A Trip to the George Eastman Museum

This past weekend I spent a few hours at the George Eastman Museum in Rochester, NY. The museum gave me the opportunity for an eye-opening glimpse into George Eastman’s mind and what fueled him to bring his ideas into reality. I left there feeling inspired and want to share with you what I learned.

George Eastman was an American entrepreneur and philanthropist who founded the Eastman Kodak Company – I’m sure you’ve had a Kodak or two in your lifetime! Eastman was instrumental in bringing photography and motion picture film to the mainstream.  The museum was incredible. From Eastman.org:

Founded in 1947 as an independent nonprofit institution, it is the world’s oldest photography museum and one of the oldest film archives. The museum holds unparalleled collections—encompassing several million objects—in the fields of photographycinema, and photographic and cinematographic technology, and photographically illustrated books. The institution is also a longtime leader in film preservation and photographic conservation.


The museum is situated on the gorgeous grounds of George Eastman’s estate and also offers access to the exact mansion and gardens where Eastman lived for close to 30 years.

Eastman is often described as a visionary, and rightfully so! I was so inspired by how Mr. Eastman took his brilliant ideas of film and photography from a mere idea in his head to a mainstream invention that changed how we captured images, and that has only continued to accelerate to this day! As an entrepreneur and business owner, of course this resonated with me. In addition, we have also been learning about how to make ideas into reality within my coaching community, so this hit even closer to home.

As I walked around, I saw all the bulky, old, wooden cameras and glass plates early cameras used to capture photos, and I quickly realized just how far photography and technology have evolved. It is a nearly indescribable feeling to have this realization while also standing in the home of the pioneer who was brave enough to take action on his idea. I’m sure he was told “no”. I’m sure he was labeled as “crazy” by those who didn’t understand. But I’m also sure that he had an unwavering belief in himself, and as a result, he made an everlasting mark on the world of photography and film. 

We had a wonderful tour guide who always had a story or fact about Eastman at the ready. It was evident through these stories that George had a very hard “why”, or purpose, for seeing his inventions through- his mother.

Eastman watched his mother overwork herself to the bone; cleaning, maintaining and renting apartments to make ends meet after George’s father died. It was then that Eastman vowed to make sure that she didn’t have to work that hard for the rest of her life. Fueled by his desire to provide this lifestyle for his mother, combined with his passion for making photography more accessible to the world, was a formula for success for Eastman. The rest, as they say, is history!

Now I’m going to drop a bomb for you to think on:

Have you ever stopped to consider what ideas you have had and not acted on in your lifetime? 

Could’ve, would’ve, should’ve – sure. And I’m not saying dwell on what could have been. I’m saying that truly considering what impact you could’ve made for yourself, others, or the world, if you had just followed through, can be a real motivator to take action when the next idea rolls in.

I believe that all of us are filled with brilliant ideas, but unfortunately, we are not encouraged, nor are we taught how to act on them on any consistent basis. 

There is a reason you have these ideas, and I encourage you to treat them with care. Write them down. Explore them. Take action on some of them. 

Ideas + massive action = Ideas made real. 

What if George Eastman had not acted on his idea? What if Steve Jobs didn’t act on his? Thomas Edison was a friend of Eastman. Where would be without his inventions that inspired countless other inventions? 

Treat your ideas with respect. Schedule some time to write them down. If they truly light you up, take a step closer to making them a reality. It could be the one that changes everything!

If you would like the support in making your ideas a reality and work through anything holding you back, I invite you to schedule a consultation call with me. Let’s change the world one idea at a time. Schedule a consultation session, or learn more about joining me in the Life Lounge here.

With Love,

Melanie Shmois

Melanie Shmois, MSSA, LISW-S

Melanie Shmois, MSSA, LISW-S, is a licensed social worker, holding a Master’s Degree (MSSA) from Case Western Reserve University and a B.A. in Sociology with a minor in Spanish. After spending 2 decades helping others achieve their mental and personal goals, Melanie worked with Master Coach Instructor, Brooke Castillo, and became a certified Life and Weight Coach through the Life Coach School.


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