Historic Downtown Postcards

The Rochester Museum of Fine Arts, in collaboration with Rochester Main Street, is pleased to announce that 4 vinyl murals depicting historic Rochester have been installed in Shaw Park on the municipal campus.

According to Matt Wyatt, RMS board member and co-founder of the Rochester Museum of Fine Arts, the murals were created using high-resolution scans of vintage postcards that were sourced from the Rochester Historical Society & Museum.

“It was nice to work with the Historic Society to create this series,” said Wyatt. “We scanned old postcards and worked with AMI Graphics to enlarge and install them. Now when people visit downtown, they can see a bit of our rich history and hopefully make a plan to visit the museum to see more.”

The murals are on view on the side of the Fire Department, facing City Hall. They show scenes of old downtown, the Hanson Street Band, Rochester Common, and Wallace Shoe Factory. Each piece is approximately 12ft wide.

“We tried to get a little variety,” said Wyatt. “The museum has countless postcards and other artifacts — so it was difficult to narrow it down to only 4 pieces. We hope that the selection will give people a better idea of our roots and encourage them to learn more.”

Approved by the Rochester Planning Board in the summer of 2022, the vinyl murals are made from high-quality, UV-protected material that is weather-resistant and long-lasting. Each mural is applied with 900°F heat to remove any air between the material and the surface area. Eventually, when the time comes to remove it, the same heat is applied, the material is peeled off, and there is no damage to the surface below.

“This is the perfect material and process because it doesn’t damage anything,” said Wyatt. “Traditional, painted murals are great but they can be costly, take a lot of time to complete, and require long-term maintenance plans. The vinyl applications are an affordable, safe alternative — especially on historic structures and surfaces.”

Mayor Paul Callaghan was on-site during the installation. Callaghan says he is supportive of any project that positively enhances the visual landscape of downtown.

“I love the tie between public art and our city’s history,” said Callaghan. “The art encourages people to visit downtown, walk around, and see what our business community has to offer. This project is a win-win for all. Thanks to the volunteers for making it happen.”

The vinyl murals are on display now in Shaw Park, between the Fire Department and City Hall, located at 31 Wakefield Street. The public is encouraged to see them in person.

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