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.

On International Sculpture Day, we thought it would be a good time to talk about Albany artist and activist Alice Morgan...
04/25/2020

On International Sculpture Day, we thought it would be a good time to talk about Albany artist and activist Alice Morgan Wright and revisit a post we shared in March during Women's History Month. Interested in learning more? Visit our "Alice Morgan Wright: The Connection Between Art & Activism" entry in our Gallery Plus blog for a look at some of her sculpture in the museum's collection, plus a short presentation about her life: http://ow.ly/6w0m50zo1Gj #ISDay #AlbanyNY

[The Fist, Alice Morgan Wright, 1921, Painted plaster, 34 H x 17 W x 17 D, gift of Elinor Wright (Mrs. Clark) Fleming, cousin of the artist, 1978.21.2]

#MuseumMomentofZen | The Normanskill, Edward B. Gay (1837–1928), c. 1865, oil on canvas, 13 7/8 H x 24 1/8 W, Albany Ins...
04/25/2020

#MuseumMomentofZen | The Normanskill, Edward B. Gay (1837–1928), c. 1865, oil on canvas, 13 7/8 H x 24 1/8 W, Albany Institute of History & Art, gift of the Charles L. Palmer estate, 1908.3.1

#EdwardGay #HudsonRiverSchool #HappyBirthday #HBD #AlbanyNY

04/25/2020

Today is #InternationalSculptureDay and we’re looking at one of the sculptures we have on view in the museum’s atrium. This sculpture is one of volunteer Barb R.’s favorite objects in the museum’s collection: “One of my faves is George Rickey’s Star (L'etoile)...I try to start all my tours with it. I love that it is kinetic and reflective, as most of his sculptures are. I have my group look up at it and I ask them what they think it is or is supposed to represent, what it is made of. I tell them that it was originally outdoors (again, as many of his pieces are) and ask whether they would like it better outdoors or where it is now...and why. (If you are a Rickey fan another of his pieces is outside at the Empire State Plaza “Two Lines Oblique”)

#AlbanyNY #sculpture #GeorgeRickey #FromtheCollection #kinetic #MuseumMomentofZen #ISDay

Take a closer look at historic pleats in our collection of Victorian dresses in our new blog post Pleated to Perfection,...
04/24/2020

Take a closer look at historic pleats in our collection of Victorian dresses in our new blog post Pleated to Perfection, available now on our website: http://ow.ly/m3uf50zmU1Z

#FashionFriday | This hand-stitched satin wedding dress from the early 1840s features knife pleated bands along the neck...
04/24/2020

#FashionFriday | This hand-stitched satin wedding dress from the early 1840s features knife pleated bands along the neckline and as details on the sleeves. Find out more about this dress from the Albany Institute's collection in today's Pleated to Perfection blog post, available on our website: http://ow.ly/ID4d50zn7gj

#FashionFriday | "While we are staying home these days, many of us have pulled out our sewing machines to make masks," s...
04/24/2020

#FashionFriday | "While we are staying home these days, many of us have pulled out our sewing machines to make masks," says curator Diane Shewchuk. "One of the methods of making masks is to make pleats in two rectangles of fabric that have been sewn together. This reminded me of the yards and yards of pleats that were stitched to create many of the Victorian dresses in our collection." Come see some examples she has pulled together for her Pleated to Perfection blog post: http://ow.ly/HPE750zmRte

“Wanting to be Free Like the Wind Blows Through a Tree” (2009) by Elizabeth Zunon is part of the Albany Institute’s coll...
04/23/2020

“Wanting to be Free Like the Wind Blows Through a Tree” (2009) by Elizabeth Zunon is part of the Albany Institute’s collection. This work of painting and collage appeared in a children's book published in 2011 called "My Hands Sing the Blues: Romare Bearden's Childhood Journey". The work symbolizes the freedom that enslaved people from the South sought when they came north through the Great Migration. Get a closer look here: http://ow.ly/mhP950zm2vH

[Elizabeth Zunon, 2009, oil paint and collage on watercolor paper, 11 H x 22 ¼ W, Albany Institute of History & Art Purchase, 2014.22]

Inspired by the artwork of artist Elizabeth Zunon? Try your hand at portraiture! We have a tutorial on our Museum Makers...
04/23/2020

Inspired by the artwork of artist Elizabeth Zunon? Try your hand at portraiture! We have a tutorial on our Museum Makers blog to help get you started: http://ow.ly/Q7RR50zm2lb

04/23/2020
Elizabeth Zunon & Her World of Books

Today we're going to look at the paintings and collage of artist Elizabeth Zunon, specifically her work as an author and illustrator. She attributes growing up in a hot tropical place with vibrant colors and patterns as the background for the inspiration to the illustrations that she creates for all her work. Liz is not only an artist whose work is in the museum's collection but she also plays a key role as a teaching artist in the museum's Art in Education school partnership program, Book Arts. Those who have visited the museum in the recent past will recognize her giant painted Dutch shoe displayed prominently in the museum's lobby. Zunon was interviewed in 2019 as part of the Albany Institute's series "Artists' Voices", which was supported by the National Endowment for the Arts. You can view the film “Elizabeth Zunon & Her World of Books” here: http://ow.ly/haqh50zm21Q

#EarthDay2020 | Did you know that the Albany Institute Library holds geologic maps of New York State? Geologic maps repr...
04/22/2020

#EarthDay2020 | Did you know that the Albany Institute Library holds geologic maps of New York State? Geologic maps represent the geological structures, minerals, and products of a given area. These maps were often used to determine the economic potential for an area, such as whether a given region was likely to contain gold or other valuable mineral deposits. Today’s researchers use them to understand settlement patterns, help mitigate natural disasters, understand the environment impact of any changes, and much, much more.

This "Economical Geology of New York" map is from 1830.

For more information on the types of maps available through the museum's Research Library, please read "What You Can Find in the Library Part III: Maps" on our Research: Library + Archives blog: http://ow.ly/7TOG50ziPNR

#NationalLibraryWeek

04/22/2020
Nocturne for the Riverkeeper, Green Light

#EarthDay2020 | For Earth Day, we're "reading" another painting from our collection for our ArtStory series. Explore the light and discover hidden details of Stephen Hannock's painting "Nocturne for the Riverkeeper, Green Light" (2001). The painting pays tribute to the first Hudson River Riverkeeper, Tom Whyatt, who patrolled the river for pollution in the early 1970s.
http://ow.ly/WK6J50zkUzE

#EarthDay2020 | The Albany Institute is known for our collection of Hudson River School art and while the galleries are ...
04/22/2020

#EarthDay2020 | The Albany Institute is known for our collection of Hudson River School art and while the galleries are closed today, did you know that you can explore "The Making of the Hudson River School" exhibition online? Current research is exploring the impact and influence that the work of Hudson River School artists had on the establishment of environmental regulations and protections in the United States, so its a great tie into Earth Day. You can find a link to the exhibition here: http://ow.ly/4NVz50ziQwq

[The Mountain Stream, John Frederick Kensett (1816–1872), ca. 1845 or ca. 1856, oil on canvas, 14 H x 9 3/4 W (oval), Albany Institute of History & Art, gift of Beatrice Palmer, 1942.34.13]

April showers bring...your tulip-inspired art to life! As you may know, we're celebrating our beloved tulips a bit diffe...
04/21/2020

April showers bring...your tulip-inspired art to life! As you may know, we're celebrating our beloved tulips a bit differently in Albany this spring and we're finding ways to join others in "planting" digital tulips online. In addition to sharing some of our historic tulips and Tulip Festival images with you on our social media channels (stay tuned), the Albany Institute is inviting people to participate in our Tulip Art Challenge. Here's the idea: you make tulip-inspired art, take a picture of it, send the picture to us, and we will make digital "Tulip Quilts" we will debut on Mother's Day weekend (which is traditionally Tulip Festival weekend). Find the full details on our website: http://ow.ly/CRJk50zkCb3 Please note: we ask that all submissions are of artwork created to be tulips rather than photographs of actual tulips. Thank you!

#MuseumSunshine | It may be rainy today, but we know where to find some sun to send to everyone... Landscape by William ...
04/21/2020

#MuseumSunshine | It may be rainy today, but we know where to find some sun to send to everyone... Landscape by William Hart (1823–1894), c. 1855–1860, oil on canvas attached to panel, 1958.1.14 #MuseumFromHome #HudsonRiverSchool

Explore Albany's first "garden center" with a new Behind-the-Scenes blog post about William Thorburn's Seed and Agricult...
04/21/2020

Explore Albany's first "garden center" with a new Behind-the-Scenes blog post about William Thorburn's Seed and Agricultural Depository located in the heart of Albany's commercial district in the mid-1800s: http://ow.ly/1aJt50zkqT9

It's springtime in Albany, so we've got gardening and tulips on our minds. Since it's #NationalLibraryWeek, we dug up a ...
04/21/2020

It's springtime in Albany, so we've got gardening and tulips on our minds. Since it's #NationalLibraryWeek, we dug up a sign of spring in our Library collection! This photograph from about 1870 captures two well-known Albany businesses on State Street: the print shop and bindery of Joel Munsell and the seed and agricultural supply store of Volker Petrus Douw: http://ow.ly/tvTg50zjKxr According to the Bi-centennial History of Albany published in 1886, V. P. Dow & Co. bought the seed and agricultural supply store from William Thorburn in 1868 and continued the business until 1875 when Price & Knickerbocker bought the business. Today's lunchtime post will look at the history of Thorburn's business, so stay tuned!

[80 & 82 State Street, Albany, c. 1870, unidentified photographer, albumen photographic print on card, 10 7/16 H x 9 3/4 W (photograph); 10 7/8 H x 10 3/16 W (card), Albany Institute of History & Art Library, Ser 15/95, DI 115]

#518TulipTracker

While "An Old Man's Reminiscences" was a very symbolic landscape painting, Hudson River School artist Asher Brown Durand...
04/20/2020

While "An Old Man's Reminiscences" was a very symbolic landscape painting, Hudson River School artist Asher Brown Durand is better known for his faithful and meticulous observations of nature. Cathedral Ledge, shown here, was painted in 1855 and its remarkable details led to the painting being renamed after a rock climber's visit to the museum encouraged new research.

The painting came to the Albany Institute in 1987. At the time of its donation, Durand’s painting was known as Cliff in the Shawangunks, a mountain range situated south of the Catskill Mountains in eastern New York. A rock climber who saw the painting at the Institute recognized the rocky cliffs not as the Shawangunk range but rather as Cathedral Ledge near North Conway in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. It was a rock feature he climbed and knew firsthand. In a letter he sent to the Institute he noted specifically that the rocks in the painting were oriented vertically, as they are at Cathedral Ledge. Rocks in the Shawangunks are aligned horizontally. The climber also identified in the painting specific fissures in the rock cliff that climbers still use today. Further research revealed that Durand did spend part of the summer of 1855 in North Conway, New Hampshire. The rock climber’s identification of the actual site based on details captured in the painting reveals that Durand did faithfully observe nature as he advised others to do.

[Cathedral Ledge, Asher Brown Durand (1796–1886), 1855, oil on canvas, 18 1/4 H x 23 5/16 W, Albany Institute of History & Art, gift of Jane E. Rosell, 1987.20.4]

04/20/2020
ArtStory: An Old Man's Reminiscences

Come "read" art with us! Notice details and explore the symbolism of Asher B. Durand's rich 1845 landscape painting "An Old Man's Reminiscences" in our first ArtStory: http://ow.ly/esq750ziLAt

ArtStory from the Albany Institute of History & Art "An Old Man's Reminiscences", Asher B. Durand, 1845

Today we're launching a new series we're calling ArtStory. We have been inspired by all the story times that are happeni...
04/20/2020

Today we're launching a new series we're calling ArtStory. We have been inspired by all the story times that are happening right now and we thought that we would "read" some art from our collection. So ArtStory is like story time, but with paintings or sculpture (and more).

Our first ArtStory looks at Asher B. Durand's "An Old Man's Reminiscences" from 1845 (shown here). Our staff has compiled ArtStory: Tips for Looking at Works of Art for our Gallery Plus blog, which is available here: http://ow.ly/kE9w50zio3k. You can access the first ArtStory by following that link or check back around lunch time for a direct link to the video.

[An Old Man’s Reminiscences, Asher B. Durand (1796-1886), 1845, oil on canvas, 39 5/8 H x 58 1/4 W, Gift of the Albany Gallery of Fine Arts, 1900.5.3]

Spring Line Up | Ruby Silvious’ paper shoes from her exhibition Recycled & Refashioned: The Art of Ruby Silvious. Have y...
04/19/2020

Spring Line Up | Ruby Silvious’ paper shoes from her exhibition Recycled & Refashioned: The Art of Ruby Silvious. Have you heard? The exhibit will be extended through August 30, 2020. We will let you know more about our re-opening as soon as we have that information available. Until then, enjoy these fun fashions!

#recycledandrefashioned #rubysilvious #albanyny #papershoes #makearteveryday #exhibitextended #recycledfashion #recycledart

This is a visual journal by artist @silvirub that is part of her exhibition Recycled & Refashioned: The Art of Ruby Silv...
04/19/2020

This is a visual journal by artist @silvirub that is part of her exhibition Recycled & Refashioned: The Art of Ruby Silvious. It’s register tape that was destined to be thrown away, but Ruby used it to illustrate daily “entries” of what was on her kitchen table. Are you journaling right now?

Note: The exhibition has been extended through August 30, 2020.

#recycledandrefashioned #rubysilvious #recycledart #makearteveryday #albanyny #museumfromhome

Have you heard? It's Saturday and we have some great news! We are happy to announce that Recycled & Refashioned: The Art...
04/18/2020

Have you heard? It's Saturday and we have some great news! We are happy to announce that Recycled & Refashioned: The Art of Ruby Silvious will be extended through August 30, 2020!

Now, we don't have an opening date yet, but once we can open we will be able to share this amazing exhibition with you so stay tuned for upcoming announcements. Today we'll be sharing some of Ruby's work on our social media channels as well as some of the exhibition installation shots so you can remember just how fun this exhibit is! We send a big thank you to Ruby for her flexibility and patience as we worked things out and we are looking forward to seeing her (and you) at the museum in the future.

Image courtesy Ruby Silvious.

#recycledandrefashioned #recycledart #rubysilvious #somethingtolookforwardto #signsofspring #flowers #albanyny #makearteveryday

This morning we shared our exciting news- the exhibition Recycled & Refashioned: The Art of Ruby Silvious will be extend...
04/18/2020

This morning we shared our exciting news- the exhibition Recycled & Refashioned: The Art of Ruby Silvious will be extended through August 30, 2020! Here’s a little “tour” through the galleries to highlight some of the works in that amazing collection. We’ll be sure to share more in the weeks ahead!

#recycledandrefashioned #recycledart #makearteveryday #newdates #extended #albanyny #rubysilvious #papershoes #somethingtolookforwardto @ Albany Institute of History & Art

It's Saturday and we have some great news! For the last couple of weeks, while we have been on PAUSE with the rest of Ne...
04/18/2020

It's Saturday and we have some great news! For the last couple of weeks, while we have been on PAUSE with the rest of New York State, we have been trying to sort out a new exhibition schedule for the rest of 2020. Changing exhibition schedules isn't easy because there are often lots of moving parts involved. But we are happy to announce that Recycled & Refashioned: The Art of Ruby Silvious will be extended through August 30, 2020!

Now, we don't have an opening date yet, but once we can open we will be able to share this amazing exhibition with you so stay tuned for upcoming announcements. Today we'll be sharing some of Ruby's work on our social media channels as well as some of the exhibition installation shots so you can remember just how fun this exhibit is! We send a big thank you to Ruby Silvious for her flexibility and patience as we worked things out and since we are looking forward to seeing her (and you) at the museum in the future, it seems fitting to share a work from Ruby's Museum Goers series.

#recycledandrefashioned #recycledart #rubysilvious #somethingtolookforwardto #museumgoers #albanyny #makearteveryday

#MuseumMomentofZen Sculpture | Dryad by Alice Morgan Wright (1881-1975) from 1912. (A dryad is a mythological tree nymph...
04/17/2020

#MuseumMomentofZen Sculpture | Dryad by Alice Morgan Wright (1881-1975) from 1912. (A dryad is a mythological tree nymph).

[painted plaster mounted on wood base, 11 1/2 H (overall), Signed: Wright 1912, gift of Elinor Wright (Mrs. Clark) Fleming, cousin of the artist, 2004.1.17)

#AlbanyNY #AliceMorganWright #Artist #Activist #Dryad #Mythology #Sculpture #Plaster #MuseumFromHome

#MuseumMomentofZen Painting | Resurrection by David Miller from 1980. [Acrylic on canvas, Albany Institute Purchase Priz...
04/17/2020

#MuseumMomentofZen Painting | Resurrection by David Miller from 1980. [Acrylic on canvas, Albany Institute Purchase Prize, 1980 Exhibition by Artists of the Mohawk–Hudson Region, 1980.43]

#AlbanyNY #FromtheCollection #DavidMiller #painting #MohawkHudsonRegional #MuseumFromHome

“Once, I was covering the Admission Desk during a staff lunch break and a gentleman came into the museum. He was having ...
04/17/2020

“Once, I was covering the Admission Desk during a staff lunch break and a gentleman came into the museum. He was having a difficult day and had walked over from his office so that he could spend some time looking at his favorite painting. He was onsite for less than fifteen minutes, but as he left he stopped to say how much that time with that painting rejuvenated him for the rest of his day. That’s the idea behind museums posting #MuseumMomentofZen.”- Aine Leader-Nagy, Director of Community Engagement

Today, and other days ahead, we will be sure to take some time to share some works from our collection that might encourage rejuvenation, reflection, and/or rest. Most of these works are digitized and available on our website, though we made add some bonus ones like this one of a study of sheep. We hope you will let us know if you have a favorite work that is your Museum Moment of Zen. We would like to share these moments with others.

#MuseumMomentofZen Sketch | Study of Sitting Sheep by William Hart (1823-1894) (no date) [pencil on cream paper, ht. 5 1/2" x w. 7 1/2", Albany Institute of History & Art, gift of Alan Lewis in honor of Janice Hart White, 2004.46.290]

#AlbanyNY #FromtheCollection #Sheep #AnimalsinArchives #Rest #MuseumFromHome

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125 Washington Ave
Albany, NY
12210

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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

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(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

Can't wait for you to be back open'
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