ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The George Eastman Museum is offering a taste of spring; the museum started 27th annual “Dutch Connection” display; a huge celebration of floral wonder. The exhibit started Friday, and will run through February 28th.
Tickets are available online for nonmembers, and members can show their ID on entrance.
Landscape manager Dan Bellavia started this process of ordering, growing, nurturing, and timing out the blooms of these flowers back in June of 2020.
The pandemic brought along many challenges, whether it was learning to work with a small corps of volunteers, crafting a new display setup to better accommodate social distancing, or turning some of their previous activities virtual:
Below is a link to Bellavia’s audio tour. He is also offering a special webinar February 17th at 1pm, which can be found here.
They are also offering free bulb planting kits for kids, as well as a free instructional video.
Bellavia is also selling many flowers in the lobby of the Dryden Theatre right next door. Curbside pick up during select times is also available. Bellavia this helps plant the seeds for more garden lovers.
The display is inspired by a trip George Eastman’s bicycle trip to the Netherlands in 1895, and the commemorative display started in 1995 to celebrate the centennial of the tour. When he moved into what is now known as the George Eastman Museum, he would order tens of thousands of tulips — though all of the same color — for the house and the grounds.
Now, Bellavia has dozens of kinds of blooms in rotation, from the iconic tulips, to African violets, to lillies.
Thankfully, while the sights of the flowers lining the halls of George Eastman’s old house — more and more as Bellavia brings in more flowers — are amazing, patrons of the museum can only enjoy the scents, even through a mask.
“As you enter the colonnade coming up towards the conservatory, you cannot miss the smell, the paper whites are in full bloom,” he said. “The mask won’t stop that, so you can a least enjoy it.
We do ask that you don’t take your mask down to smell, but you’ll still be able to enjoy the smells of it, and the sights of it; the color is going to start bursting,” he said.
Bellavia’s passion for the display is just as radiant as the blooms; he can been seen tending to every detail, placing new flowers, and answering questions from passerby’s.
The exhibit starts in the Palm Room, and opens up into the main foyer in the mansion.