Moving the Past for the Future

Frederick Douglass, the famed abolitionist and human rights advocate, called Rochester, New York home for twenty-five years. This year, Rochester celebrates the late leader’s 200th birthday.  As part of the city-wide effort to commemorate the notable event, students from the University of Rochester’s digital imaging class wanted to show their appreciation for the historic trailblazer in a modern way. The objective: capture images of the University’s Douglass sculpture to be rendered into 3-D replicas at various proportions.

032For the students to successfully capture multiple images at different angles, the statue needed to be relocated. The delicacy of the historical piece required a skilled staff with proper equipment. The University of Rochester contacted Boulter for assistance.

The first step for our crew was to carefully remove the glass cover using four heavy-duty vacuum suction cups.  After strategically placing them, the cups were then firmly pressed down, releasing air from underneath and creating a powerful hold so our team could then move the glass.

058.jpgNext, the marble bust needed to be relocated to an accessible area.  With the use of a stacker, a machine used to easily maneuver objects in confined spaces, the piece was moved to its temporary destination.


062With the sculpture in a proper position, students started the scanning process which takes several hours to reach completion. After the scans, our team moved the piece back into place. We did this by carefully repeating each step in reverse progression.

The images of the statue exemplify the pride Rochester has for Douglass’ life, work, and wisdom, and is now able to be appreciated by others through the 3-D replications. The original bust can be found back at its home in Rush Rhees Library’s Great Hall.