Rochester, N.Y., October 1, 2019—The George Eastman Museum has received a Save America’s Treasures grant award of $498,815 from the National Park Service, in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). This grant funding will allow the Eastman Museum to complete the restoration of the Colonnade of George Eastman’s mansion, a National Historic Landmark.
“The Colonnade restoration is the most important and complex preservation project our institution has undertaken since the extensive restoration of the historic mansion in 1990, and we are thrilled to have received this critical grant funding through the Save America’s Treasures program,” said Bruce Barnes, Ron and Donna Fielding Director, George Eastman Museum. “The award will allow us to fully fund this vital restoration project, which we expect to be completed by December 2020.”
This year, the National Park Service, with IMLS, NEA, and NEH, have awarded $12.6 million in Save America’s Treasures grants to help fund 41 projects in 23 states. The funds will support the preservation of nationally significant historic properties and collections throughout the country, including the George Eastman Museum. The Save America’s Treasures grant program is funded by the Historic Preservation Fund as administered by the National Park Service, Department of Interior.
The historic Colonnade is the passageway—lined with windows onto the Schuyler C. Townson Terrace Garden—between the Palm House and the dining room in George Eastman’s mansion. As the only interior route between the historic mansion and the museum’s other structures, the Colonnade is an essential part of the museum visitor’s experience.
The overall restoration project for the Colonnade includes replacement of the deteriorating floor structure; removal, restoration, and replacement of the roof and restoration of its supporting structure; restoration of the arched ceiling; replacement of non-original wooden pillars with Indiana limestone pillars that match the surviving original pillars; installation of new gutters and downspouts; replacement of windows and doors; installation of a new heating and cooling system; and construction of a new ramp for improved accessibility.
One of the most important aspects of the Colonnade restoration project is the repair of its current windows—most of which date from 1905. For most of each year, the temperature inside the Colonnade is inhospitable. The single-pane windows provide poor insulation. There are gaps between the wooden sashes of the window panels so that the east façade is not airtight or watertight. The heaters are inadequate in the winter and there is no air conditioning in the summer. The new window system will comprise of fifteen panels of clear glass, which will seek to re-create the visual experience of George Eastman and his guests during most of each year, when the Colonnade was fully open to the Terrace Garden. The new insulated glass will significantly reduce energy costs and improve sustainability. The addition of a storm sash on the exterior of the window system from late fall to early spring will recreate the historic visual experience during inclement months, when George Eastman had storm windows installed along the east side of the Colonnade.
In addition to the grant funding from the Save America’s Treasures program, the Colonnade restoration project is being supported by benevolent contributions from Bruce Bates and Georgia Gosnell, a grant from the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation through Title 9 of the Environmental Protection Act of 1993 under Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Council Initiative, and a Vitality Grant in Historic Preservation from the Rochester Area Community Foundation.
About Save America’s Treasures
The Federal Save America’s Treasures program was established in 1998, and is carried out in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Humanities, with the objective of preserving nationally significant historic properties and museum collections for future generations of Americans to experience, learn from, and enjoy. From 1999 to 2017, more than 1,300 projects received $328 million to provide preservation and conservation work on nationally significant collections, artifacts, structures, and sites. Requiring a dollar-for-dollar private match, these grants leveraged more than $377 million in private investment and contributed more than 16,000 jobs to local and state economies.
About the National Park Service
More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 417 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Visit us at www.nps.gov, on Facebook www.facebook.com/nationalparkservice, Twitter www.twitter.com/natlparkservice, and YouTube www.youtube.com/nationalparkservice.
About the George Eastman Museum
Founded in 1947, the George Eastman Museum is the world’s oldest photography museum and one of the largest film archives in the United States, located in Rochester on the National Historic Landmark estate of entrepreneur and philanthropist George Eastman, the pioneer of popular photography. Its holdings comprise more than 400,000 photographs, 28,000 motion picture films, the world’s preeminent collection of photographic and cinematographic technology, one of the leading libraries of books related to photography and cinema, and extensive holdings of documents and other objects related to George Eastman. As a research and teaching institution, the Eastman Museum has an active publishing program and, through its two joint master’s degree programs with the University of Rochester, makes enduring contributions to the fields of film preservation and of photographic preservation and collection management. For more information, visit eastman.org..