George Eastman Museum Colorama Opens to the Public

George Eastman Museum Colorama Opens to the Public

Courtesy of the Rochester Business Journal

Rochester, NY—The George Eastman Museum installed a reproduction of a Colorama image adjacent to its new Thomas Tischer Visitor Center. The public opening of the Tischer Visitor Center as well as the George Eastman Museum Colorama was on October 10th.

George Eastman Museum Colorama

The structure to display the Colorama was built at the north end of the museum’s parking lot; it is near the new main entrance at the ESL Federal Credit Union Pavilion. The Colorama measures 48 feet wide by 14.4 feet tall. Moreover, it is an 80% scale reproduction of the original Colorama that was installed in Grand Central Terminal in New York City.

Furthermore, the Colorama was one of Eastman Kodak Company’s longest-running advertising campaigns. First conceived in 1949, these massive backlit transparencies demonstrated the brilliance of color photography and advertised Kodak color film products to a mass market.

Eastman Kodak Colorama, Grand Central Terminal

Between 1950 and 1990, a new Colorama was installed every few weeks. In total, there were 565 colossal transparencies. However, the Colorama advertising campaign ended in 1990. That was because Grand Central Terminal was preparing for renovations to restored the landmark’s original architectural integrity.

Kodak destroyed each giant transparency after display. However, in 2010 the Eastman Kodak Company donated the original photographic negatives, transparencies as well as guide prints used to create them to the George Eastman Museum. The museum has carefully preserved these objects.

George Eastman Museum Colorama

What’s more, the first installation is Colorama No. 531 (Taj Mahal, India). Steve Kelly (American, b. 1949) photographed it. Further, it was and installed in Grand Central Terminal from June 2 to July 9, 1986. It is a reproduction of the image from an original transparency.

Waldo B. (Pete) Potter, the visionary vice president of Eastman Kodak, realized the series of Colorama images for Grand Central Terminal from 1950 to 1964. In his memory, the Harcourt M. and Virginia W. Sylvester Foundation donated the permanent structure for the Colorama display and the installation of the first Colorama image.

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Opening in 1947, the George Eastman Museum is the world’s oldest photography museum. It is also one of the largest film archives in the United States. Moreover, the museum is 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. In addition, it houses the world’s preeminent collection of photographic and cinematographic technology. It is also home to one of the leading libraries of books related to photography and cinema. In addition, it has extensive holdings of documents and objects related to George Eastman.

As a research and teaching institution, the Eastman Museum has an active book publishing program. What’s more, its L. Jeffrey Selznick School of Film Preservation’s graduate program (in collaboration with the University of Rochester) makes critical contributions to film preservation.