Renowned for its comprehensive collection of photographs, the Eastman Museum plays a prominent role in the preservation and exhibition of work from over 8,000 photographers. Located on the estate of collector George Eastman—the founder of Kodak and a “pioneer of popular photography and motion picture film”—in Rochester, New York, the innovative institution was founded in 1947 to promote conservation and engage, educate, and entertain its audiences. Recently, the monumental museum has opted to modernize its classic collection by digitizing—or photographically reproducing—over 250,000 of its iconic pieces.
Spanning the decorative arts, film, photography, technology, and advertising, the museum’s collection is composed of an eclectic range of one-of-a-kind objects—many of which are now available at the click of a mouse. From antique cameras and lenses to moving images and photographs, each digitally documented piece chronicles the collection’s long and important history. Easily accessible and beautifully captured, the database is a perfect platform for conducting research, casually browsing, or even virtually “visiting” the museum.
While this recent project is a crucial step for the historic institution, it is only the beginning. Aiming to digitize its entire collection—consisting of 400,000 photographs and negatives, 28,000 motion picture films, 3 million cinematic objects, and 16,000 technology-related pieces—the museum will be adding new pieces every week until its digital archive is complete. Stay tuned!