Kate Meyers Emery
George Eastman Museum
On a Tuesday at Starry Nites
Interview No. 73
What part of Rochester are you from?
I’m from Fairport—I grew up there and live there now. My husband and I own a 1910 historic home that we are slowly restoring. I left the Rochester area to do a M.Sc. and Ph.D. I didn’t really have concrete plans to come back; I was studying mortuary archaeology, and didn’t think there were jobs for mortuary archaeologists in Rochester. But every time we came back to visit, there were things I missed and coveted. I was always saying to my husband, “If we were in Rochester we could go to X or be a part of Y.”
When I was job searching, I interviewed for positions in York, UK and Denver, Colorado. I saw a job at the George Eastman Museum that included everything I loved about the jobs I used to pay for my Ph.D., and the rest is history! We moved back to Rochester in the summer of 2016.
What is your favorite part of living in Rochester?
There’s a collaborative community of people here, which was unexpected for me coming out of a competitive graduate environment. It’s been the best part of moving back! There are so many supportive and creative people in our community, and it’s vibrant both online and in real life.
Do you have any favorite/secret Rochester spots?
I never knew how cool the George Eastman Museum gardens were! The Terrace Garden is so peaceful and is personally one of my favorite spots. It’s just what you need; even when the museum is crazy, the garden is still quiet.
What’s the most unique or interesting event you’ve attended in Rochester?
The I Heart ROC & Visit Rochester Summer Block Party! I was so new to the community at that point, and it was great to meet all these people who love Rochester and love social media in real life. At this point, I started to realize that the community here is really collaborative and not competitive. I had the chance to meet Linh of Sir Rocha Says, Nicole of Hello Yoga Girl, Jessica from the Memorial Art Gallery, Chris Clemens of Exploring Upstate, and of course, you [Emily], from I Heart ROC!
Do you have a favorite charity/nonprofit you like to support?
Well, the George Eastman Museum, of course! It’s really important to support it. I have so many early memories of going there with my dad and grandparents—and tons of other people have similar memories and experiences too. It’s such a big part of the Rochester landscape, and it’s great to support our history and heritage.
I also like to support Lollypop Farm. Our cat, Feta, is from there, so we donate to them regularly.
Describe your dream Rochester day.
I’d start with brunch at either TRATA or Atlas Eats. Then we’d walk around all the shops—like Parkleigh and Craft Company No. 6. From there, we’d walk around the MAG, then visit a brewery or two. ROC City and Lost Borough are some of our favorites. We’d end the day with visiting a couple of wine bars, because I haven’t had a chance to visit as many as I’d like to in the city! So probably a visit to Apogee, and then a movie at The Little.
I have a few! Nosh is amazing. I also love the seafood specials at Lento. They have an amazing wine menu with tons of Finger Lakes wine.
Favorite FLX winery?
I’m a member at three and I love them all: Ravines Wine Cellars, Hermann J. Weimer Vineyard, and Billsboro Winery. They all have really good dry reds, dry whites, and sparkling wine. I don’t know if I could pick just one as my favorite!
What is your personal coping mechanism for cold/gray weather?
Trying new things and doing awesome stuff. It helps to be around people. I try to go out more—that helps to keep things interesting.
What makes Rochester unique?
I think things like I Heart ROC and Explore Rochester are great examples of what makes this area unique—diverse groups of people doing amazing, interesting, different things to improve and share the city. It made me want to actively be part of all the remarkable things people are doing in Rochester.
What do you think could be improved?
I think it’s weird that we don’t have more of a connection to the Finger Lakes. We do plenty to promote local beer, but we don’t do the same with Finger Lakes wine. You can just casually enjoy it—you don’t need prior knowledge or an extensive background to do so!
If Rochester were a food, what would it be?
It would be a garbage plate—it can range from a classic Nick Tahou’s to the fancier version at Genesee Brew House. Different people own Rochester in different ways; similarly, Rochesterians can customize plates to their own preferences too.
What’s it like working at the Eastman Museum, a place that’s such a big part of Rochester’s history?
It’s very exciting, but also a challenge. There’s a lot to live up to! I’m kind of the voice of the George Eastman Museum online. My role manages all digital content—so anything you see online has been shared, created, or programmed by me.
My office is in the conservatory—I walk right out the door and can see the elephant head. It’s amazing! There’s a rich history, and I get to be part of a community in a beautiful place.
Any exciting events coming up at GEM or the Dryden that our readers should know about?
We’ve had two new exhibits in the last month, and we have a new and exciting Instagram campaign going on for one that any I Heart ROC follower can get involved in! Share photos of Rochester between the hours of 12am and 10am, in black and white, with only a timestamp as the caption. Be sure to use #GEMrenaldi x #explorerochester. Photos will be featured on the George Eastman Museum Instagram, the Explore Rochester Instagram, and on the George Eastman Museum website for the Renaldi exhibit.
I know you’re a big fan of Finger Lakes wine...do you have any tips for people who are just starting to get into wine but don’t know where to begin?
Throw out your preconceptions about Finger Lakes wine—there’s something for everyone. Dry or sweet, still or sparkling, red or white. Go out, have fun, and taste—don’t worry! Explore more and drink more.