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Art & Culture Exhibits

Legacy Mural Play Zones

Frederick Douglass Legacy Mural

In December 2021, local community leaders and advocates cut the ribbon on a mural depicting the life of abolitionist and scholar Frederick Douglass, for whom the ROC Airport was renamed in February 2021. The mural was presented to the Airport by local philanthropist Michelle Daniels, who worked closely with Douglass ancestors and local historians to conceptualize the piece. The mural is located in the public side of the Airport, inside the Airfield Observatory, for all passengers and visitors to enjoy.

Photo of Mural

There are three main focal points that depict the Douglass family in the year 1854, and 12 illustrations that prompt you to follow the Douglass family in Rochester from 1847 (left side) – 1872 (right side). There are two additional scenes that honor the Frederick Douglass Legacy Scholars and the Sprague family. Each story uncovers a layer of this complex patriotic family.

The mural introduces you to some friends of the family that are rarely discussed in local/national history such as Jermaine Wesley Loguen, John Brown, and Gerrit Smith. The viewer will also note some more familiar faces – Susan B. Anthony, Harriet Tubman, and President Abraham Lincoln.

Interpretative tours are given by appointment only. If you are interested in receiving a personal tour, please contact MCAirport@monroecounty.gov and write Douglass Tour in the subject line.

Play Zones with The Strong

The ROC Airport has partnered with The Strong National Museum of Play to bring passengers two interactive play zones to enjoy while they wait for their flight to depart. 

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Taylor Chummy and Control Tower

A replica of the first aircraft that the Taylor Brother’s, well known aircraft manufacturer, ever built. Built originally in 1926, the replica on display in the airport terminal was built in 1998 by the Rochester Chapter of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA).

Photo of Taylor Chummy

The control tower is typical of the first generation of Air Traffic Control Towers. It was commissioned in 1937 and served as the Air Traffic Control Facility for the Frederick Douglass Greater Rochester International Airport until 1948. It is dedicated to those early Air Traffic Controllers who pioneered air traffic safety and were the builders of the National Airspace system.

The Taylor Chummy and Control Tower are on display at the upper east end of the terminal ticketing lobby.

Ohm Special

Acquired from the Glenn Curtiss Museum in Hammondsport, New York, the Ohm Special, a homemade racing plane built in 1949 by Rochester native Dick Ohm is on display in the airport terminal. The local chapter of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) restored the plane.

Photo of Ohm Special

The plane is on display above the Flight Deck Diner located past security near Concourse A.

Curtiss Pusher 1911

Originally designed and built by Glenn Curtiss of Hammondsport, NY in 1911, the "Pusher" had a wingspan of 23 feet, 3 inches and was more than 25 feet long.  It had a 8-cylinder, 40-hp engine, weighing in at 700 lbs.  Unlike most propeller - driven aircraft, it was designed to be pushed by its propeller rather than pulled, hence the Curtiss "Pusher" name.  The 1911 Curtiss Pusher was the very first aircraft to be flown on and off a shipof the US Navy and was also the first aircraft to be flown by a woman, Blanche Stuart Scott of Rochester, who is depicted in this display.

Photo of Curtis Pusher

The plane is on display in the Public Airfield Observatory located at the upper west end of the terminal ticketing lobby.

Presidential Papers Exhibit

The Frederick Wiedman Jr. Collection of Presidential Papers

This exhibit made possible through a partnership of the Frederick Douglass Greater Rochester International Airport, Rochester Institute of Technology, and Frederick Wiedman Jr. is on display near the airport observatory. Frederick Wiedman Jr., who assembled this extraordinary collection, was a long-time Rochester attorney and supporter of Rochester Institute of Technology.

Photo of Presidential Papers

Spanning more than 200 years, the Frederick Wiedman Jr. Collection of Presidential Papers reflects the public lives of our former presidents through official moments in our country’s military, domestic and foreign policy history.

Ranging from a 1783 military discharge signed by George Washington to a personal letter from George Bush, the collection includes signed letters, documents and photographs from every U.S. President. Many of the documents are in the president’s own handwriting, and the collection includes letters from Abraham Lincoln, F.D.R. and John F. Kennedy and a personal letter commenting on the collection from Gerald R. Ford Jr. to Frederick Wiedman.

A collection of this variety and scope serves to remind us that while our country’s history is rich, it is also relatively short. In over 200 years, there have been just 43 presidents.

(This excerpt was take from the brochure that accompanies the exhibit in the terminal.)

Rochester Public Art

The Monroe County Public Art Committee sponsored two competitions, in 1990 and 1991, to select seven works of art by Monroe County artists for the new Frederick Douglass Greater Rochester International Airport. The artists had been instructed to design works that consider a “sense of place,” a reference to western New York’s local history, industry, culture, and natural resources. Located on two airport levels and in the garage tower, the airport art welcomes people to the gateway of the community. Highlighting the creative energy of regional artists.

Completed in 1995, the projects from the second competition were funded by generous donations from private individuals and businesses. A plaque listing all donors is situated on the second floor of the terminal near the western escalator.

Thanks are due to the Monroe County Public Art Committee members for sharing their expertise throughout the two competitions, to the donors who made the project possible and to the airport administration, whose cooperation throughout the project made the installation of the projects successful.

Brass Tree PhotoThe Brass Tree

This one of a kind masterpiece is the creation of a local artist, restaurateur and inventor J. Pat Bucey.

Possessing a deep appreciation for nature, Pat was inspired by a maple tree that grew outside his bedroom window. The artist toiled three and one half years to finish this beautiful tree.

Five thousand brass leaves adorn the total brass trunk and twigged maple simile. The tree measures nine feet in height and seven feet in diameter and weighs almost 500 pounds. Each leaf and twig represents the hand craftsmanship and perseverance of this talented artist. With an appraised value of up to $100,000, it exemplifies the proud verse “Made in America.”

The tree was purchased in 1993 by Jasco Tools, Inc. to donate this work of art to the Frederick Douglass Greater Rochester Airport with the wish that our visitors and the citizens of Monroe County can share in its wonderful splendor.

Location: Upper West Main Terminal near the Frontier Business Terminal.

The Monument

By Peter McGrain

A combination of traditional methods and space-age materials that spans nearly 100 feet. Monument deems to embrace the space it occupies, entrancing the viewer with its vivid linear suggestions of sequence and ascent. The use of “dichroic” glass, which shifts hues when viewed at different angles, adds a kinetic quality to the work.

Photo of Monument

"Everything I have learned regarding the functional, aesthetic, structural, and political challenges one must consider when creating successful public artwork has come together in this project. It is my hope that Monument will stand as a shining, lasting example of the important role that appropriately conceived public art can play in enhancing the spirit and creative outlook within the community."

Photo of Bus TransferBus Transfer By the Dixie Wig

By Ruth Manning

People instantly react to the warmth that tapestry gives the interior of a public building. Bus Transfer by the Dixie Wig was woven entirely by hand on a large, freestanding frame loom using the labor-intensive Gobelin tapestry technique. Hand-dyed yarns enable me to achieve the intense, wide-ranging color. Reflecting my interest in city imagery, this piece focuses on downtown. I chose this particular part of Main Street because it has remained unchanged and retained the character of the City of Rochester.

Airborne Stabile

By Susan Ferrari Rowley

Photo of Airborne Stabile

"Characterized by a linear quality that defines and implies the organization of space, my sculptures are clean and minimal, creating complex emotional tension through the placement and absence of elements. Airborne Stabile exhibits these same characteristics-its shape, scale, coloration, transparency, and placement make it visually accessible to pedestrians as they transcend the structure. It becomes one with the space, working with the sky beyond the atrium windows. The content is carefree, invoking the impression of flight."

Photo of The CouncilThe Council

By Bill Stewart

Located in the Concourse B Rotunda

Terra Cotta, Glaze, Concrete, Granite & Water (1991)

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