Rochester, N.Y., September 14, 2020—The Louis S. and Molly B. Wolk Foundation has pledged $350,000 to support the George Eastman Museum’s transformative Thomas Tischer Visitor Center. The Wolk Foundation’s gift will be recognized with the dedication of the largest space in the visitor center as the Wolk Concourse. This broad thoroughfare—with educational and interpretative content that will introduce the museum and George Eastman—will lead visitors to the education and meeting hall, the museum café and store, George Eastman’s historic mansion and Terrace Garden, and the museum’s exhibition galleries.
“The Wolk Foundation’s community-oriented philanthropy has made important contributions to major capital projects to advance health care, social services, and cultural institutions in Rochester,” said Bruce Barnes, Ron and Donna Fielding Director, George Eastman Museum. “Our institution is grateful and honored that, during this challenging year, the foundation is providing critical support to our project to enhance the experience of all of our visitors.”
The goal of the visitor center is to make the experience of visitors commensurate with the quality and standing of the museum. A visible, convenient, welcoming, and accessible new entrance—the ESL Federal Credit Union Pavilion—is centrally located next to the Dryden Theatre and will resolve the remoteness of the current main entrance. The project will improve guest amenities and create a single hub for museum entry, the Dryden Theatre, a fully renovated education and meeting hall, a new and expanded café, and a new shop. The historic façade of George Eastman’s garage will be preserved inside the new glass-and-steel pavilion.
The trustees of the Louis S. and Molly B. Wolk Foundation stated, “The Eastman Museum, a world-class museum of photography and cinema located on George Eastman’s historic estate, is one of Rochester’s treasures. We are pleased to support the museum’s efforts to enhance its ability to serve our community.”
The Thomas Tischer Visitor Center, including the Wolk Concourse, is scheduled to open in early October 2020.
About the Louis S. and Molly B. Wolk Foundation
The Louis S. and Molly B. Wolk Foundation, established by Louis in 1984, focuses its generosity in the Rochester area, with an emphasis on health care, education, culture, and children’s needs, and distributes more than $1.5 million annually in Monroe County. Louis, from Rochester, and Molly, originally from Syracuse, were active members of the community. Louis S. Wolk, born in 1908, was the son of Russian immigrants who arrived in Rochester in the 1890s, and he grew up in humble beginnings. Through his hard work and an entrepreneurial spirit, Louis was successful in business, including automobile franchises, auto parts, and real estate. The foundation’s trustees—David M. Wolk, Marvin L. Wolk, Jeremy J. Wolk, Esq., Harold Samloff, Michael B. Berger, Esq., and Alvin L. Ureles, MD—are family and friends of Louis and Molly who continue to adhere to the couple’s desire to make a difference in the Rochester area.
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 on the historic Rochester 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 and three million archival objects related to cinema, 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 book publishing program, and its L. Jeffrey Selznick School of Film Preservation’s graduate program (in collaboration with the University of Rochester) makes critical contributions to film preservation. For more information, visit eastman.org.