Rochester, NY—The George Eastman Museum recently opened a new rotation in its History of Photography Gallery. The exhibit commemorates the centennial of the 19th Amendment ratification.
The amendment was intended to prohibit states and the federal government from denying citizens the right to vote on the basis of sex. While this is celebrated as granting American women the right to vote, many women continued to be prevented from exercising that right.
The installation, which opened July 26 when the museum reopened to the public, will remain on view through January 3, 2021. For those who cannot visit the museum in person, the gallery is also available to view virtually with a 3D tour at eastman.org.
19th Amendment Ratification Commemoration
The installation examines how photography has portrayed, and fundamentally shaped, perceptions of women and feminist movements since the mid-1800s. Moreover, the selection of works on view includes portraits of suffragist Susan B. Anthony and abolitionist Sojourner Truth. It also comprises documents related to Civil Rights Era feminists Angela Davis and Gloria Steinem. In addition, it comprises artwork by Julia Margaret Cameron and Carrie Mae Weems.
Since its invention, photography has played an instrumental role in picturing women around the world as they fight for basic human rights. A broad array of objects—from tintypes and card-mounted photographs to ID badges and images by celebrated photojournalists Margaret Bourke-White—showcases the diversity of the George Eastman Museum’s photography collection.
In addition, this rotation in the History of Photography Gallery was curated by Lisa Hostetler, curator in charge, Department of Photography; and Jamie M. Allen, Stephen B. and Janice G. Ashley Associate Curator. It was curated by master’s students in the Photographic Preservation and Collections Management program; they are Rebecca Gourevitch, Forrest Soper, Maya Swann Vitale and Xiaochun Wang.
History of Photography Gallery
The George Eastman Museum photography collection is among the best and most comprehensive in the world. In fact, its holdings include objects ranging in date from the announcement of the medium’s invention in 1839 to the present. Subsequently, the collection represents the full history of photography.
Works by renowned masters of the medium exist side-by-side with vernacular and scientific photographs. The collection also includes all applications of the medium. They range from artistic pursuit to commercial enterprise and from amateur pastime to documentary record. It also encompasses all types of photographic processes, from daguerreotypes to digital prints.
What’s more, the museum’s History of Photography Gallery rotates installations that demonstrate photography’s historical trajectory through photographs and cameras drawn from the collection.
The selection of photographs changes twice a year; each rotation offers new opportunities to engage with the museum’s treasures. The History of Photography Gallery is sponsored in part by ESL Federal Credit Union.