University of Rochester

Rochester Review
January–February 2011
Vol. 73, No. 3

pdf image
Story as a PDF


Review home

In Review

EASTMAN HOUSEDeveloping New TiesAn innovative partnership marks a new era in University and Eastman House history.By Valerie Alhart
partnershipPICTURING PARTNERSHIP: Sara Hutt, a University graduate student, studies at the Eastman House’s Selznick School, part of an academic partnership between the two institutions. (Photo: Brandon Vick)

The long history between the University and George Eastman added another chapter this winter, when leaders announced a collaborative alliance between the University and George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film, the world’s preeminent museum of imaging.

The collaboration—the most extensive museum and university alliance of its type—aims to bring further public engagement, research, and education in the arts and sciences, with a focus on the museum’s photography and motion picture collections.

The partnership “paves the way for exploration into new media, image preservation, film and media studies, science and technology, history and culture, the science of archiving, the study of digital technologies, and also the roles of librarians and archivists,” says Thomas DiPiero, senior associate dean of humanities.

partnershipHOUSEMATES: Bequeathed to the University by Eastman Kodak founder and benefactor George Eastman (above), Eastman’s mansion became a museum of photography and imaging history and technology in 1947. (Photo: George Eastman House Collections)

Peter Lennie, senior vice president and the Robert L. and Mary L. Sproull Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Sciences, and Engineering, says the arrangement will offer “unique opportunities for collaborative work between the humanities and the sciences, and it will mine the fabulous resources in the Eastman House collection. This allows both institutions to draw from their strengths and augment them, making a mark on several research domains.”

“A number of museums of the stature of George Eastman House have partnerships with universities, but research by the American Association of Museums turns up no programs of the breadth and depth of that being created in Rochester,” says Dewey Blanton, director of strategic communications for the American Association of Museums.

The two institutions already share strong bonds. The museum’s home, the George Eastman House, once served as the University president’s residence. They have engaged in 60 years of teaching partnerships; a master’s degree program in the English department with the Eastman House’s L. Jeffrey Selznick School of Film Preservation; photography research focused on daguerreotypes that evaluates and preserves collections with techniques developed by the Departments of Computer Science and Physics and Astronomy; fellowships and public programs; and sharing library collections.

The new arrangement will lead to research and education across disciplinary boundaries, spanning from art to medicine, and proposed activities to benefit students and the public, such as new courses in preservation and in the art and science of photography and motion pictures, research programs for students and faculty, conferences and summer institutes, and programs in Rochester and online.

“At George Eastman House, we are preserving our cultural and visual heritage, and now working in collaboration with the scientists and educators at the University, we will do that more aggressively and in new and innovative ways,” says Anthony Bannon, the Ron and Donna Fielding Director of George Eastman House.

For more photos and video, visit

Valerie Alhart writes about the humanities for University Communications.