Perhaps to some, it’s an unlikely choice, but let us be the first to tell you – Rochester, NY is an ideal place to visit for explorers interested in art and history. Not only was it central to the suffrage movement in the U.S., it is also home to the largest art collection in New York State outside of New York City and its KeyBank Rochester Fringe Festival has grown to be the third-largest Fringe Festival in the U.S.
So what are the not-to-be-missed sights and experiences for those who want to make an itinerary out of all things art and history? Here are our top picks:
Susan B. Anthony House
Her name has been mentioned a lot recently given the current political climate, and it’s no wonder – Susan B. Anthony is a pioneer in America's women’s rights movement. Travellers can learn about her story and her impact with a visit to The Susan B. Anthony House, which is one of two National Historic Landmarks in the city. It was here that she was arrested (in the front parlour) after attempting to vote in the 1872 Presidential Election, and also here where she had tea with abolitionist and social reformer Frederick, and worked on the suffrage movement with other outstanding women. Enjoy a guided tour for detailed accounts of what the walls have seen. Follow-up your visit with a visit to Historic Mount Hope Cemetery and find the graves of Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass, who rest alongside many other notable Rochesterians.
George Eastman Museum
Another National Historic Landmark in Rochester, the George Eastman Museum is the world’s oldest museum dedicated to photography, and is home to one of the world’s oldest film archives. The destination allows travellers to visit the home of George Eastman himself (founder of Kodak), before strolling the gardens and various exhibits onsite. Be sure to enjoy the mainstay, “From the Camera Obscura to the Revolutionary Kodak,” a three-part exhibition that “explores early photographic processes through cameras and related equipment from the museum’s collections.” Upcoming, visitors will find “A History of Photography” (Oct. 20, 2018 – April 21, 2019), while, until January 2019, “Gail Albert Halaban: Out My Window” and “David Levinthal: War, Myth, Desire” are among the exhibitions currently on display.
Memorial Art Gallery
More than 5,000 years of art history are there to be explored at Rochester’s Memorial Art Gallery, from the relics of antiquity to works in the vanguard of contemporary movements. There are more than 12,000 objects on display as part of the Gallery’s permanent collection, known to be “the best balanced in the state outside of metropolitan New York City.” Visitors can enjoy temporary exhibitions, lectures, concerts, tours and family activities. If you can make it before Jan. 6, 2019, plan to visit the “Monet’s Waterloo Bridge: Vision and Process” exhibition, or the “Her Voice Carries” exhibition by Sarah C. Rutherford, featuring Rochester women who are changing their individual and collective worlds (on to December 2018).
Geva Theatre Center
Theatre buff? Check out the upcoming line-up of shows at the Geva Theatre Center, Rochester’s regional professional theatre. The most attended professional regional theatre in the Northeast United States outside Manhattan, the Geva is regarded as a leader among American professional theatres. Click here to see a list of shows scheduled through to June 2019.
Genesee Country Village & Museum
Spend hours, a day or even a night at Genessee Country Village & Museum, where “history comes alive.” Explore the 19th-century historic village, complete with costumed interpreters who demonstrate life of days past with a working brewery, blacksmith, pottery, tin shop, and farm. This is also home to the Wehle Art Gallery, a nature centre, and Silver Baseball Park. But be warned: this destination is only open seasonally, though special events are hosted all year long.