Albany Institute of History & Art

Albany Institute of History & Art New York's oldest museum is located in downtown Albany and showcases exhibitions that range from colonial history to contemporary art. Come make art, hear a lecture, take a tour, research history, shop for gifts, enjoy cafe treats, and more.
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Founded in 1791, the Albany Institute is one of the oldest museums in the United States. We are dedicated to collecting, preserving, interpreting and promoting interest in the history, art and culture of Albany and the Upper Hudson Valley.

Tonight we celebrate our winter exhibitions with a special reception. Here’s a peek at these new shows! Recycled & Refas...
02/11/2020

Tonight we celebrate our winter exhibitions with a special reception. Here’s a peek at these new shows! Recycled & Refashioned: The Art of Ruby Silvious and Telling Her Story: Recent Acquisitions presented by Bank of America are up through June 7, 2020. #recycledandrefashioned #tellingherstory #albanyny #artfulalbany #downtownalbany @ Albany Institute of History & Art

#colorourcollections adult coloring night! It's great to see all of the creative new versions of our collections images.
02/06/2020

#colorourcollections adult coloring night! It's great to see all of the creative new versions of our collections images.

Tonight! #ColorOurCollections adult coloring night is from 5:30-7:30PM. Enjoy a relaxing night as you add your own color...
02/06/2020

Tonight! #ColorOurCollections adult coloring night is from 5:30-7:30PM. Enjoy a relaxing night as you add your own color to images from the Albany Institute's collections! Each participant will receive six images from the museum's collection printed on cardstock and will have the opportunity to use diverse coloring media such as water soluble pencils and crayons, colored pencils, and colored pens to embellish the images. $5 members, $10 non-members. (Optional wine ticket add-on available for 21+). RSVP online.

"My discovery of tea bags as a canvas was serendipitous. I was drinking tea with my sister, who is also an artist, and s...
02/05/2020

"My discovery of tea bags as a canvas was serendipitous. I was drinking tea with my sister, who is also an artist, and suddenly the idea of cleaning out used tea bags and painting on them was born. The concept sounded preposterous at first, but we were both delighted by the aged effect that sepia stains left on the used tea bags. I immediately knew I would later use them in my designs." -Ruby Silvious | A painting from her Museum Goers series, 2019, watercolor, gouache, ink on used tea bags | Now on view in Recycled & Refashioned: The Art of Ruby Silvious (through June 7, 2020)

Albany Institute of History & Art's cover photo
02/04/2020

Albany Institute of History & Art's cover photo

Albany Institute of History & Art's cover photo
02/04/2020

Albany Institute of History & Art's cover photo

You won't want to miss this exhibition! Recycled & Refashioned: The Art of Ruby Silvious is open now through June 7, 202...
02/04/2020
On Exhibit Albany Institute: 'Recycled and Refashioned'

You won't want to miss this exhibition! Recycled & Refashioned: The Art of Ruby Silvious is open now through June 7, 2020.

Works by internationally known artist Ruby Silvious at Albany Institute of History & Art

Busy day at the museum today! We're decorating sneaker key chains in the Art Studio (included with admission) until 4:30...
02/01/2020

Busy day at the museum today! We're decorating sneaker key chains in the Art Studio (included with admission) until 4:30PM, our Junior Interpre-TOURS are happening until 12PM, and we have our Teaching Black History through Theater program at 2PM (doors open at 1:30PM and be sure to get your wristband at the Admission Desk to secure your seat!). PLUS, if you are a Bank of America or Merrill Lynch cardholder, you can get free admission into the galleries as part of their Museums on Us program!

Cyanotypes on egg shells | On view now in Recycled & Refashioned: The Art of Ruby Silvious (through June 7, 2020)
01/30/2020

Cyanotypes on egg shells | On view now in Recycled & Refashioned: The Art of Ruby Silvious (through June 7, 2020)

#MuseumMonday We're a bit late to the game (distracted by opening our newest exhibition) but it's never too late for a l...
01/27/2020

#MuseumMonday We're a bit late to the game (distracted by opening our newest exhibition) but it's never too late for a laugh... #DollyPartonMemeChallenge

01/25/2020
AHA! A House for Arts: Ruby Silvious' Teabag Paintings

Our new exhibition Recycled & Refashioned: The Art of Ruby Silvious opens TODAY and runs through June 7, 2020. Check out this video from WMHT's AHA! A House for Arts that was produced last year and learn more about Ruby's work:

"I want the viewer to consider the art of the possible." Ruby Silvious is fond of repurposing materials in her art. She paints on eggshells, folds paper, and even colors pistachio shells. A few years ago, when Ruby was making tea with her sister, the idea to paint on used teabags popped into her head. She had no idea that this "innocent experiment" would change her life and garner her international acclaim.

Behind-the-scenes: It's installation week for our next exhibition Recycled & Refashioned: The Art of Ruby Silvious, whic...
01/23/2020

Behind-the-scenes: It's installation week for our next exhibition Recycled & Refashioned: The Art of Ruby Silvious, which opens this Saturday, January 25, 2020.

Join us on Saturday, February 1 at 2PM for this special program. The event is included with museum admission and doors w...
01/22/2020
Grondahl: Teaching black history through drama

Join us on Saturday, February 1 at 2PM for this special program. The event is included with museum admission and doors will open at 1:30PM. Light refreshments will be available. Be sure to get your wristband from the admission desk the day of the event to secure your seat!

ALBANY - There is a moment when she delivers the “Ain’t I A Woman?” speech that...

Have you checked out our display of miniature dioramas from artist and author Joan Steiner yet? They are on view through...
01/18/2020

Have you checked out our display of miniature dioramas from artist and author Joan Steiner yet? They are on view through February 23, 2020. They are fun for all ages!

What are some ways we describe our environment? This Sunday, January 19 at 2pm, we are hosting a special lecture “What i...
01/17/2020

What are some ways we describe our environment? This Sunday, January 19 at 2pm, we are hosting a special lecture “What is a Waterway Anyway?” By looking at a handful of historic “waterways” in New York, Daniel Rinn, PhD candidate at the University of Rochester, will examine the division between what is “natural” and “unnatural”.

Rinn will suggest that a waterway is more than a means of transporting goods or people. Waterways can transport ideas and culture as well. The lecture proceeds to place waterways on a continuum – starting with “built” waterways and move to more “natural” examples.

The talk is framed around five moments or episodes in New York’s history: the construction of the Erie Canal, the Allegheny River and the Kinzua Dam, the Love Canal crisis, de facto segregation of city pools, as well as the proposed dam at Storm King Mountain along the Hudson River.

This lecture is open to the public and included with museum admission. Learn more about the related Water/Ways exhibition that is touring New York State by visiting the Museum Association of New York’s website, www.nysmuseums.org.

[Erie Canal Lock, Albany, N.Y., 1893, gelatin silver photographic print on card, Albany Institute of History & Art Library, Ser 5, n145, DI 449]

The New York tour of the Water/Ways exhibition is made possible by the Museum Association of New York. The exhibition and programming was made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, Hadley Exhibits, Inc., the New York State Canal Corporation, the William G. Pomeroy Foundation, the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor and the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Corridor. Water/Ways is part of Museum on Main Street, a collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution and state humanities councils nationwide. Support for Museum on Main Street has been provided by the United States Congress.

Here's a fun food history fact (and object from our collection) as we get closer to The Albany Wine and Dine for the Art...
01/15/2020

Here's a fun food history fact (and object from our collection) as we get closer to The Albany Wine and Dine for the Arts Festival this weekend: The ancient Egyptians measured their wealth in grain. The estates of royalty and high officials had large granaries, which were filled with wheat and barley that the Egyptians used as currency as well as food. This relief carving probably comes from the temple of Mentuhotep II at Deir el Bahri. It depicts a man carrying a sack of grain up steps to the open top of a grain silo. [Relief of a Granary, Egyptian, Middle Kingdom, Dynasty 11, ca., 2055-1985 BC, limestone, gift of Heinrich Medicus, 2013.1.22]

As we continue the countdown to this weekend’s The Albany Wine and Dine for the Arts Festival, here is another food rela...
01/14/2020

As we continue the countdown to this weekend’s The Albany Wine and Dine for the Arts Festival, here is another food related item from the museum’s collection: Tea Box from WGY Food Products Company (c. 1920-1940). WGY Food Products Company was probably named for the radio station WGY, which began broadcasting from Schenectady in 1922. In 1962, the L. H. Parke Company of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh purchased WGY Food Products.

Label on front: 80 lbs NET / WGY / GARDENT LEAF / JAPAN TEA / No. 150 / DISTRIBUTED BY / WGY / FOOD PRODUCTS Co. / SCHENECTADY, NY / PRODUOT [sic] OF JAPAN

[Unidentified maker, chromolithograph on paper covering wood box with metal liner and plastic lid, 17 1/2 H x 23 W x 17 3/4 D, Albany Institute of History & Art Purchase, 2006.7]

This weekend is the 2020 Wine & Dine for the Arts and so today we're showcasing one of the historic punch bowls in our c...
01/13/2020

This weekend is the 2020 Wine & Dine for the Arts and so today we're showcasing one of the historic punch bowls in our collection: This massive punch bowl is decorated in rose- palette enamels with a bold floral pattern of long clusters of leafy tree peonies issuing from behind a fence. On top of the irregular rock is a collection of antiquities relating to Buddhism. Punch bowls were not part of the ordinary dinner ware exported from China to the U.S., but would be ordered individually. They were used extensively, before and after meals and for used for special celebrations, to hold hot or cold drinks.

According to the donor, the bowl belonged to Daniel D. Tompkins (1774-1825), governor of New York from 1807 to 1817. From Tompkins the bowl passed to Mr. and Mrs. John Van Schaick Lansing Pruyn; then to their daugher, Mrs. William Gorham Rice; to her husband, Colonel Rice, and their son, William Gorham Rice, Jr., who donated the bowl to the Albany Institute.

[Chinese Export Porcelain Punch Bowl, c. 1765, made in China, probably Jingdezhen, porcelain, enameled, and gilded, u1972.25.1]

January 16-18 is the 2020 Wine & Dine for the Arts! The Albany Institute is honored to be a beneficiary of this amazing ...
01/08/2020

January 16-18 is the 2020 Wine & Dine for the Arts! The Albany Institute is honored to be a beneficiary of this amazing event that combines food, fun, and philanthropy. If you haven't purchased your ticket, there is still time! https://albanywinefest.com/

Lots of people in downtown Albany this morning as the 2020 New York State Legislative session starts with the State of t...
01/08/2020

Lots of people in downtown Albany this morning as the 2020 New York State Legislative session starts with the State of the State. Seems like a good day to share this painting of the New York State Capitol by Walter Launt Palmer (1907) from the museum's collection. [http://ow.ly/ns8X50xQ6NK]

Rainy Saturday? Come to the museum! Explore Joan Steiner's Look Alike dioramas and then create your own diorama scene in...
01/04/2020

Rainy Saturday? Come to the museum! Explore Joan Steiner's Look Alike dioramas and then create your own diorama scene in our Art Studio (included with admission). You could also go for a "hike" through the Hudson River School gallery and look at all the trees, streams, lakes, and wildlife in the paintings. Rather "travel" abroad today? Walter Launt Palmer's paintings of Venice will counter the cold outside. And, if you are curious to discover a "new" artist of American modernism, Painting the American Southwest: The Work of Otto Plaug presents some highlights from an artist we are researching as part of a new project. We're open 10am-5pm!

Happy New Year! The museum is closed today (January 1) but we resume our regular schedule tomorrow. [Venice, Walter Laun...
01/01/2020

Happy New Year! The museum is closed today (January 1) but we resume our regular schedule tomorrow.

[Venice, Walter Launt Palmer, 1885, watercolor and pastel on paper, 1942.34.24]

Looking for something to do with your out-of-town guests? Bring them to the museum! We are open our regular hours Decemb...
12/26/2019

Looking for something to do with your out-of-town guests? Bring them to the museum! We are open our regular hours December 26-29. Plus, we are participating in the Museums on Us Holiday Offer from Bank of America those days, which means cardholders can present an active Bank of America, Merrill or Bank of America Private Bank (U.S. Trust) credit or debit card with photo ID to gain one FREE general admission to a participating cultural institution. Learn more on their website: http://ow.ly/U7fe50xIbcZ. #MuseumsonUs

The museum is closed today. We are open our regular hours December 26-December 29, 2019 (a great time to see our exhibit...
12/25/2019

The museum is closed today. We are open our regular hours December 26-December 29, 2019 (a great time to see our exhibitions before they close...)

Here’s a fun gift idea! (Available in the Museum Shop too!)
12/18/2019

Here’s a fun gift idea! (Available in the Museum Shop too!)

Christmas came early to Burnley and Trowbridge! Our new reproduction shawl is based on an original in the collection of the the Albany Institute of History & Art. We couldn’t be happier with how it turned out and we know you will love it too! Find it on our website! https://www.burnleyandtrowbridge.com/HAN49.aspx

#regencyfashion #janeausten #18thcenturyfashion #19thcenturyfashion #historicalclothing #fashionhistory

Lots of great gift ideas in the Museum Shop! From jewelry and toys to ornaments, specialty foods, books (and more), it's...
12/18/2019

Lots of great gift ideas in the Museum Shop! From jewelry and toys to ornaments, specialty foods, books (and more), it's a great stop for your holiday shopping. And remember, there's no admission fee to visit the Museum Shop or Cafe | Shop Hours: Wednesday 10am-5pm, Thursday 10am-8pm, Friday 10am-5pm, Saturday 10am-5pm, and Sunday 12pm-5pm.

Current mood | Yellow Sunset by Walter Launt Palmer (1854-1932), 1888, pastel on paper, gift of Beatrice Palmer, 1942.34...
12/17/2019

Current mood | Yellow Sunset by Walter Launt Palmer (1854-1932), 1888, pastel on paper, gift of Beatrice Palmer, 1942.34.88

Wedding anniversaries are very exciting! Check out this information from Schuyler Mansion State Historic Site about Eliz...
12/14/2019

Wedding anniversaries are very exciting! Check out this information from Schuyler Mansion State Historic Site about Eliza Schuyler and Alexander Hamilton’s wedding. Learn some more about the couple in The Schuyler Sisters & Their Circle exhibit tomorrow at the museum!

239 years ago, Elizabeth Schuyler married Alexander Hamilton at the Schuyler family home in Albany. Engaged since April of that year, this was a lengthy engagement in the middle of the war, (especially when compared to her parents' engagement period, which was measured in days, not weeks or months!)

While initial correspondence between Hamilton and his future in-laws indicates cool caution on Philip and Catharine's part, Philip Schuyler had definitely warmed up to Alexander by the time that the new couple left Albany to celebrate with Hamilton's military family.

To learn more about the wedding and the Hamiltons' relationship with this family, house, and community, check out or events page for information on our Hamilton focus tours. In the meantime, please join us in congratulating the happy couple!

Are you a Bank of America or a Merrill Lynch cardholder? Enjoy free admission to the galleries today, courtesy of their ...
12/08/2019

Are you a Bank of America or a Merrill Lynch cardholder? Enjoy free admission to the galleries today, courtesy of their Museums on Us® program!

Visit today with your Bank of America or Merrill Lynch card to take advantage of Museums on Us®.

As we approach the end of 2019, we can’t help but reflect on the theme of this year at the Albany Institute: discovery.V...
12/03/2019

As we approach the end of 2019, we can’t help but reflect on the theme of this year at the Albany Institute: discovery.

View our full annual appeal on this #GivingTuesday here: https://conta.cc/34HGheC

Ouch! Good luck to everyone digging out from the storm. [27 N. Pearl Street, Blizzard of 1888 from the Morris Gerber Col...
12/03/2019

Ouch! Good luck to everyone digging out from the storm. [27 N. Pearl Street, Blizzard of 1888 from the Morris Gerber Collection, Albany Institute of History & Art Library, LIB 1993.010.9226.6P http://ow.ly/rVma50xqHDk]

Weather update! Today is the last day of our Home for the Holidays FREE admission weekend. We are open now but will clos...
12/01/2019

Weather update! Today is the last day of our Home for the Holidays FREE admission weekend. We are open now but will close early at 4PM.

If you are here, be sure to check out New York State Capitol in Winter by Walter Launt Palmer, which is currently on view in the exhibition A Brilliant Bit of Color: The Work of Walter Launt Palmer [c. 1907, gift of Matthew Bender IV, 2015.38].

Happy Thanksgiving! The museum is closed today but we will be open for our FREE admission weekend "Home for the Holidays...
11/28/2019

Happy Thanksgiving! The museum is closed today but we will be open for our FREE admission weekend "Home for the Holidays" this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Check our website for schedule and details: https://www.albanyinstitute.org/event/product/Home-for-the-Holidays-2019.html

[Bird detail from Crewel Embroidered Bed Hangings by Mary Stanton and Mary (Stanton) Mason, Stonington, Connecticut, c. 1740–1760, linen ground with wool yarn, wool tape, gift of Mary Eleanor Crounse, 1951.5.1–.8]

Celebrate the start of the holiday season with our FREE and festive Home for the Holidays weekend this Friday-Sunday! Br...
11/25/2019

Celebrate the start of the holiday season with our FREE and festive Home for the Holidays weekend this Friday-Sunday! Bring friends and family to take your photograph with Santa (12-4pm each day); discover decorated trees and mantelpieces; admire a special exhibition of miniature dioramas by Joan Steiner (the award-winning illustrator and creator of the Look-Alikes® books); make crafts; shop for handmade items and one-of-a-kind gifts in our Museum Shop; savor treats from the Museum Cafe; explore our current exhibitions (including The Schuyler Sisters & Their Circle); and more! Sponsored by BBL Companies, SportsClips, and Trudeau Architects. [Image: Nutcracker scene from one of the Steiner dioramas]

It's been a bit cold and blustery, so here's an autumn scene you can enjoy from the comfort of our galleries (or your ph...
11/16/2019

It's been a bit cold and blustery, so here's an autumn scene you can enjoy from the comfort of our galleries (or your phone): Storm King on the Hudson by Homer Dodge Martin (1836–1897) from 1862.

If you are on your phone, remember to vote for the Albany Institute of History & Art for the 2019 Capital Region Gives: The Big $100,000 Giveaway: https://timesunioncontests.secondstreetapp.com/Capital-Region-Gives-2019/gallery/

[Oil on canvas, 22 H x 38 1/4 W, Albany Institute of History & Art, bequest of Mrs. Anna Vandenbergh, 1909.19.3]

#ThatFridayFeeling The Albany Institute Library has great photographs, including a collection that belonged to photograp...
11/15/2019

#ThatFridayFeeling The Albany Institute Library has great photographs, including a collection that belonged to photographer Morris Gerber. The collection includes approximately 12,500 black and white photographic prints, plus thousands of glass plate and film negatives. This photograph, labeled "Operation 'Go Home' at Plaza," dates to the 1950s and is part of that collection.

The Morris Gerber Photograph Collection represents a significant documentation of the architectural, social, cultural and economic development of Albany's history from the 1860's into the 1970's, although the bulk of the collection covers the 1910's through the 1950's. Views include building interiors and exteriors, action photos (such as fires, floods, parades, and building construction), urban and suburban residences and businesses.

Morris Gerber was a typesetter at the Albany, NY newspaper, the Times-Union. The collection was assembled by Morris Gerber from the archives of Stephen Schreiber and William Klein, both Albany photographers; discards from the Albany NY newspaper Knickerbocker News morgue, and purchases. Photographers in the collection include: Stephen Schreiber; William Klein; Fellowcrafts Studio; Joseph H. Winchell III; Ed Driscoll; Robert Wilder; Roberta Smith; Joe Higgins; Bernie Kolenberg; Ray Joy; Morris Gerber.

Remember to vote for the Albany Institute of History & Art in the 2019 Capital Region Gives Big $100,000 Giveaway by the Times Union. THANK YOU! https://timesunioncontests.secondstreetapp.com/Capital-Region-Gives-2019/gallery/

Address

125 Washington Ave
Albany, NY
12210

CDTA

Opening Hours

Wednesday 10:00 - 17:00
Thursday 10:00 - 20:00
Friday 10:00 - 17:00
Saturday 10:00 - 17:00
Sunday 12:00 - 17:00

Telephone

(518) 463-4478

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Founded in 1791, the Albany Institute of History & Art is New York’s oldest museum. Visitors enjoy exhibitions that range from colonial history to contemporary art. The museum is best known for its Hudson River School collection and the “Albany mummies.” Visit our website for current exhibitions, special events, family programs, lectures, art classes, and more.

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Comments

My husband and I visited the Albany Institute of History & Art on our way from Maine to Ohio. What a gem! From the moment we entered the museum we were treated to warm hospitality. We particularly enjoyed visiting with Teri, the tour guide who greeted us at the entrance to the Schuyler Sisters exhibit.
Art moved the world
Free Archaeology Event! Kids and Adults welcomed!
Happy International Cat Day!
Hello, I’m wondering if someone from the Institute might be able to help me. I was recently handed down a piece of what was intended to be a quilt topper, that was hand embroidered using Turkey Red thread by my Great-Great Aunt. She was born in 1880 and so the piece was probably made in the mid- to late-1890s. The piece is unfinished but my Aunt embroidered her name into the piece as well as a number of squares showing different scenes. There are a few areas where she must have written on the fabric with a pencil, probably sketching ideas, but they are very faded. I’d like to preserve this piece and perhaps restore the pencil sketches if possible. Do you know of anyone I could contact who could advise me as to the best way to preserve the piece and discuss restoring the pencil sketches? I’d like to display this piece in my home but want to make sure I do it correctly to preserve it. Thanks.
Am I the only person who saw the season premiere of Mysteries at the Museum on the Travel Channel last night? The Institute was mentioned because of its Hyatt Billiard Ball Company's creator, and Albany resident, John Wesley Hyatt.
Voting ends at 8:30 this morning! Saratoga National Historical Park is requesting your help to pull off an astounding win in #MuseumMadness! Simply click on the picture of Saratoga below to cast your vote and side with history! https://www.facebook.com/NPS.NMSC/posts/1737370742975239
I have a question about an Albany artifact. I don't see it listed on your webpage, but hopeful you may know where it is. In 1804 when they were going to demolish the first St. Peter's church in the intersection of State and Broadway, John Stevenson Jr. removed the bones of his father, Sheriff John Stevenson and 5 of his children which were entombed in St. Peter's and moved them to the new St. Peter's church. At that time he had made a silver plaque to put over the new resting place. In 1859 they demolished the newer St. Peter's and moved the bones to Albany Rural Cemetery (Evergreen, as it was called then). Does anyone know what happened to the silver plaque? James, son of John Jr. I believe directed the second removal, so it could of stayed with the family, but I would like to know if it still exists and where. It is a rare piece of Albany history that I would like to track down for a research article. Thank you.
Maybe they prefer the view out the window? #AlbanyInstitute #back