Director’s Note: Welcoming a New Curator

George Eastman Museum
George Eastman Museum
3 min readAug 26, 2019


On August 16, Peter Bagrov, PhD, joined the George Eastman Museum as Curator in Charge of our Moving Image Department. I am excited by the future of this esteemed department under his leadership. A prolific scholar, Peter shares our institution’s commitment to excellence in film preservation, scholarship, and exhibition. For several years, he has collaborated with members of our Moving Image Department as a member of the advisory board for our Nitrate Picture Show.

Peter was previously senior curator of Gosfilmofond, the national film archive of Russia, and has nearly twenty years of experience as a film curator and scholar. His standing in the field was demonstrated by his election as vice president of the International Federation of Film Archives (FIAF).

Peter has also held several positions in academia, including at the Russian Institute of Art History, the National Research University Higher School of Economics in Moscow, the European University at St. Petersburg, and the St. Petersburg State University of Film and Television. He has held fellowships at the University of Chicago and at Trinity College at the University of Cambridge. Peter received a master’s degree in plasma physics from St. Petersburg State Polytechnical University in 2005, and a doctorate from the Scientific Research Institute of Film in Moscow in 2011.

Within days after Peter resigned from his position at Gosfilmofond in November 2017, Paolo Cherchi Usai recommended to me that we should seek to hire him as a curator‑scholar in our Moving Image Department, with the expectation that whenever Paolo retired after several years, Peter had great promise as Paolo’s prospective successor. In March 2018, we offered Peter the new position of Curator of Film, which he accepted pending receipt of the necessary visas for him, his wife, and their two sons. He and his family received all of the necessary visas for their entry into the United States and for his employment at the George Eastman Museum late last year.

In February, Paolo informed me that he had accepted a leadership position at the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia, Italy’s national film institute, so that he could spend more time with his wife and stepdaughter, who live in Milan. Paolo and I agreed that Peter was the best candidate to be his successor in leading our Moving Image Department. We and the department staff were most pleased when Peter accepted this position of much greater responsibility.

Peter spent a month working at the Eastman Museum prior to Paolo’s departure to assure a smooth transition. It was a great opportunity for us to spend time together and talk about future plans. More important, it was an opportunity for Peter and the members of the Moving Image Department to get to know one another before he took the helm.

Peter and his family moved to Rochester in August after his wife, philologist and film scholar Anna Kovalova, PhD, completed her current obligations at the National Research University Higher School of Economics, one of Russia’s leading universities. They are living a short walk from the Eastman Museum.

Paolo Cherchi Usai led our Moving Image Department for a total of almost twenty years, with vision and a stalwart commitment to excellence. As a curator and scholar, Peter Bagrov brings his own vision and rigorous approach, which we believe are harmonious with the traditions of the George Eastman Museum. Yet, his leadership will inevitably take our institution in new and exciting directions. I look forward to our partnership in building the future.

Bruce Barnes

Ron and Donna Fielding Director

September/October 2019 Bulletin