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 colo
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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.

Many cultures celebrate Three Kings Day on January 6. Dutch scripture paintings like this one represent one of the earli...
01/06/2024

Many cultures celebrate Three Kings Day on January 6.

Dutch scripture paintings like this one represent one of the earliest artistic traditions in America. AIHA owns thirteen examples. There are contemporary references to them in Albany. In 1744, Dr. Alexander Hamilton recounted “The Dutch here…affect pictures much, particularly scripture history, with which they adorn their homes.” The most important visual source for scripture paintings were the illustrations found in Dutch Bibles, printed in the Netherlands, and imported in great quantity during the late 17th and early 18th centuries.

[Adoration of the Magi, unidentified limner, oil on canvas, c.1740, AIHA, gift of Samuel A. Ten Broeck and Mary Ten Broeck, 1908.9.5]

In honor of National Bird Day, we are sharing these candle holders. In Chinese culture, the crane is a symbol of peace a...
01/05/2024

In honor of National Bird Day, we are sharing these candle holders. In Chinese culture, the crane is a symbol of peace and longevity. It is venerated as the prince of all feathered creatures and is the second most favored bird symbol after the phoenix.

[Crane Candle Holders, China, Qing Dynasty, Qianlong period (1736-1795), cloisonné enamel, AIHA, gift of Mary Taylor Moulton Hanrahan, 1945.15.145]

The Museum Store will be closed for inventory January 8 – January 12.
01/04/2024

The Museum Store will be closed for inventory January 8 – January 12.

Are you driving on the Thruway this week? The increase in tolls made us think of this 19th century sign in our collectio...
01/03/2024

Are you driving on the Thruway this week? The increase in tolls made us think of this 19th century sign in our collection. Rates were based on the type of vehicle and how much livestock you were transporting. In 1804, a 5 miles long turnpike was constructed that ran south from the Albany city line on the road that would be named South Pearl Street. This sign hung on the road’s only tollgate at Kenwood.

[Albany & Bethlehem Turnpike Road Rates of Toll, unidentified maker, painted wood, c.1840, AIHA, u1972.16.1]

01/01/2024
Happy New Year’s Eve! Will you be singing Auld Lang Syne to bid farewell to 2023? Did you know that the melody commonly ...
12/31/2023

Happy New Year’s Eve! Will you be singing Auld Lang Syne to bid farewell to 2023? Did you know that the melody commonly used today was first documented in 1799? Among the contents of the time capsule was a small pamphlet of songs including Our Pledge to Albany sung to the tune of Auld Lang Syne. This is one of the many items on view in our exhibition The Time Capsule: What We Found Under Philip Schuyler.

Today and tomorrow are the last days to see 112 works of art inspired by water and marine life in the 19th National Exhi...
12/30/2023

Today and tomorrow are the last days to see 112 works of art inspired by water and marine life in the 19th National Exhibition of the American Society of Marine Artists.

[Icefields in the Peninsula, Luc Bernay, oil on canvas, courtesy of the artist
Renewal, Roger Dale Brown, oil on linen, courtesy of the artist]

Shopping for the perfect little black dress for New Year's Eve? Perhaps you’ll find a lovely, beaded dress like this one...
12/29/2023

Shopping for the perfect little black dress for New Year's Eve? Perhaps you’ll find a lovely, beaded dress like this one. In the 1920s, Harriet Van Alstyne Frisbee of Stuyvesant, New York, may have danced the night away while wearing this frock. Picot-edged handkerchief points lengthened the skirt as fashion dictated lower hemlines towards the end of the decade.

[Black Beaded Dress with Handkerchief Hem, unknown maker, silk with glass beads, mid-late 1920s, AIHA, gift of the Estate of Priscilla B. Frisbee, 2016.8.8]

“I have often been mesmerized by the water swirling over rocks and tried to capture it.” Catherine FasciatoOnly 4 more d...
12/28/2023

“I have often been mesmerized by the water swirling over rocks and tried to capture it.” Catherine Fasciato

Only 4 more days to see Reflective Impressions: The 19th National Exhibition of the American Society of Marine Artists. The exhibition closes on Sunday and travels to the Minnesota Marine Art Museum.

[Swirling, Catherine Fasciato, oil on canvas, courtesy of the artist]

Only 5 more days to see spectacular examples of marine art. The exhibition closes on Sunday. Artist Russ Kramer explaine...
12/27/2023

Only 5 more days to see spectacular examples of marine art. The exhibition closes on Sunday.

Artist Russ Kramer explained his painting: The first Corinthians were residents of the ancient Greek seaport of Corinth. A typical port town, Corinth was described as “a place of proverbial wickedness, energy, riches, noise.” The New Testament portrays them as a little unruly but fully capable of improvement. Later, In Henry IV Part 1, Shakespeare has young Prince Hal describe himself as “a Corinthian, a lad of mettle, a good boy.” A Corinthian, then, was a spunky, robust guy or gal. This nickname would have appealed to the young American sailors of the 1870s who were challenging the yachting establishment by sailing their own boats. Until then most yachtsmen paid for professional crews and captains. New Corinthian yacht clubs had fleets of small boats, and the rules required that they be raced only by Corinthian sailors who did all the work, had all the fun, and were paid not a nickel. By the 1920s, the average American yachtsman was a Corinthian “lad of mettle.” In this romanticized scene, the lady onboard is clearly enjoying the action, while her gentlemen friends are perhaps skeptical of her sportswear choices.

[The Corinthians, Russ Kramer, oil on canvas, courtesy of the artist]

AIHA owns numerous Christmas cards designed by artists represented in our collection. Graphic designer Hans-Joachim (Haj...
12/25/2023

AIHA owns numerous Christmas cards designed by artists represented in our collection. Graphic designer Hans-Joachim (Hajo) Christoph designed this card for personal use. Born in Berlin, Christoph came to America in 1925. The Fort Orange Paper Company of Castleton, New York, hired Hajo in 1931 as their resident artist and designer, a position he kept until 1965. Hajo also designed the original Tulip Queen crown.

[Christmas Card, Hajo Christoph (1903-1992), ink on card, 1938-1955, AIHA, Gift of Peter and Florence Christoph, 2009.2.43]

“And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.”In 1842, Albany merchant Richard Pease placed this ad in two Albany...
12/24/2023

“And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.”

In 1842, Albany merchant Richard Pease placed this ad in two Albany newspapers enticing people to patronize his Great Variety Store because Santa Claus shopped there. With baskets of toys, Santa descends the chimney while two reindeer wait on the rooftop in this rare illustration.

[Advertisement, Albany Argus, December 23, 1842, woodcut on paper, AIHA, Historic Newspaper Collection]

Happy Anniversary!On this day, 200 years ago, A Visit from St. Nicholas was first published in the Troy Sentinel and the...
12/23/2023

Happy Anniversary!

On this day, 200 years ago, A Visit from St. Nicholas was first published in the Troy Sentinel and the rest is history. If you are wondering why it wasn’t published on the night before Christmas, it’s because the Troy Sentinel was semi-weekly. The newspaper was printed only on Tuesdays and Fridays and in 1823, December 24 fell on a Wednesday. The earliest version in the museum’s collection is this c.1870 edition featuring illustrations by Thomas Nast. The children’s book contains 6 full page chromolithographs and 6 black/white illustrations.

[Visit from St. Nicholas, Clement Clark Moore, McLoughlin Brothers, AIHA, SpC 813 MOO VIS 1869]

Is attending a performance of The Nutcracker one of your holiday traditions? Joan Steiner recreated one of the scenes us...
12/22/2023

Is attending a performance of The Nutcracker one of your holiday traditions?

Joan Steiner recreated one of the scenes using found objects like a badminton shuttlecock for Clara’s dress and a bottle of nail polish for the soldier’s jacket. The Nutcracker diorama and eight other Look Alikes® are on view at the museum.

'Tis the season for cookies. Do you like to make cut outs, drop, or molded cookies? The 19th century baker would have pr...
12/21/2023

'Tis the season for cookies. Do you like to make cut outs, drop, or molded cookies?

The 19th century baker would have pressed dough into carved wood molds like this one by John Conger, a New York City baker who supervised a workshop of mold carvers. The intricate designs required a dough that didn’t spread. A Northern European tradition for hundreds of years, molds like these were often handed down from generation to generation.

[Baking mold, John Conger, mahogany, 1825-1845, AIHA, U1978.146]

molds

Do you still need gift suggestions? Around 1900 the John G. Myers Company printed this brochure advertising Toyland and ...
12/20/2023

Do you still need gift suggestions? Around 1900 the John G. Myers Company printed this brochure advertising Toyland and proclaiming the store was Albany’s Treasure House of Art. The five-story department store was built in 1887 and collapsed in 1905. It reopened next door and stayed in business until 1970.

[John G. Myers Company brochure, c.1900, AIHA Ephemera Collection]

Stockings hung by the chimney with care? This pair of red wool socks with reinforced blue heels was worn by Rev. Selah I...
12/18/2023

Stockings hung by the chimney with care?

This pair of red wool socks with reinforced blue heels was worn by Rev. Selah Ireland (1785-1860), a Methodist minister who lived a few miles north of Albany in Newtonville. In 1943, they were donated to the museum by his granddaughter who said the yarn was spun with wool sheared on his farm Elmhurst. She also donated sheep shears.

[Stockings, unknown maker, wool, mid-19th century, AIHA, gift of Miss Zillah Asbury Ireland, 1943.64.4]

Stop by to see this amazing painting. You will never look at or through ice the same way again. Artist Matthew Hillier s...
12/16/2023

Stop by to see this amazing painting. You will never look at or through ice the same way again.

Artist Matthew Hillier stated: “I like looking into water. It is fascinating to see the different layers above and below the surface. There are lovely patterns in the ice as it forms, reflected trees and sky from above. Then leaves and twigs under the ice. It also becomes a sort of abstract painting, and yet very real.”

[Under the Ice, Matthew Hillier, oil on canvas, courtesy of the artist]

New acquisition! In September 1980 while on an American tour, Israeli sculptor Chaim Hendin stopped by the Albany Jewish...
12/15/2023

New acquisition!

In September 1980 while on an American tour, Israeli sculptor Chaim Hendin stopped by the Albany Jewish Community Center to do a lecture and demonstration. At the time it was said that his work ranged from realistic to surrealistic and that his sculpture expressed both universal and Judaic themes. Dr. Raymond and Sara Harris may have acquired this menorah while Hendin was in Albany.

[Menorah, Chaim Hendin (b. 1920), bronze, c.1980, AIHA, gift from the family of Dr. Raymond and Sara Richman Harris, 2023]

Our website is down temporarily, but our phones are working, and the galleries are open. Thanks for your patience.
12/14/2023

Our website is down temporarily, but our phones are working, and the galleries are open. Thanks for your patience.

Is a new bicycle on someone’s holiday wish list? The Montgomery Ward Christmas Catalog offered these models in 1974. Rem...
12/13/2023

Is a new bicycle on someone’s holiday wish list? The Montgomery Ward Christmas Catalog offered these models in 1974. Remember paging through the catalogs or shopping at the store in Menands? Our collection includes dozens of Montgomery Ward catalogs that provide insight into daily life throughout the 20th century.

To all those celebrating, we wish you a Hanukkah filled with light and joy. Dean Frederick Murphy of the Junior College ...
12/11/2023

To all those celebrating, we wish you a Hanukkah filled with light and joy.

Dean Frederick Murphy of the Junior College of Albany joins Howard Picker and his fifth-grade students from Hebrew Academy at a Hanukkah celebration in 1969. Left to Right: Melanie Kay, Lee Caplan, Dawn Wilson, Aliza A***n, Diane Solomon, Elaine Berkun, Lyle Seltzer, Daniel Heckelman, Marcia Poskanzer, Jackie Posner.

[Hanukkah Celebration at Jr. College of Albany, 1969, AIHA Purchase, LIB 2020.32.5]

Still looking for the perfect holiday card? Stop by the museum shop to pick up a few featuring beautiful snow scenes by ...
12/10/2023

Still looking for the perfect holiday card? Stop by the museum shop to pick up a few featuring beautiful snow scenes by Walter Launt Palmer from our collection.

[vertical: The Head Waters, Walter Launt Palmer, oil on canvas, 1911, AIHA, gift of Lorraine Foster in memory of CDR William Grandy Foster USN, 2019.42 and horizontal: Road to Olana, Walter Launt Palmer, watercolor and gouache on paper, 1888, AIHA, gift of the estate of Miss Evelyn Newman, 1964.31.40]

It’s football season so we are sharing this photo of Charlie Leigh (1945-2006), an Albany High star athlete who signed a...
12/09/2023

It’s football season so we are sharing this photo of Charlie Leigh (1945-2006), an Albany High star athlete who signed an NFL contract straight out of high school. When this photo was taken, Leigh was a fullback with the Cleveland Browns who worked for Schaefer Brewing Company in the off-season. He was a member of the Miami Dolphins when they won the Super Bowl in 1973 and 1974. Learn more about Leigh’s football career https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wCjlPhJalfs
[Charlie Leigh Lifting Keg, 1969, AIHA Purchase, LIB2020.32.1]

Is breakfast your favorite meal of the day? Among the hundreds of pieces of paper in the time capsule that was found und...
12/08/2023

Is breakfast your favorite meal of the day?
Among the hundreds of pieces of paper in the time capsule that was found under the statue of Philip Schuyler was this 1925 breakfast menu from the Ten Eyck Hotel. You could spread guava jelly on your toast for 30¢ or start your day with a hearty dish of calf’s liver and bacon for 75¢.

Today is opening day for the exhibition The Time Capsule: What We Found Under Philip Schuyler. Stop by to see the treasu...
12/06/2023

Today is opening day for the exhibition The Time Capsule: What We Found Under Philip Schuyler. Stop by to see the treasures that were put in this copper box in 1925. You will be amazed.

Today is Wildlife Conservation Day. Eighty-five years ago, Albany native Gertrude Lathrop designed a Conserve Wildlife m...
12/04/2023

Today is Wildlife Conservation Day.

Eighty-five years ago, Albany native Gertrude Lathrop designed a Conserve Wildlife medal. The artist’s love of nature and her concern for preserving wilderness and wildlife can be seen in the design. The obverse shows a wood duck preening among marsh grasses gone to seed. The reverse shows a kneeling, western pronghorn taking shelter behind a barrel cactus. Lathrop chose the wood duck because it was endangered by the draining of wetlands. She chose the pronghorn because by 1938, the only examples to be found lived on reservations.

[Conserve Wildlife Medal, Gertrude Lathrop, 1938, bronze, AIHA Purchase, 2004.18.2]

Looking for a beautiful wall calendar for next year? We created two featuring paintings from our collection. Stop by the...
12/03/2023

Looking for a beautiful wall calendar for next year? We created two featuring paintings from our collection. Stop by the museum store to pick one up. $26.95 each. Members get a 20% discount.

Not interested in the bustled dresses we posted yesterday? How about stripes to make you stand out during Victorian Stro...
12/02/2023

Not interested in the bustled dresses we posted yesterday? How about stripes to make you stand out during Victorian Stroll?

This striking two-piece ensemble features a dome or bell-shaped skirt that would have been supported by a cage crinoline, a new invention at the time.

[Green and White Striped Dress, unknown maker, silk with fringe, 1853-57, AIHA, gift of Joyce Rose Crossley, 1986.13.10AB]

Need inspiration for the Victorian Stroll in Troy this weekend? How about this pair of bustled dresses from the 1880s? T...
12/01/2023

Need inspiration for the Victorian Stroll in Troy this weekend? How about this pair of bustled dresses from the 1880s?

The green one was made by Maison Felix, a Parisian couture house known for its quiet elegance and sophistication. The dress is designed to showcase the woven panels of calla lilies and arrowhead leaves that extend from the shoulder to the hem of the wool jacket bodice. The fawn-colored dress features embroidered cutwork trim. It was labeled by the retailer, Milton Price of Syracuse who was in the business of selling dry goods and fancy goods.

[Green Hostess Dress, Maison Félix, wool and silk, c.1889, AIHA, U1973.69AB and Fawn-Colored Dress, retailed by Milton S. Price, silk and cotton, 1882-1883, AIHA, gift of Elsie Gray Townsend, 1947.43.2AB]

While in our vault recently, we spotted this amazing seed pearl and topaz set and are sharing it in honor of November’s ...
11/30/2023

While in our vault recently, we spotted this amazing seed pearl and topaz set and are sharing it in honor of November’s birthstone. Seed pearl parures were frequently given to brides for their wedding day. Even though their popularity waned in Europe by the 1840s, they never lost favor with Americans, especially once American sources for freshwater seed pearls were discovered in the 1850s.

[Seed Pearl Parure, unidentified maker, seed pearls and topaz, c.1830-40, AIHA, bequest of Miss Evelyn Newman, 1964.31.59]

Stop by the museum to see Reflective Impressions: The 19th National Exhibition of the American Society of Marine Artists...
11/26/2023

Stop by the museum to see Reflective Impressions: The 19th National Exhibition of the American Society of Marine Artists. We’re open today from noon to 5pm.

[Patrick O'Brien, The Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race, oil on panel, courtesy of the artist]

It’s small business Saturday and our museum shop is filled with hundreds of gift ideas for everyone on your list. Member...
11/25/2023

It’s small business Saturday and our museum shop is filled with hundreds of gift ideas for everyone on your list. Members receive 20% off from now until the end of the year. Not a member, join today https://www.albanyinstitute.org/join-support/membership or in person at the reception desk.

Tired of spending time in your kitchen? Stop by the museum to see two miniature kitchens created by Look Alikes® artist ...
11/24/2023

Tired of spending time in your kitchen?
Stop by the museum to see two miniature kitchens created by Look Alikes® artist Joan Steiner. Where else can you see a Walkman stove with thermometers as handles or a backsplash made of Chiclets? The Look Alikes® dioramas are back on view until February. The Look Alikes® scavenger hunt is a fun activity for all ages.

Happy Thanksgiving! Wishing you a wonderful day of gratitude and joy!
11/23/2023

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wishing you a wonderful day of gratitude and joy!

Table all set for tomorrow? Using your best China or having a casual dinner? These hand-painted porcelain plates are par...
11/22/2023

Table all set for tomorrow? Using your best China or having a casual dinner?

These hand-painted porcelain plates are part of a large dinner/dessert service that includes plates decorated with fruits and flowers that was originally owned by Erastus Corning I and his wife Harriet Weld of Albany.

[Plates, Édouard Honoré, Paris, France, c.1840-1850, porcelain, AIHA, 58.1980.25.14 and .18]

Vote for Albany Institute of History & Art in the Times Union's Capital Region Gives campaign! We have the chance to win...
11/21/2023

Vote for Albany Institute of History & Art in the Times Union's Capital Region Gives campaign! We have the chance to win $10,000 in advertising.

We want to expand our reach and welcome new audiences into our galleries and classrooms, and each vote helps!

Vote here at:

Finished with your grocery shopping for Thanksgiving? Forget anything? In 1972, you could have picked up frozen snow pea...
11/21/2023

Finished with your grocery shopping for Thanksgiving? Forget anything?

In 1972, you could have picked up frozen snow peas at Chosun Kim Company, an Asian market at 407 Central Ave., Albany. Korean-born, Kim Packard started the store with her husband Donald when she realized she had to go to New York City to get familiar ingredients. It was one of the first Asian markets in Albany.

[Mrs. Kim Packard of Chosun Kim Co., 1972, AIHA, LIB 2020.65.9]

Paying attention to the weather this week? According to the Annals of Albany, there was a snowstorm on this day 175 year...
11/20/2023

Paying attention to the weather this week?

According to the Annals of Albany, there was a snowstorm on this day 175 years ago. The carefully researched volumes contain a wealth of information assembled and published by Joel Munsell in the 19th century. A set of the Annals was included in the copper box found under the statue of Philip Schuyler.

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125 Washington Avenue
Albany, NY
12210

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Friday 10am - 5pm
Saturday 10am - 5pm
Sunday 12pm - 5pm

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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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