Tag Archives: Albany County

AIHA Presents Dennis Gaffney Civil War Lecture


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The Albany Institute of History & Art will host local freelance author Dennis Gaffney on Sunday, January 8 at 2 PM, as he shares a series of stories from the Civil War. The lecture is free with museum admission.

Gaffney’s book, The Civil War: Exploring History One Week at a Time, has been widely praised as a reader-friendly way to learn about the Civil War. Amateur historian and Civil War buffs will both learn something new at Gaffney’s talk, which will include details about the role of Albany and New York State in the war effort. Also covered will be topics involving the medical history of the Civil War, which complement the current exhibition Albany and the Civil War: Medicine on the Home and Battle Fronts.

Following the lecture Gaffney will be available to answer questions and to sign copies of his book, which will be available for sale at the Museum Shop. The book signing session is free and open to the public. The Albany and the Civil War exhibition will be on display in the Albany Institute Entry Gallery through February 26, 2012.

State Library History Programs Planned


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The New York State library is offering two history related public programs in January. These programs are free and open to the public. Participants can register online, e-mail NYSLTRN@mail.nysed.gov, or call 518-474-2274. The organizers ask that participants contact them if any reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act is required at least three business days prior to the program date.

Walking Tour: Local History and Genealogy Resources
Date: Saturday, January 14
Time: 10:30am – 11:30am
Location: 7th floor, New York State Library – meet in front of the Genealogy/Local History Desk

The New York State Library is a treasure chest of resources for those tracing their family histories. This one hour tour highlights published genealogies, local histories, church records, Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) records, United States and New York State Census records, newspapers on microfilm, city directories and more. Shawn Purcell, subject specialist for genealogy and local history at the New York State Library, will lead the tour. The tour is limited to 15 individuals and registration is required.

Historical Newspapers Online at the NYS Library
Date: Saturday, January 21
Time: 10:30-12:00
Location: 7th floor Computer Classroom

Senior Librarian, Stephanie Barrett will discuss online databases available at the New York State Library that contain full-text historical newspapers. She will demonstrate the effective use of America’s Historical Newspapers and the Historical Newspapers (New York Times) with an emphasis on newspapers published in New York State. She will also discuss Civil War: a Newspaper Perspective. Seating is limited and registration is required

Books: Selected Rensselaerwijck Papers


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Papers from the New Netherland Institute’s annual Rensselaerswijck Seminar has long served as a platform for local historians to present their latest research on the only successful patroonship in New Netherland.

A Beautiful and Fruitful Place: Selected Rensselaerswijck Papers, vol. 2 (SUNY Press, 2011) includes papers delivered at the seminar from 1988 to 1997 and features New Netherland’s distinctive regional history as well as the colony’s many relationships with Europe, the seventeenth-century Atlantic world, and New England, these cogent and informative papers are an indispensable source toward a better understanding of New Netherland life and legacy.

Leading scholars from both sides of the Atlantic critique and offer research on a dynamic range of topics: the age of exploration, domestic life in New Netherland, the history and significance of the West India Company, the complex era of Jacob Leisler, the southern frontier lands of the colony, relations with New England, Hudson Valley foodways and Dutch beer production, the endurance of the Dutch legacy into nineteenth-century New York, and contemporary genealogical research on colonial Dutch ancestors.

Edited by Elisabeth Paling Funk and Martha Dickinson Shattuck, the newest volume of papers includes chapters from Rensselaerswijck Seminars on domestic life in New Netherland, the Age of Leisler, New Netherland and the Frontier, The Persistence of the Dutch after 1664, The Dutch in the Age of Exploration, Manor Life and Culture in the Hudson Valley, Family History, Relations between New Netherland and New England, The West India Company and the Atlantic World, and more.

Note: Books noticed on this site have been provided by the publishers. Purchases made through this Amazon link help support this site.

Early Albany Deptartment Store Exhibition Opens


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The Albany Institute of History & Art is presenting Temple of Fancy: Pease’s Great Variety Store, an exhibition featuring Richard H. Pease’s upscale “Five and Dime” where Albany families could purchase fancy goods, toys, household items, children’s books, and games from the 1830s to 1855. The exhibit will draw from the collections of the Albany Institute, and includes a reproduction of Pease’s 1850-51 Christmas card, considered to be the very first printed in America, on loan from the Manchester University Museum in England, where the only surviving copy resides. The exhibit opened November 19, and will run through March 25, 2012.

Before F. W. Woolworths’, Whitney’s, or even Myer’s department store, there was Pease’s Great Variety Store, located in the Temple of Fancy at 516 and 518 Broadway in Albany. As with other fancy goods stores, Pease’s catered to the middle and upper middle class selling highly decorated goods like ceramics, prints, furniture and other decorative household items that progressively thinking people might have wanted to purchase.

The 1844 Wilson’s Albany City Guide provides a flattering description of Pease’s: “For richness and extensive variety of novelties, combining the beautiful, the useful and the ornamental, this establishment excels any in town. Mr. P. has many fancy articles which are surpassingly rich; exceeding anything in elegance that we have ever thought, dreamed or read of.” Pease’s advertisement in the Albany Evening Journal on December 17, 1841, was the very first time Santa Claus was used to advertise a store. They also produced the hand-colored lithographs of fruit for Ebenezer Emmons’ Agriculture of New York published between 1846 and 1854.

Temple of Fancy: Pease’s Great Variety Store will be on display in the library cases at the Albany Institute of History & Art, located at 125 Washington Avenue, Albany. The exhibition . Coinciding with the exhibition, the Albany Institute has produced a 20-page booklet, “Pease’s Great Variety Store and the Story of America’s first Christmas Card”, that will be available for sale in the Museum Shop.

Illustrations: Above, courtesy Albany Institute of History & Art; below, America’s First Christmas Card, Designed and printed by Richard H. Pease for his “Pease’s Great Variety Store in the Temple of Fancy” c.1851. Image courtesy of Manchester Metropolitan University Special Collections.

Thacher Park, Indian Ladder Slideshow Sunday


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Local historian Timothy J. Albright along with land conservationist Laura A. Ten Eyck will offer a slide presentation and talk entitled “John Boyd Thacher State Park and the Indian Ladder Reserve” at the Albany Institute on Sunday, November 20 at 2 PM.

Albright and Ten Eyck will discuss the history of the wilderness that became this region’s beloved Thacher State Park. They will present many rare and unusual photographs of the land traversed by Native Americans, transformed by hardworking colonial farmers, and visited by 19th century travelers and tourists. Caves, cliffs, and legends are all part of the fascinating story.

Following the presentation, Albright and Ten Eyck will be available to answer questions and sign copies of their recently published book, John Boyd Thacher State Park and the Indian Ladder Reserve . The book is available for sale in the Albany Institute Museum Shop. This event is FREE with museum admission.

Photo: Mine Lot Falls at John Boyd Thacher State. Courtesy DEC.

Killaen van Rensselaer: Designing a New World


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A biography by New Netherland scholar Janny Venema of one of the founding directors of the Dutch West India Company and a leading figure in the establishment of the New Netherland colony Kiliaen van Rensselaer has been published by SUNY Press.

As one of the founding directors of the Dutch West India Company, he was instrumental in the establishment of the New Netherland colony on the East Coast of North America, becoming one of its first patroons. Although he never actually set foot in the New World, his patroonship, Rensselaerswyck, encompassed much of what is now New York State’s Capital District and survived as a legal entity up until the 1840s.

During the early 1600s, as the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands was locked in a war with Spain that would last for eighty years, thousands of immigrants came to Amsterdam and greatly influenced the development of the Republic. Among them was Kiliaen van Rensselaer, a young man from a small eastern town on the war front.

Young Kiliaen quickly became part of the culture of the rapidly developing city, where he was trained as a jeweler and merchant by wealthy relatives. He would work within this family network for the rest of his life, to great success.

In this biography, Venema examines the time in which Kiliaen van Rensselaer lived, his surroundings, the rapidly expanding city of Amsterdam, the great trading companies, the jewelry business, and the people in his network. Along the way, she explores his motivations and the powerful role he played in helping to establish a Dutch presence in the New World.

Janny Venema is Assistant Director of the New Netherland Research Center, which is responsible for translating the official records of the Dutch colony and promoting awareness of the Dutch role in American history. She is the author of Beverwijck: A Dutch Village on the American Frontier, 1652–1664, also published by SUNY Press in cooperation with Uitgeverij Verloren.

Note: Books noticed on this site have been provided by the publishers. Purchases made through this Amazon link help support this site.

Albany Institute Celebrates Mummy Collection


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The Albany Institute of History & Art will celebrate the 102nd anniversary of the Albany Mummies’ arrival with a Mummy Birthday Party on Sunday, November 6 from noon to 5 PM. This annual Family Festival is FREE with museum admission and will include Egyptian themed art activities, tours, and refreshments.

Learn the history of the mummies and ancient Egypt through guided tours of the Ancient Egypt exhibition at 1 PM and 3 PM. Children are invited to bring a toy to mummify in our art studio between 1 and 4 PM. Using hieroglyphics, participants can decorate cupcakes provided by The Placid Baker of Troy, NY.

The two mummies were brought to the Albany Institute from Cairo, Egypt in 1909 by Samuel W. Brown, a member of the museum’s Board of Trustees. The mummies and their coffins have been seen by generations of visitors and have become part of Albany history. They remain objects of ongoing international study, slowly unveiling clues about the ancient world in which they once lived. The Albany Institute will present a major exhibition on Egypt in 2013, The Mystery of the Albany Mummies, which will tell the full story of the mummies’ journey to Albany.

For more information about the Mummy Birthday Party contact Barbara Collins, Education Coordinator, at (518) 463-4478, ext. 405, collinsb@albanyinstitute.org.

Related Exhibition: Ancient Egypt Permanent Exhibition in the Egyptian Gallery

Three key concepts: “The Nile,” “Daily Life,” and “The Afterlife,” are explored through objects, text, and hands-on activities to give an overview of ancient Egypt. This gallery features the Albany Institute’s mummies, along with loan objects from major national museums.

Photo: Partially unwrapped mummy, male, Late Dynastic to Early Ptolemaic Period, (525-200 BC). Courtesy Albany Institute of History and Art.

State Museum Exhibits Burns Archives Photos


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A new exhibition – Shadow and Substance: African American Images from The Burns Archive – has opened at the New York State Museum, showcasing rarely-seen photographs from one of the largest private photography collections in the world.

Open through March 31, 2012 in the Photography Gallery, the exhibition allows the viewer to perceive how African-Americans were seen by others and how they wished to be seen. These images do not tell a complete story of the past, but their eloquent shadows provide unique glimpses into the lives of African-Americans over the past 160 years.

The 113 images in Shadow and Substance include portraits, snapshots and photographs of celebration, tragedy and quiet joy, work and family, strength and perseverance. From early images of slaves and Civil War soldiers to new voters and political activists, the exhibition is filled with illustrations of achievement and shocking evidence of intolerance. Some images may not be suitable for young children.

The images were culled from the comprehensive Burns Archive of Historic Vintage Photographs that include specializations in medical and health care, death and dying, sports and recreation, in addition to images of African-Americans. The collection was amassed by Dr. Stanley B. Burns, an ophthalmologist, collector and curator in New York City who was the founding donor for several photography collections, including those of the J. Paul Getty Museum and the Bronx Museum of the Arts. Burns has authored several books including “A Morning’s Work: Medical Photographs from the Burns Archive & Collection, 1843-1939”; “Sleeping Beauty: Memorial Photography in America” and “Forgotten Marriage: The Painted Tintype and Decorative Frame, 1860-1910.”

The traveling exhibition is organized by the Indiana State Museum and curated by Dr. Modupe Labode, assistant professor of history and public scholar of African-American History and Museum Studies at Indiana University.

The State Museum is a program of the New York State Education Department’s Office of Cultural Education. Located on Madison Avenue in Albany, the Museum is open Monday through Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. It is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. Admission is free. Further information about programs and events can be obtained by calling (518) 474-5877 or visiting the museum website at www.nysm.nysed.gov.

AIHA’s Annual Antiquarian Book, Ephemra Sale


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The 37th annual Antiquarian Book and Ephemera Fair will be held this Sunday, October 23, 2011 from 10 AM to 4 PM at the Washington Avenue Armory Sports and Convention Arena, 195 Washington Avenue, Albany. The fair is presented by the Albany Institute of History & Art and managed by Austin’s Antiquarian Books.

Individuals can bring their books, posters, ephemera, and collectibles and have them appraised at the fair. In addition to professional appraisals, the book fair will feature 60 dealers of rare, antiquarian, and out-of–print books, manuscripts, autographs, postcards, maps, posters, photographs, ephemera, and more. There will also be a silent auction of donated collectible items, many of local interest. All proceeds of the auction will benefit the research library of the Albany Institute of History & Art.

For vendor/appraisal information, contact Gary Austin of Austin’s Antiquarian Books by phone at (800) 556-3727. For more information, please visit www.albanybookfair.com. Admission to the book fair is $6.

Historic Albany Floods Talk by Jack Mc Eneny


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To commemorate Archives Month and in recognition of the disastrous effect of Hurricane Irene on their neighbors, County Clerk Thomas G. Clingan has invited Assemblyman John J. McEneny to speak on the topic of historic floods in Albany and the surrounding region. His presentation will be held on Wednesday, October 26th from 10 am – 12 noon at the Albany County Hall of Records. An exhibit of flood-related historical records will be on display, as well as practical information for protecting and salvaging records in water-related emergencies. Tours of the Hall of Records will also be offered.

A lifelong Albanian, McEneny graduated from Christian Brothers Academy, Siena College, New Mexico State University and Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. He served in the Peace Corps in Columbia, South America, and directed youth programs in Albany before heading the Albany City Human Resources Department from 1971-1984. McEneny served as Albany County Historian and remains involved in documenting and preserving Albany history. He is the author of the book Albany, Capital City on the Hudson, first published in 1981.

Seating for the presentation is limited. If you are interested in attending, please RSVP: 436-3663, ext. 202 or jbrothers@lbanycounty.com

Photo: Broadway in Albany on March 29, 1913 (Postcard Courtesy Albany Institute of History and Art)

‘Keeping Up With the Schuylers’ Dramatic Tours


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Historic Cherry Hill and Schuyler Mansion State Historic Site present to the public, “Keeping Up With the Schuylers,” a dramatic house tour of both historic sites. It is part of the special series: Got Class? Status and Power in Early America presented by Historic Cherry Hill and Schuyler Mansion State Historic Site and funded by the New York Council for the Humanities.

The dramatic tour begins at Historic Cherry Hill in the year 1787. The public will meet the 18th century Van Rensselaer family inhabitants of the Cherry Hill home. The tour continues at Schuyler Mansion State Historic Site where visitors will find the Schuyler Mansion household preparing for the approaching nuptials of General Schuyler’s son, John Bradstreet Schuyler to Catherine Van Rensselaer.

This unique dramatic tour will explore the subtleties of class within Albany’s 18th century elite. The public will be able to compare the households of two of Albany’s prominent citizens and determine for themselves what it meant to be a gentleman in the founding era of the United States. Dramatic tours will be offered to the public on Thursday October 20th at 3:00pm and 5:00pm and on Saturday, October 22nd at 9:30am, 12:00pm and 2:30pm.

The dramatic tour is a ticketed event. The cost of tickets is $12.00 per person. To purchase tickets for this event please call Historic Cherry Hill at 518-434-4791 or email mary@historiccherryhill.org.

Historic Cherry Hill, located at 523 ½ South Pearl Street in Albany, NY, is a non-profit historic house museum built in 1787 and was lived in continuously by five generations of the same family until the death of the last family member in 1963. The museum is currently undergoing a large restoration project and offers a Behind-the-Scenes Restoration tour from April through December, on Wednesday afternoons at 1, 2 and 3pm and Saturday afternoons at 2 and 3pm. Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors and college students and $2 for children between the ages of 12 and 18. An Architecture Hunt for Families is also offered on Saturdays between 1 and 2pm at the admission price of $2 for adults and $1 for children ages 6-11. Visit Historic Cherry Hill’s website at www.historiccherryhill.org for more information.

Schuyler Mansion State Historic Site, located at 32 Catherine Street in Albany, NY, was once the home of Philip J. Schuyler, the renowned Revolutionary War General, US Senator and business entrepreneur. He and his wife Catharine Van Rensselaer descended from affluent and powerful Dutch families. Together they raised eight children in this home. Throughout the Schuyler family occupancy from 1763-1804, the mansion was the site of military strategizing, political hobnobbing, elegant social affairs, and an active family life. Guided tours are available mid-May through October 31st, and are offered on the hour, Wednesday through Sunday, 11:00am to 4:00pm. Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors and college students. Children under 12 are free. Visit www.schuylerfriends.org for more information about Schuyler Mansion State Historic Site.

Illustration: Schuyler Mansion.

‘Shades of Gentility’ Saturday Lecture in Albany


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Historic Cherry Hill and Schuyler Mansion State Historic Site will present “Shades of Gentility”, a lecture on refinement given by Historic Cherry Hill’s curator, Deborah Emmons-Andarawis. Emmons-Andarawis will explore the homes and possessions of three of 18th century Albany’s leading citizens – Philip Van Rensselaer, Stephen Van Rensselaer III, and Philip Schuyler – in order to uncover the subtleties of class in early New York. This lecture is part of the special series: Got Class? Status and Power in Early America, a collaborative effort between Historic Cherry Hill and Schuyler Mansion State Historic Site. The Got Class? Series is funded by the New York Council for the Humanities.

This free event will be held on Saturday, October 15th at 3:00pm at First Church in Albany. For more information about this event or the Got Class? Series call Historic Cherry Hill at (518) 434-4791 or email mary@historiccherryhill.org.

Historic Cherry Hill, located at 523 ½ South Pearl Street in Albany, NY, is a non-profit historic house museum built in 1787 and was lived in continuously by five generations of the same family until the death of the last family member in 1963. The museum is currently undergoing a large restoration project and offers a Behind-the-Scenes Restoration tour from April through December, on Wednesday afternoons at 1, 2 and 3pm and Saturday afternoons at 2 and 3pm. Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors and college students and $2 for children between the ages of 12 and 18. An Architecture Hunt for Families is also offered on Saturdays between 1 and 2pm at the admission price of $2 for adults and $1 for children ages 6-11. Visit Historic Cherry Hill’s website at www.historiccherryhill.org for more information.

Schuyler Mansion State Historic Site, located at 32 Catherine Street in Albany, NY, was once the home of Philip J. Schuyler, the renowned Revolutionary War General, US Senator and business entrepreneur. He and his wife Catharine Van Rensselaer descended from affluent and powerful Dutch families. Together they raised eight children in this home. Throughout the Schuyler family occupancy from 1763-1804, the mansion was the site of military strategizing, political hobnobbing, elegant social affairs, and an active family life. Guided tours are available mid-May through October 31st, and are offered on the hour, Wednesday through Sunday, 11:00am to 4:00pm. Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors and college students. Children under 12 are free. Visit www.schuylerfriends.org for more information about Schuyler Mansion State Historic Site.

Saturdays are ‘Play for All’ Day at AIHA


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The Albany Institute of History & Art is hosting “Play for All” on Saturdays throughout the run of the exhibit Kid Stuff: Great Toys from Our Childhood.

The program debuts last weekend to coincide with the opening of Kid Stuff, an exhibition celebrating the great toys from the 1950s and 1960s. The highly participatory show has ten hands-on toy stations including a LEGO construction site, Twister, magnetic Mr. Potato Head (and friends) game and more. “Play for All” enhances the experience with museum educators in the galleries to help visitors play and interact with all the exhibition has to offer. The program will also include additional art stations, which will vary each week. Plus, children who stop by may take home a FREE Slinky style spring toy (while supplies last).

“Play for All” is FREE with museum admission, and will take place during regular museum hours on Saturdays from 10 AM until 5 PM. There will be an extra session held on Sunday, October 9 as part of MoHu Fest.

“Play for All” will be held on the following days:

October 15, 22, 29

November 5, 12, 19

December 3, 10, 17

January 7, 14, 21, 28

February 4, 11, 18, 25

March 3

Childhood Toys Highlight of New Albany Exhibit


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The Albany Institute of History & Art has opened a new exhibit, Kid Stuff: Great Toys from Our Childhood. This exhibition, based on the book by David Hoffman, was created by the Berkshire Museum and is on the last stop of its national tour.

From Slinky’s and Wooly Willy’s to Lionel Trains and Barbie Dolls, Kid Stuff takes visitors back to the age of tailfins and vinyl records with more than 40 toys from decades ago to see vintage toys with original packaging and promotional materials and have the opportunity to play and interact with contemporary versions. Additional displays such as photos of toy factory interiors, images of children at play, video presentations, and interpretive texts depict how toys work and their significance in American culture.

Enhancing the exhibition are ten interactive components that invite visitors to play with many of the classic toys they see on display. The hands-on stations include a LEGO construction site, Twister, a magnetic Mr. Potato Head (and friends) game, and more. The museum will host “Play for All” Saturdays throughout the run of the exhibition, which include additional interactive art stations as well as museum educators in the galleries to guide visitors through the hands-on components of the exhibition.

The exhibit will be on display through March 4, 2012.

1950-70s Car Show Planned for Downtown Albany


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The Saratoga Automobile Museum and the Downtown Albany Business Improvement District (BID) have announced that the Downtown Albany Fall Car Show, an ‘open air’ event, will be held on Saturday, October 15 from 11 am to 4 pm.

North Pearl Street will be closed from Pine Street to Sheridan Avenue to create an exhibition and judging area for the show, which will showcase automobiles and motorcycles from all eras but focus on vehicles from the 50′s, 60′s and 70′s.

The BID has partnered with the Saratoga Automobile Museum in organizing the show, which will be held rain or shine.

Retailers and restaurants throughout Downtown will be open during the Car Show, with many planning on having specials and sales. Additionally, a balloon artist will be taking requests and the Devil Dawg plans on making an appearance. Music is also anticipated throughout the Downtown restaurants and pubs. An event guide will be available on the BIDs website as the event draws near. Visitors should note as well that the Downtown Albany Restaurant Week, set for Oct. 13-21, will overlap the event and provide great post-event dining options.

The event is free for spectators. Vehicles and motorcycles can be pre-registered for $10 or registered the day of for $15. To register, contact Peter Perry at the Saratoga Automobile Museum at 518-587-1935 ext. 17 or e-mail peter.perry@saratogaautomuseum.org. Information is also available online at www.downtownalbany.org or by calling 518-465-2143 ext. 13.

State Museum, Library, Archives Closed Saturday


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The New York State Museum, State Library and State Archives will be closed to the public on Saturday, September 24 due to semi-annual routine maintenance of electrical systems in the Cultural Education Center.

The Cultural Education Center is closed on Sundays. The State Museum, Library and Archives will reopen on Monday, September 26.

The State Museum, Archives and Library are part of the Office of Cultural Education (OCE) and are programs of the New York State Education Department. They are located on Madison Avenue in Albany. Admission is free. Further information can be obtained by calling (518) 474-5877 or visiting the OCE website.

Meet New Netherland Center’s Resident Scholar


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Dr. Eric Ruijssenaars, the New Netherland Research Center’s first Senior Scholar in Residence and founder of Dutch Archives, a historical research firm in Leiden, will discuss his research at a luncheon on Wednesday, October 5 at the National Register-listed University Club of Albany, 141 Washington Avenue at Dove Street. The buffet lunch will begin at 12:00 noon, with the presentation commencing at 12:30 p.m., followed by a question and answer period.

Although a specialist in the history of Russia and the Netherlands, he is also a scholar of the Brontë sisters’ time in Brussels and has published two books on the subject.

He is currently researching the life of Abraham Staats. In 1642, Staats arrived in the Dutch colony of New Netherland to serve as a surgeon on patroon Kiliaen van Rensselaer’s vast estate, Rensselaerswijck, which is now part of Albany and Rensselaer counties. Over the course of his life, Staats became a magistrate of the court, a captain of the burgher guard, the owner of a sloop that made regular trips to New Amsterdam (New York City), and an Indian language translator. Something of an oddity in rough-and-tumble New Netherland, he remained a very respectable man and was, for that reason, regularly called on to mediate disputes between his less respectable and more litigious neighbors.

The New Netherland Research Center is a partnership of the New Netherland Institute and the New York State Office of Cultural Education. It continues and extends the work of the New York State Library’s New Netherland Project, which since 1974 has preserved, transcribed, translated, and published 17th century documents in order to make the history of the Dutch colonial presence in North America more broadly accessible for study.

The University Club of Albany Foundation, Inc. is presenting this event, and one need not be a member of the University Club to attend. The cost for the luncheon and lecture is $25. Reservations are required and may be made by calling the University Club at 518-463-1151.

Photo: The Abraham Staats House, one of the finest surviving buildings from the Dutch Settlement of the Raritan Valley in New Jersey.

Albany: Got Class? Status and Power in Early America


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Historic Cherry Hill and Schuyler Mansion State Historic Site present the first of six events in a special series funded by the New York Council for the Humanities called: Got Class? Status and Power in Early America. Dr. Tamara Plakins Thornton, history professor at the State University of New York, Buffalo, will explore the nuances of class in 18th century America in her lecture, Status and Power in Early America, the opening program of the Got Class? series. The lecture takes place on Saturday, September 17th at 2pm at the Carole F. Huxley Theater at the New York State Museum. A reception will follow the lecture.

In early America, wealthy southern planters, northern merchants and Hudson River families like the Schuylers and Van Rensselaers liked to think of themselves as American aristocrats even though they lived in a land with no real dukes and earls. Dr. Thornton’s talk will explore the many ways in which America’s upper classes strove to distinguish themselves from common folk, imitate Old World aristocrats, and establish themselves as an elite. Dr. Thornton is the author of the book Cultivating Gentlemen: The Meaning of Country Life among the Boston Elite, 1785-1860.

This is a ticket-only event and tickets must be purchased prior to September 17th. The registration deadline for the lecture is September 10th, 2011. The cost of tickets are $10.00 per person which includes the lecture and reception following. To register please call Mary at Historic Cherry Hill at 518-434-4791 or email mary@historiccherryhill.org.

Historic Cherry Hill, located at 523 ½ South Pearl Street in Albany, NY, is a non-profit historic house museum built in 1787 and was lived in continuously by five generations of the same family until the death of the last family member in 1963. The museum is currently undergoing a large restoration project and offers a Behind-the-Scenes Restoration tour from April through December, on Wednesday afternoons at 1, 2 and 3pm and Saturday afternoons at 2 and 3pm. Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors and college students and $2 for children between the ages of 12 and 18. An Architecture Hunt for Families is also offered on Saturdays between 1 and 2pm at the admission price of $2 for adults and $1 for children ages 6-11. Visit Historic Cherry Hill’s website at www.historiccherryhill.org for more information.

Schuyler Mansion State Historic Site, located at 32 Catherine Street in Albany, NY, was once the home of Philip J. Schuyler, the renowned Revolutionary War General, US Senator and business entrepreneur. He and his wife Catharine Van Rensselaer descended from affluent and powerful Dutch families. Together they raised eight children in this home. Throughout the Schuyler family occupancy from 1763-1804, the mansion was the site of military strategizing, political hobnobbing, elegant social affairs, and an active family life. Guided tours are available mid-May through October 31st, and are offered on the hour, Wednesday through Sunday, 11:00am to 4:00pm. Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors and college students. Children under 12 are free. Visit www.schuylerfriends.org for more information about Schuyler Mansion State Historic Site.

Albany in the Civil War Exhibit Opens Saturday


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The Albany Institute of History & Art will be opening Albany and the Civil War: Medicine on the Home and Battle Fronts on Saturday, September 3, 2011, commemorating the 150th anniversary of the war. The exhibition will focus on the medical concerns and necessities of the Civil War by examining the role of the 1864 Albany Relief Bazaar and the letters, field notes, and photographs of Albany brothers Garrett Vander Veer and Dr. Albert Vander Veer, who served as dean of Albany Medical College from 1895 and 1904. Also featured will be silver loving cup presented to Dr. Vander Veer by his students in 1907.



On the 1861 home front, President Abraham Lincoln authorized the formation of the United States Sanitary Commission to raise private funds for the medical care of the Union Troops wounded in Civil War battles. In February 1864, a group of Albany women organized the Albany Relief Bazaar and raised $17,189. This three-week event included ethnic booths, art exhibitions, tableaux, souvenir shops, and lotteries, all well-documented with detailed photographs.

Meanwhile, on the battle front, Dr. Albert and Garrett Vander Veer kept detailed accounts of their experiences on Civil War battlefields. Albert, a doctor who served as a surgeon for the Sixty-Sixth at Gettysburg, kept detailed records of each of the soldiers he treated. He also used his battlefield experiences to advance the quality of medical practices when he returned to Albany. He would later go on to become an influential professor and internationally known surgeon at Albany Medical College and Hospital – an association that lasted for more than 60 years. Garret Vander Veer, who was killed in action, wrote numerous poignant letters home describing his battlefield experiences.

The exhibition, supported by Albany Medical Center, will be open through February 26, 2011 and will be displayed in the Albany Institute’s entry gallery.



Photo: Garrett Vander Veer, Vander Veer Family Photographs, Albany Institute of History & Art Library.

George Washington Exhibit Headed to Albany


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The Albany Institute of History & Art will be opening First in the Hearts of His Countrymen: George Washington on Saturday, August 27, 2011. This exhibition features objects from the collections of the Albany Institute and private collectors that memorialize and commemorate the country’s first president. It showcases objects ranging from the 18th century to the present day.

By some, Washington is thought to be the greatest American hero and his picture inspired patriotism even during his lifetime. When George Washington died of a throat infection on December 14, 1799, the nation wept and mourned as it never had before. When the news spread abroad Napoleon ordered a week of mourning for the deceased leader, and flags throughout Europe were lowered to half-mast.



Such was the impact of America’s iconic first president, whose likeness both during life and since his death has adorned and inspired thousands of artists, sculptors, and craftspeople. First in the Hearts of His Countrymen: George Washington will showcase an eclectic array of items from the Albany Institute’s own collection, including teapots, plates, busts, documents, personal correspondence, lithographs, paintings, and even a walking stick cut from a tree near his Mount Vernon grave site, all paying tribute to this purely American hero.

The exhibition pays tribute to the most famous face in American history, and to the man who was first in the hearts of his countrymen. It will remain on display until May 20, 2012, fittingly located at 125 Washington Avenue (and just a few blocks from Washington Park).

The institute is no taking reservations for school groups; contact education@albanyinstitute.org for more information.

Illustration: George Washington (1732-1799), Ezra Ames (1768-1836), 1826, Oil on canvas, Albany Institute of History & Art, gift of Albany Gallery of Fine Arts.