winter is over and everything’s in bloom again. But until then, Dutch Connection gives us an excuse to escape the bitter cold, enjoy some vibrant blossoms, and learn a bit more about the prolific George Eastman.
Dutch Connection was an event I’d heard about for years but hadn’t had the pleasure of attending until last February. A tradition for over 100 years, Eastman was inspired to decorate his conservatory with traditional Dutch flowers after a visit to Holland in in 1890. Now, every year, the historic mansion is filled with beautiful potted tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths, as well as freesia, narcissus, amaryllis, and more. I really love the fact that today’s collections are directly based off of Eastman’s original orders he placed in the early 1900s.
Upon entering the event, I was absolutely astounded by all the sensational colors and sheer variety of flowers. While the weather outside was cold and gray, inside the museum, it was pure technicolor. I immediately felt so thankful and happy to be experiencing this little taste of spring.
Of course, the Eastman Museum has some of the loveliest outdoor gardens in the spring and summer, but Dutch Connection provides the chance to appreciate just how expansive the interior of the mansion is. I’d been to the museum once before for a promotional photo shoot, but I hadn’t had much of a chance to explore the estate. I loved seeing all of the bedrooms of the Eastman family (Maria Kilbourn Eastman’s walk-in closet was a particular highlight – all those amazing hat boxes!) and George Eastman’s library.
This year, I’ll be making my visit to Dutch Connection about a week into its duration, and I’m eager to see all of the new and returning varieties of flowers. In addition to the usual fare, the Palm House and Colonnade will have a display of tropical orchids, which will be a welcome addition. I’m told there’s also going to be a smaller exhibit with artifacts from Eastman’s life on the second floor of the mansion. I’m also planning to check out Richard Renaldi: Manhattan Sunday, a current photography exhibit that features images of New York City’s club scene, captured in the early morning hours following Saturday night carousal.
I can’t wait to capture some new photos of this year’s collection! For now, I’ve shared some of my snaps from last year’s visit, which I shared in a post on my own personal blog, The Soubrette Brunette. (If you like vintage-inspired fashion, come say hello!) The beautiful blossoms of Dutch Connection will be on display for only a limited time, from February 10-26, so don’t delay your visit! I’ll definitely be wearing something floral and fabulous just for the occasion.
All photos taken by Sammi Cohen