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Get Your Culture On...At The Airport?

You'd be surprised at the art, history, and museum elements you kind find at the airport!

 

We’ve all been there. Your flight is delayed, and suddenly you’ve got 4 hours to kill.  You just ate, and your office is in a time zone where 5:00 just passed.  There’s no pressing work to get done, and how many hours of Facebook can one person really stand? 

In an effort to make your passage through the airport more pleasant, many airports around the country have begun installing art exhibits, museums, and other diversions.  Including permanent and traveling exhibits, some feature artwork by renowned artists.  Some have open calls for local up-and-coming artists.  Some have museums featuring aviation or highlighting that particular city’s history.  One even has Scavenger Hunts! 

Here are a few airports where, if you have a little time, you should explore a bit.  It could be educational, informational, and fun! 

Tampa International Airport – Summer thunderstorms cause frequent flight delays in and out of Tampa.  You can pass the time perusing a series of original and fully restored murals from the 1930’s, located in Airside E.  Kids might like riding the escalators a few times in order to look up at the whimsical metal seabird sculptures hung from the ticketing level escalators between the 1st and 3rd floors. 

Denver International Airport – Denver’s airport is one of the largest in the country, and they have the honor of having the nation’s first fully integrated Public Art installment at an airport.  Their rotating exhibits vary.  Currently, they have a full-size Volkswagen Beetle that is covered in more than 2,000,000 beads.  The beading is done in the style of Mexico’s Huichol people, created by 8 artists from two Huichol families. 

Denver also has various Scavenger Hunts listed on their website – easily accessible by laptop or smart phone.  There are hunts of varying lengths in several of the terminals – this would be a great way to occupy fidgety kids!

Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport – Most everyone has to pass through Atlanta at some point, presenting a great opportunity to check out the Airport’s cultural attractions.  

Currently, there is a model train exhibit near the Concourse T entrance, and who doesn’t like model trains?  For art fans, an exhibit titled “Zimbabwe: A Tradition in Stone” features work from 12 of Zimbabwe’s top sculptors.  It is located in the pedestrian corridor of the Transportation Mall. 

San Francisco International Airport- Book buffs might enjoy the Airport Commission Aviation Library located in the International Terminal.  Also on exhibit (through December 2012) is a collection of headrests from around the world, located in the main hall of the Departures Lobby.  They’ll make you appreciate the modern-day pillow, even the ones on airplanes! 

Most every large airport has some sort of art or cultural exhibit.  So the next time you’re delayed or bumped or put on stand-by, put the phone away, stand up, and go explore!  You never know what inspiration, culture, or history might be hidden just past the next gate!

 * Information courtesy of the Airport websites; nileguide.com, and stuckattheairport.com.

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