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George Eastman Museum rejoins Rochester’s culture scene

The George Eastman Museum becomes the last of Rochester’s major museums joining the coronavirus pandemic Phase 4 reopening.

Sunday’s re-opening comes after a delay due to construction of a new visitors' center, part of a series of renovations at the photography museum at 900 East Ave. The reopening also coincides with three new exhibitions at the museum.

The Memorial Art Gallery, Rochester Museum & Science Center, The Strong National Museum of Play and the Susan B. Anthony Museum have already reopened.

As is the case with those museums, a set of restrictions have been placed on Eastman Museum visitors. Advance tickets are recommended, and may be purchased online at Visitors are asked to do a self-health check, including a temperature reading. The museum asks that visitors not exhibit over the previous 14 days any of the symptoms as recognized by the Centers for Disease Control, and have not traveled to a virus hotspot, or been in close contact with anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

Face coverings are required of anyone over the age of 2. To accommodate social distancing of 6 feet, the museum’s capacity has been reduced to 25%. Other precautions include the availability of hand sanitizers, and narrow pathways through the museum and Eastman’s house have been made one-way. All interactive displays with touch elements have been removed.

The café and museum store are still under construction, and are closed.

The three new exhibits include the challenging mixed imagery of “James Welling: Choreograph” and “Gathering Clouds: Photographs From the Nineteenth Century and Today,” exploring “the artistic possibilities of clouds,” as noted by the 19th-century British photographer Henry Peach Robinson. And photographs drawn from the Eastman’s own collection, commemorating the centennial of the 19th Amendment’s ratification, allowing American women the right to vote.

Jeff Spevak is WXXI’s Arts & Life editor and reporter. He can be reached at

Jeff Spevak has been a Rochester arts reporter for nearly three decades, with seven first-place finishes in the Associated Press New York State Features Writing Awards while working for the Democrat and Chronicle.