George Eastman House fills Conservatory with flowers Feb. 6–21, mirroring George Eastman's 1909 order

The Dutch Connection is a mid-winter treat for eyes and nose; also on view will be George Eastman artifacts from 1909

For Release 2009-01-15

ROCHESTER, N.Y. —George Eastman House presents virtual springtime, with the 15th annual exhibition The Dutch Connection: George Eastman's Conservatory in Winter Bloom, on view Friday, Feb. 6 through Saturday, Feb. 21. This colorful, interpretive exhibition will feature thousands of flowering bulbs, re-creating Eastman's 1909 display of flowers from Holland — ordered from the same Dutch company Eastman used.

The two-week display is a welcome treat for the eyes and nose in the midst of winter. The Conservatory display each week will feature more than 2,000 tulips, hyacinths, daffodils, amaryllis, and freesias, in vibrant shades of white, yellow, rosy pink, soft orange, salmon copper, scarlet, plum, lavender, and deep blue — the same colors Eastman featured 100 years ago. In addition, tropical orchids will be displayed throughout the restored rooms of Eastman's house, courtesy of the Genesee Region Orchid Society. Also on view will be artifacts from 1909, related to Eastman and Kodak.

During Eastman's residency at the house between 1905 and 1932, he ordered tens of thousands of bulbs from Holland every year (except 1918, when a wartime coal shortage forced him to close his greenhouses) to decorate his Conservatory. The orders were mostly for tulips, narcissus, and hyacinths for indoor forcing, plus tulips for the outside beds. These bulbs were forced in his on-site greenhouses.

Eastman's nostalgic annual bulb orders stemmed from a trip he made to Holland in 1890, when he was lured by the tulip fields while bicycling through the countryside. The present-day display is based on Eastman's original orders placed with Dutch bulb-importing company Baartman and Konin in Sassenheim, Holland. The same company, now known as B & K Flowerbulbs, supplies the flowers to Eastman House today. The cultivation process began last July with 6,000 bulbs, growing since October at the Monroe County root cellar and greenhouses.

Dutch Connection Lecture
6:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 12 and 1:15 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 15

Join Landscape Curator Amy Kinsey at this illustrated lecture where the audience will learn about the months of effort that go into coaxing 6,000 bulbs to life for the two-week exhibition and hear about the history of the show. The lecture will be held in the Curtis Theatre followed by a guided tour of The Dutch Connection exhibition. Included with museum admission.

Bulb Sale
Potted tulips, hyacinths, and daffodils will be sold during The Dutch Connection, with all proceeds benefiting the exhibition.

Group Tours
George Eastman House is offering private group tours of The Dutch Connection during regular museum hours, for groups of 20 or more. Please call our Visitor Services Department at (585) 271-3361 ext. 238.

George Eastman in 1909
Artifacts related to Eastman and Kodak, from 1909, will be on view in conjunction with The Dutch Connection, on the second floor of the house.

  • The actual orders Eastman placed in 1908 for his 1909 flower display
  • A No. 1A Speed Kodak camera, which Kodak debuted in 1909
  • One of a several mysterious letters sent to Eastman in 1909, anonymously demanding $60,000 and threatening his life
  • A letter of thanks from Booker T. Washington for Eastman's $10,000 gift to Tuskegee Institute (his total gift was $1.4 million)
  • A letter regarding Eastman's gift of $60,000 to the Rochester Homeopathic Hospital (later the Genesee Hospital)
  • A photograph related to Eastman's travels to Jamaica, featuring his car being loaded onto a ship
  • A newspaper article noting Eastman's involvement in a Stromberg-Carlson lawsuit, which only received media attention upon Eastman taking the stand

 

The Dutch Connection will be on display 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday; until 8 p.m. Thursday; and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday. Museum admission is $10 for adults; $8 for seniors (60+); $6 for students; $4 for children 5-12; and free for museum members and children 4 and under. For information visit www.eastmanhouse.org or call (585) 271-3361.

The Dutch Connection is made possible with support provided by Gerald P. Kral and Karen S. Kral.



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