Art in the Airport Program


Partnership between Monterey County Historical Society & the Monterey Peninsula Regional Airport

For over three-quarters of a century, the Monterey County Historical Society (MCHS) has collected, preserved and shared the history of Monterey County. As the oldest historical organization in continuous operation in Monterey County, the MCHS’s collections represent the rich history of the County, from Agriculture to Archeology.

The MCHS has had a long relationship with the Monterey Peninsula Regional Airport’s (MPRA) Art in the Airport program. By combining our assets (the MCHS has archives to provide content and physical objects to display and the MPRA has exhibition space and audiences) we have been able to showcase Monterey County’s rich history for close to 20 years. 



~Sponsored by a generous grant from the Community Foundation for Monterey County~


For over 200 years, Monterey County women from all walks of life have been integral in the building and growth of community.

“Whether labeled “hell on wheels,” “pillars of the community” or “agents of change,” the energy, wisdom and courage of the women featured in this exhibition were forces to be reckoned with during their lifetimes. Their accomplishments and contributions to the betterment of local communities underlie countless local ordinances, institutions and civic benefits that we take for granted today.” –Quoted from Against the Odds Exhibit Introduction Panel


History of “Against the Odds” Exhibit

Against the Odds is the only exhibit in the Airport that is permanent even though it was not initially designed to be so. However, when it came time to replace it the overwhelming response from the public was to make the exhibit permanent.

Against the Odds made its original debut at the Airport in 2008. The original exhibit focused on two centuries of women from the Monterey Peninsula who had made a difference through the arts, public service, philanthropy, science and education. However, as time passed, we realized the exhibit did not reflect the diversity of women who had made contributions to Monterey County. Latina women were under-represented and Asian and African-American women were not included at all. We also realized that there was only one Native American and one Californio woman represented. In addition, not all women who have made contributions have made headlines and we sought to also capture the story of cannery workers, homemakers and others who have helped build our county.

The commitment to be more inclusive and dedicated to representing all women as well as updating the physical exhibit itself brought about this renewal effort. The Community Foundation for Monterey County generously granted $9,850 to completely redevelop this exhibit personally curated by Meg Clovis, Susan Klusmire and Ilene Tuttle.

The exhibit opening reception was held on Friday, March 30 and was very well attended by friends, relatives and descendants of the women included in the exhibit. Memories were shared and friendships were rekindled. One of the guests who attended was the daughter of Mary Cruz Lerma de Chapa (please see exhibit panel #5 below) and she sent us an email that we believe truly memorializes the spirit of what this exhibit was striving to convey:

“My first thought is a heartfelt and gracious thank you for presenting a beautiful display of women last night.

Hi, I am one of Mary Chapa’s daughters and am proud to know that others will now know the beauty of her heart, and the importance of how such a heart helped hundreds of children throughout her years at the school, and in the community as a whole. I would have admired her dedication, kindness, willingness to helps others, and sense of honor she instilled in us Chapa kids to be good people and treat all with kindness. My Mom had a great sense of spirit, and spirituality.

I am not sure how long this (exhibit) will stay up, but hope to visit soon, and embrace this honor. Again, thank you! Chapa.”