Beginning in the mid-1800s, steamboats carried people between New York City and the Albany area on the Hudson River. Romantic images lull us into believing it was a quiet means of travel, but a crowded river, faulty equipment and the bravado of the captains resulted in at least one major catastrophe every year. Night boats collided and sank, carelessness caused boiler explosions, races put passengers at risk and fires would quickly swallow the wooden vessels.
The grand Empire of Troy suffered many collisions. The Swallow broke in two on a rock, Reindeer’s explosion took forty lives at once and the Oregon and C. Vanderbilt entered into an epic and dangerous race. Collected from eyewitness accounts, these are some of the most exciting and frightening stories of peril aboard steamboats on the Hudson River. Now, local historian J. Thomas Allison has written Hudson River Steamboat Catastrophes: Contests and Collisions (History Press, 2013). Allison provides an entertaining look at the romantic but perilous age of steamboat travel on the Hudson River, including tales of reckless captains racing each other and passengers’ eyewitness accounts of collisions, crashes, explosions, and fires. Continue reading
John Gabriel and Rick Kelly, two cousins who grew up together listening to radio in the Capital Region, have written one of Arcadia Publishing’s popular Images of America series books entitled Capital Region Radio 1920-2011. The book tells the history of Albany region radio programs and personalities from its early days to recent years through more than 200 vintage images.
The General Electric Company, with one of its main plants in Schenectady, began experimental broadcasts in conjunction with Union College in the early 1900s. Using many culled from the miSci Museum in Schenectady, and others, this new pictorial history shares the story of when WGY officially began broadcasting in February 1922 and General Electric started a long and storied history of pioneering radio technology and programming, which ultimately set the pace for worldwide broadcast development. Capital Region Radio pioneer WGY provided entertainment and news nationally during World War II, WTRY kept listeners updated during the blackout of 1965 and WOKO introduced rock and roll to the area. Continue reading
On Saturday, April 12 from 4pm to 7pm, the Table Hopping Blog and the Albany Institute of History & Art will host the third annual Hudson Valley Hops. This event is a celebration of the strong history of brewing in Albany and today’s craft beer industry. Guests can sample local craft beers, hear talks by beer historians and brewery experts, enjoy food, and take home a commemorative glass.
There will also be a special exhibition with artifacts that tell the history of brewing in Albany and the capital region. Historic photographs, advertisements, and packaging from local brewers will be on view for this event. Continue reading
The Albany Institute of History & Art will offer FREE admission to the museum on Monday, January 20, 2014 from 10AM-5PM. Gallery Tours will take place at 1PM and 3:30PM.
Guests of all ages are invited to spend the day viewing several new exhibitions including The Mystery of the Albany Mummies; Big and Bold: Contemporary Paintings, Collage, and Sculpture from the Albany Institute’s Collection (in the recently renovated Lansing Gallery); and The Hudson River School and the Nineteenth-Century Landscape. Additional exhibitions include, Traders and Culture: Colonial Albany and the Formation of American Identity; Nineteenth-Century American Sculpture: Erastus Dow Palmer and His Protégés Launt Thompson, Charles Calverley, and Richard Park (in the recently renovated Sculpture Court); Robert Hewson Pruyn: An Albanian in Japan, 1862-1865; and A Gather of Glass: Selections from the Museum’s Collection. Gallery Tours, led by museum docents, will start at 1PM and 3:30PM, and are also free. Continue reading
Historic Cherry Hill has been awarded funding from the Pine Tree Foundation of New York for the conservation, rehousing, and select digitization of the museum’s collection of Van Rensselaer family receipt books and related clippings.
In all, there are 13 receipt books and numerous clippings and recipe fragments (in both manuscript and printed form) dating from the mid-eighteenth century through the early 20th century. The receipt books belonged to members of the Cherry Hill household. Continue reading
On Saturday January 4, 2014 Crailo State Historic Site will welcome visitors for its annual Twelfth Night Celebration from 4:00 pm until 7:00 pm. Twelfth Night was one of the traditional holidays celebrated by the Dutch and English colonists of early New York. Twelfth Night was the final holiday of the season and was marked with unsurpassed feasting and revelry.
Featured during the event will be decorations, hearthside cooking demonstrations, seasonal music, seventeenth century reenactors, the Jolly Toy lady, and refreshments. In addition the Marketplace Museum Shop will be open, with a selection of unique items. Continue reading
The Albany Institute of History & Art will host veteran newspaperman and Albany Times Union editor at large, Harry Rosenfeld, for a lecture about his recent book, From Kristallnacht to Watergate: Memoirs of a Newspaperman on Sunday, December 15 at 2PM.
Rosenfeld will recount some of the most compelling moments of his life, from his childhood in Hitler’s Berlin, to his years at the Washington Post. After the lecture, Rosenfeld will be available to answer questions about the historic events he witnessed and he will also sign copies of his book. The lecture and book signing is organized by the Museum Shop at the Albany Institute of History & Art and is free with museum admission. Continue reading
The New York State Museum has opened a new exhibit featuring a selection of important New York State decorative and fine arts artifacts that were recently donated to the Museum by Peter Wunsch, President of the Wunsch Americana Foundation.
The exhibit, Building a Collection: E. Martin Wunsch and His Passion for Collecting New York State Decorative Arts, will be on display through March 5, 2014. The Museum’s Wunsch Collection consists of furniture, paintings, silver, ceramics and folk art crafted primarily between 1700 and 1900. The objects have labels indicating they were made by New York craftsmen or have a documented New York history. The Wunsch Collection illustrates changing stylistic trends in decorative arts and provides insight into how New Yorkers once lived. Continue reading
Individuals and organizations desiring to present programs at the annual conference of The New York State Council for the Social Studies and The New York Social Studies Supervisory Association at the Hilton in Albany on March 27-29 can now do so online.
The theme of this year’s confernce is Linking Communities Together: Academic, Civic and Cultural. In order to submit a proposal you will first need to become a member at a cost of $25 by clicking here. For each program delivered, presenters will receive $25 to cover personal expenses (travel, copying, etc.) related to program delivery. Continue reading
In recognition of Archives Month and in celebration of Albany County’s 330th Anniversary there will be an Open House at the Albany County Hall of Records to see an exhibit of Albany’s earliest records on Thursday, October 31, 2013, from 10AM to 12 noon.
The highlight of the exhibits on display will be the Dongan Charter, the original charter that made Albany a city in 1686. Although the charter is faded, the signature of Governor Thomas Dongan is still visible at the bottom of the last page, as is Dongan’s seal which is attached to the page with red wax and a tan and blue cord.
The Albany Ale Project is bringing back some of the beers of Albany’s past! In partnership with C.H. Evans Brewing Company, an adaptation of a 1901 recipe for “Amsdell’s Albany XX Ale” is about to be available for the first time in over 100 years.
A ceremonial “cask tap” event is planned for Saturday, November 2, 2013, from 5 to 7pm, at the Albany Institute of History & Art, to celebrate its return. Speakers include: the founding members of the Albany Ale Project, C.H. Evans’ brewer Ryan Demler, and the Institute’s Curator of History and Material Culture, Dr. W. Douglas McCombs. Food will be available and, of course, C.H. Evan’s version of one of Albany’s historic brews. Continue reading
In conjunction with its newest exhibition The Mystery of the Albany Mummies, the Albany Institute of History & Art will host an international lecture series. The first lecture will take place on this Sunday, September 22, 2013, at 2 PM.
Dr. Peter Lacovara, Senior Curator of Ancient Egyptian, Nubian, and Near Eastern Art at the Michael C. Carlos Museum in Atlanta, and guest curator of the new exhibition, will explore how he helped solve the mystery of the Albany mummies, gathered objects from around the world to tell the story of Ankhefenmut and his coffin, and how the exhibition offers a window into the life in ancient Egypt’s 21st Dynasty. The lecture is free with museum admission. Continue reading
Nationally acclaimed folk musicians Jay Ungar and Molly Mason along with Kim and Reggie Harris will present a free concert at the Clark Auditorium of the New York State Museum in Albany at 7:00 p.m. this Saturday, September 21st. The concert features Civil War music and highlights a weekend celebration of the Museum’s award-winning exhibition “An Irrepressible Conflict: The Empire State in the Civil War.” Continue reading
The Albany Ale Project has launched a new website, albanyaleproject.com. The site revolves around the extensive history of brewing and beer making in the City of Albany, and the research into re-discovering the 19th century phenomenon of Albany Ale, a double XX strength ale brewed across the city and exported around the world.
The new website has biographies of key players in the research of Albany Ale; a history of brewing in Albany from the 17th century to today; images from the collections of the Albany Institute of History and Art; and more. It’s hoped the website will serve as a hub for information on Albany Ale. Continue reading
A new exhibit of Civil War battle flags, “1863: Loyal Till Death,” is on display at the State Capitol, featuring ten flags carried upon the distant battlefields in the third year of the war, including those from the war’s most decisive stage, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
This exhibition includes special flags procured and presented to regiments by local patrons and politicians, unique personalized flags, and battle-damaged colors that, like the regiments they represented, were mere fragments of their once pristine and whole existence. Continue reading
The New York State Library on Madison Avenue in Albany is a treasure trove of genealogy resources. This month, library staff will present two public programs for those tracing their family histories.
“Genealogy Online with HeritageQuest and Ancestry Library” will be held this Saturday, August 10, 2013 from 10:30am to noon at 7th floor computer classroom. Senior Librarian Stephanie Barrett will demonstrate the HeritageQuest and Ancestry online databases, both of which are accessible at the New York State Library. Participants will learn how to access census records, genealogy and history book, maps and other resources included in these databases. Seating is limited and registration is required. Continue reading
Last Monday, Governor Andrew Cuomo inaugurated the Adirondack Challenge as an upstate tourist initiative. The Indian River rafting challenge was issued to New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who, according to news reports, is more familiar with yachts than inflatable rafts. The State defeated the City by 18 seconds in the three mile race. A wet and good time was had by all.
Governor Cuomo’s love for upstate (in particular the Adirondacks, not, say Syracuse), is well known. According to the New York Times a year before the Path through History roll-out, the Governor “has conspicuously avoided leaving the state” save for driving on the Palisades Interstate Parkway when headed north from the city. As Cuomo put it: “You can have the best vacation of your life right here in the state of New York. I see no reason to go anywhere else. It’s my state and I’m sticking to it.” Continue reading
The Albany Institute of History & Art is currently exhibiting, Sixty Years and Still Collecting: Norman S. Rice. The exhibition includes highlights of the Albany Institute of History & Art’s remarkable collection of artwork, historical objects, and research materials assembled by Director Emeritus Norman S. Rice. He has served as the facilitator, and in some cases the actual donor, of many of the Institute’s greatest treasures.
Since his arrival in 1953 as curator, to the present day and his somewhat less demanding role as director emeritus, Rice has kept the Institute and Albany’s rich cultural history forefront in his thoughts and actions. In the exhibition Sixty Years and Still Collection: Norman S. Rice, a sample of Rice’s favorite objects is the focus of attention. Over 45 items are displayed and they demonstrate Rice’s passion for regional art and history, they showcase the wide variety of items Rice brought into the collection and they reveal the many ways Rice acquired objects for the Institute. Continue reading
The Albany Institute of History & Art will be hosting its second event featuring Hudson Valley Hops on Saturday, April 20, 2013 from 4-7pm.
The event will be a celebration of the history of brewing in Albany and today’s craft beer industry in and around the Hudson Valley. Guests can sample the finest local craft beers, engage with experts in the field, enjoy an assortment of food and tour the museum galleries. Continue reading
The following essay by Albany County Clerk Thomas Clingan is reprinted with permission from the Tivoli Times, the newsletter of the Albany County Hall of Records (ACHOR). ACHOR celebrated its 30th Anniversary in October.
Albany County can trace its records management program to a 1978 National Historical Publications and Records Commission (“NHRPC”) grant of $9235 to inventory Albany County Clerk records, accepted by the Albany County Legislature in Resolution 99 of 1978. This first modern inventory was completed and printed in 1979. The theft and quick recovery of County Clerk’s oldest Dutch record book in May 1980 increased public awareness of the need to safeguard these documents, and in January 1981, Resolution 10 of that year accepted a further $20,000 NHPRC grant to study the possibility of a joint city and county archives and records management system.