Tag Archives: Albany

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.

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.

Four Indian Kings Lecture in Albany Thursday

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On Thursday, November 17, the State University of New York Press will present the Third Annual John G. Neihardt Lecture, featuring a talk by renowned novelist, historian, and lifelong dream explorer Robert Moss. Co-sponsored by the Albany Institute of History & Art, the event, which is free and open to the public, will be held at the Albany Institute, located at 125 Washington Avenue in downtown Albany. The program will begin at 4:00 pm and a reception will follow the lecture.

Moss will begin his lecture, “Four Indian Kings, Dream Archaeology, and the Iroquois Struggle for Survival on the New York Frontier,” with a bit of entertainment by following the adventures of Four Indian Kings at the court of Queen Anne in 1710 as they are taken to see Macbeth and to a horrible scene of bear-baiting. He will then discuss his own development of a discipline he calls dream archaeology which involves reclaiming authentic knowledge of ancestral traditions through a combination of careful research, active dreamwork, and shamanic journeying across time and between dimensions. He will end his lecture by delving into the Iroquois struggle for survival before the American Revolution.

Born in Australia, Robert Moss is the bestselling author of nine novels, including his Cycle of the Iroquois (Fire Along the Sky, The Firekeeper, and The Interpreter) and nine nonfiction books on dreaming, shamanism, and imagination, including Conscious Dreaming, Dreamways of the Iroquois, and The Secret History of Dreaming. A former lecturer in ancient history at the Australian National University, magazine editor and foreign correspondent, he spent seven years researching the background to his Cycle of the Iroquois, walking the battlefields of the French and Indian War, studying the languages, traditions, and spiritual practices of the Iroquois and their neighbors, and mining documentary sources. He gives lectures and seminars all over the world. Moss lives in upstate New York.

John G. Neihardt (1881-1973) was the celebrated author of many books of poetry, fiction, and philosophy. His work includes The River and I; Man-Song; and the legendary Black Elk Speaks: Being the Life Story of a Holy Man of the Oglala Sioux all of which are available from SUNY Press. The John G. Neihardt Lecture was established by Coralie Hughes, Neihardt’s granddaughter, in honor of his legacy.

For more information on SUNY Press and the Neihart Lecture can be found online.

Photo: Hendrick Tejonihokarawa, one of the “Four Indian Kings” who traveled to London in 1710. The print, by John Verelst, is entitled “Tee Yee Neen Ho Ga Row, Emperor of the Six Nations.” The title “Emperor” was a bit of a stretch, he belonged to the council of the Mohawk tribe, but not to that of the Iroquois Confederacy as a whole.

Photographer Hardie Truesdale at AIHA

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Renowned photographer Hardie Truesdale will be presenting images from his stunning new book Hudson River Towns: Highlights from the Capital Region to Sleepy Hollow Country at the Albany Institute on Sunday, November 13 at 2 PM.

Published in October 2011 by SUNY Press/ Excelsior Editions, this book is the newest collaboration between Truesdale and regional travel writer Joanne Michaels. With more than 120 full-color photographs that lavishly display the dramatic faces of the cities, towns, and villages along the river, Hudson River Towns reveals a dimension of the region unseen by most travelers and local residents.

Taking this armchair journey through one of America’s most beautiful and historic regions will inspire everyone to think differently about their surroundings. Following the lecture Truesdale will be available to answer questions and sign copies of the book, which is available for sale in the Albany Institute Museum Shop. This event is FREE and open to the public.

Vietnam War Graffiti Exhibit Opens Veterans Day

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The personal thoughts and feelings of American soldiers and Marines going to war in Southeast Asia come to life in the “Marking Time: Voyage to Vietnam” exhibition opening Nov. 11 (Veterans Day) at the New York State Museum.

The stories of these soldiers and Marines are told through the graffiti they left behind on the bunk canvases they slept on, aboard a ship that brought them to Vietnam in 1966-67. Eight canvases inscribed by soldiers from New York state are included in the traveling exhibition, open until Feb. 26, 2012. Uncertain about their future, the young troop passengers inscribed personal thoughts about families, hometowns, patriotism, love, anxiety, discomfort and humor.

Their canvases, bunks and personal items were discovered in 1997 onboard the General Nelson M. Walker. The transport ship was being scrapped after seeing service during World War II and the Korean and Vietnam wars. In between it was in reserve status in a Hudson River berthing area, near New York City, for six years. Military historian Art Beltrone discovered the historic graffiti and other artifacts during a trip to Virginia’s James River Reserve Fleet, where the ship had been relocated from New York.

When discovered, the Walker was a veritable floating time capsule, filled with hundreds of historical artifacts relating to the Vietnam War, the 1960s, and the men who went to war. Many of those artifacts will be on display. Included is an original eight-man rack of sleeping bunks, complete with the original mattresses, sheets, pillows, blankets and life vests. The rack shows how confining living space was during the uncomfortable 18-23 day, over 5,000-mile voyage to Vietnam. There also is clothing, shoes, comic books, magazines and copies of The Walker Report, the ship’s official newspaper written, printed and distributed by troop passengers. Other personal objects left behind, such as playing cards, empty cigarette and candy wrappers, liquor bottles, religious tracts and rosary beads, were found hidden under the sheets.

The multi-dimensional exhibition also includes two short films, “Marking Time: Voyage to Vietnam” and “Discovery of a Forgotten Troopship,” which can also be viewed online.

The exhibition is curated by Beltrone and his wife, Lee of Keswick, Va. Together they founded the Vietnam Graffiti Project (VGP) which, assisted by the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, is dedicated to finding the graffiti writers and Walker voyage passengers to tell and preserve their stories. VGP is still trying to identify many of the writers, including many of those from New York state. Among those who have been found are Harmon Adams of Kenmore, near Buffalo, and Dave Dubreck of Churchville, near Rochester.

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.

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.

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

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 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.

Albany Institute: Exhibits Closing and Those Opening

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The following is a listing of soon to be closed and upcoming exhibitions appearing at the Albany Institute of History & Art. Dates, times, and details are subject to change. Call (518) 463-4478 or visit www.albanyinstitute.org for more information.




The term “Hudson River School” is used to describe paintings made by two generations of artists beginning in 1825 with Thomas Cole and flourishing for about 50 years. These artists are best known for their large panoramic views of landscapes throughout North and South America, Europe, and the Middle East. Their subject matter ranges from the sublime views of the wilderness, to beautiful pastoral scenes influenced by man, to allegorical pictures with moral messages. The Albany Institute of History & Art has been collecting materials related to the Hudson River School artists for more than 150 years. The museum’s collection includes 60 paintings, sketchbooks, photographs, paint boxes, and manuscript materials related to all of the major artists associated with this movement, recognized as the first school of American painting. This exhibition includes 25 paintings and complements an additional 20 works in the adjacent Lansing Gallery.
Square, Round and Lansing galleries

Hans-Joachim Richard Christoph (1903–1992), known familiarly as Hajo, lived through most of the 20th century and witnessed firsthand its high points and low moments. Born in Berlin, Germany, in 1903, he trained at the Reimann Schule following World War I, a time of artistic experiment and expression. When he immigrated to the United States in 1925, he brought training and skill that served him well as a graphic designer, first at the New York office of Lucien Bernhard and later at the Fort Orange Paper Company in Castleton, New York. Hajo created fresh, bold designs for Kenwood Mills, the Embossing Company, and other manufacturers, all meant to captivate and entice modern American consumers. In his spare time Hajo painted quiet landscapes that reflect the peaceful, small-town charms of the upper Hudson Valley. Hajo: An Artist’s Journey, tells the story of an immigrant artist, his journey from Europe to the Hudson Valley, and his artistic explorations. Sketchbooks, drawings, paintings, graphic designs, and photographs span the breadth of Hajo’s world and the art he created to capture it.
Jabbur Gallery



Earth’s most abundant substance is the subject of this cross-disciplinary exhibition of literature and art. Featuring 19 paintings, hung adjacent to literary excerpts and accompanied by statements from the artists, From the Page’s Edge looks at written depictions of water in visual terms. Exhibition curated by Virginia Creighton. Catalogue available for sale in the Museum Shop. Sponsored by the New York Foundation for the Arts.
Rice House Drawing Room



The Albany Institute of History & Art presents an assortment of its latest acquisitions in the museum’s Entry Gallery. Items on display include a spectacular 12-piece silver serving set presented to Thomas Schuyler (1811–1866) in January 1859. The well-known Albany philanthropist, business leader, ship captain, and owner of the Schuyler Tow Boat Company, received the silver presentation set from a group of friends and business associates. The large tray, engraved with a large image of the towboat, America, owned by Schuyler’s company. The engraving is taken directly from a painting of the towboat painted by James Bard (1815–1897) in 1852, which is in the museum’s collection. The silver, painting, and other manuscript materials will be on view, along with a history of the towboat company started by Thomas’s father, Captain Samuel Schuyler (1781–1842), who was one of Albany’s most successful businessmen of African heritage.
Entry Gallery


This annual juried exhibition is open to artists living within a 100-mile radius of the Albany and Glens Falls. Founded in 1936, the regional exhibition is among the longest running regionals in the country and occupies a major role in the history of 20th and 21st century art in the Upper Hudson Valley. Jurors over the years have included artists, poets, curators and gallery owners. The museum hosts this exhibition every three years; other partners include the University Art Museum, State University of New York and the Hyde Museum. This year’s juror is Holly Hughes, a painter, curator and professor in the Painting Department at the Rhode Island School of Design. Hughes has worked as a visiting artist and critic for more than a dozen colleges including Bennington College, Brandeis University, Middlebury College, Parson School of Design, Kansas City Art Institute and Sarah Lawrence College. This year’s exhibition includes 160 works by 85 artists.




Now under extensive reconstructive work, the Dunn Memorial Bridge linking Albany to Rensselaer is named for Parker S. Dunn, a hero of World War I. Dunn was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor posthumously for his bravery in delivering a message to a besieged company in a battle in France. Featuring photographs, letters, postcards, scrapbooks and the Medal of Honor, the exhibition highlights the life of Parker Dunn and the history and construction of the bridge.

Library Cases in Atrium


AUGUST 27, 2011–MAY 20, 2012

George Washington—farmer, military hero, founding father of the United States. He is our best known president and doubtless our most pictured president. In life, Washington gained the respect and admiration of his countrymen. Following his death in December 1799 Washington transcended mortal existence to become a symbol for America that endures to this day. Drawn from the collections of the Institute and private collectors, First in the Hearts of his Countrymen features a variety of materials that depict Washington or have personal connections to the revered figure. From paintings and prints by Alex Katz and Currier and Ives to glass flasks and cast-iron stoves, this diverse range of objects reveals our infatuation with this national hero, our memorialization of his deeds and personal character, and the inevitable marketability of Washington’s image from the late eighteenth century to the present.
Square, Round, and Jabbur Galleries


SEPTEMBER 3, 2011–FEBRUARY 26, 2012

On the Civil War home front and on the battlefields, Albany residents played key roles in providing for the medical care of the sick and wounded. This exhibition examines the medical concerns and necessities of the war through objects, photographs, broadsides, and letters. Featured are materials related to the 1864 Albany Relief Bazaar held in support of the U.S. Sanitary Commission, created and sanctioned by the U.S. War Department to raise funds for medical supplies and to improve camp conditions for Union troops. The exhibition compares the home front efforts of the Relief Bazaar with the field notes and correspondence of Albert Vander Veer, an Albany physician and surgeon, and his brother Garrett, a soldier who sent home revealing letters about battles, camp life, and the mental stress caused by the war. Images of Abraham Lincoln, national leader and inspirational force throughout the conflict will accompany the exhibition. This exhibition is supported by Albany Medical Center.
Entry Gallery


OCTOBER 1, 2011–March 4, 2012

Slinkys, Wooly Willys, Whee-los, Magic Eight Balls, Magic Yo-Yo’s, Etch A Sketch®, Spirographs, Colorforms, Matchbox® Cars, PEZ Dispensers, LEGO®s, Erector sets, Lionel Trains, Tonkas, Hot Wheels, Frisbee®s, G.I. Joes, BarbieTM Dolls, Tinker Toys, Lincoln Logs, and Mr. Potato Head brought hours of fun and entertainment to kids throughout the 1950s and 60s. Many of these toys from the past still appear on store shelves today, holding their own against the onslaught of computerized games and robotic pets. Kid Stuff, an interactive exhibition based on the book by David Hoffman, takes us back to the age of tailfins and vinyl records with more than 40 vintage toys, which reveal a fascinating look at invention and innovation, social history and industrial growth, play and entertainment. Visitors of all ages will be able to see vintage toys with original packaging and promotional material and have the opportunity to play and interact with contemporary versions. Additional materials such as photos of toy factory interiors, images of children at play, video presentations, and interpretive texts explore the toys’ invention and evolution, how they work, and their significance in American culture. The exhibition was designed by Amy Reichert Architecture+Design with graphic design and art direction by Winstanley Associates. Kid Stuff will occupy nearly 5,000 square feet in the second floor galleries at the Albany Institute.
Main Floor Galleries


NOVEMBER 19, 2011–MARCH 25, 2012

Before F. W. Woolworths’, or Whitney’s, or even Myer’s department store in Albany, there was Pease Great Variety Store located in the Temple of Fancy at 518 Broadway. From the 1840s to the 1860s Pease’s store was something of an upscale “Five and Dime,” where Albany families could purchase fancy goods, toys, household items, children’s books, and games. The building still stands at the corner of Broadway and Pine Street. Richard H. Pease, and later Harry E. Pease, were proprietors of the store and also noted printers. They printed the first Christmas card in America in 1851 (only one of which exists at the Manchester Metropolitan Museum in England) and they also produced the hand-colored lithographs of fruit for Ebenezer Emmons’ Agriculture of New York published between 1846 and 1854. The exhibit will draw from the collections of the Albany Institute and include photographs, prints, children’s books, card games, and puzzles.

Library Cases in Atrium

Civil War Battle Flag Exhibit Opens at Capitol

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A new exhibit of Civil War battle flags, “1861: Banners for Glory,” has been unveiled at the State Capitol, featuring eight flags significant in the first year of the war – including the storied Marshall House Flag, which prompted one of the first skirmishes of the war.

“As the nation looks back on the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War, I encourage New Yorkers to visit this moving exhibit in the State’s Capitol,” said Rose Harvey, Commissioner of the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. The flags are a physical connection to our nation’s history, and I am tremendously grateful to the private individuals and organizations who have partnered with New York State to make this exhibit possible.”

“The collection of New York’s historic battle flags held by the Division of Military and Naval Affairs on behalf of the citizens of New York is a reminder of the courage and sacrifice of the almost 500,000 New Yorkers who fought in the Civil War,” said Major General Patrick Murphy, the Adjutant General of New York. “I’m pleased that this exhibit will allow more New Yorkers to share in that history.”

The exhibition will run in the New York State Capitol’s eastern entrance area through June 2012. The exhibit is taking place thanks to a combination of a $30,000 grant from the Coby Foundation, a New York City organization that funds projects in the textile and needle arts, and approximately $13,000 in donations from private citizens.

The exhibit features the massive 14- by 24-foot Marshall House Flag, which Colonel Elmer Ellsworth of the 11th New York Volunteers, attempted to remove from the Marshall House hotel in Alexandria, Virginia – a flag visible across the Potomac in Washington, D.C. With a small party, Ellsworth climbed to the roof and cut down the flag prompting an exchange of gunfire with hotel owner James Jackson, in which both Ellsworth and Jackson were killed.

The Marshall House incident became national news and plunged the entire country into mourning – the North for Ellsworth, the South for Jackson. President Abraham Lincoln, ordered an honor guard to deliver Ellsworth’s body to the White House for a funeral service. Ellsworth, the first Union officer to be killed in the conflict was then laid in state at City Hall in New York City and the State Capitol in Albany respectively before being buried in Mechanicville, New York. The Marshall House flag accompanied Ellsworth’s body home to New York State.

Since 2000, the New York State Battle Flag Preservation Project, a collaboration between the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and the Division of Military and Naval Affairs, has conserved and properly stored over 500 of the state’s 2,000 flags carried into battle by New York State regiments.

Photo: Marshall House Inn, circa 1861-1869. Courtesy Wikipedia.

Albany Institute’s Free, Discount Admission Days

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The Albany Institute of History & Art has announced that it will offer a special discount admission program on Fridays and Saturdays in July and August 2011 as part of an ongoing effort to reach out to members of the Capital District community.

On each Friday in July and August, the Albany Institute will offer free admission to all visitors during regular museum hours, from 10 am to 5 pm. There will be no charge for any visitors to enter the museum and see the galleries on the following dates: July 22, 29, and August 5, 12, 19, and 26.

Additionally, the Institute will offer buy-one-get-one-free admission on Saturdays throughout July and August during regular museum hours from 10 am to 5 pm. Any adult or child visitor purchasing one admission will be entitled to one free admission of equal or lesser value. Buy-one-get-one-free Saturday dates are: July 2, 9, 16, 23, 30 and August 6, 13, 20, and 27.

This program is not available in combination with any other discount or coupon offers and does not apply to group tours, facilities rentals, or special events. For more information about the summer discount admission program, please call (518) 463-4478. To learn more about current exhibitions and events, visit www.albanyinstitute.org.

Free admission to the Albany Institute of History & Art is funded in part with a Museums for America grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, a federal agency.

Exhibition Celebrates 175 Yrs of State Museum

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The New York State Museum traces its origins to an 1836 survey of the state’s geology, plants, and animals. To celebrate 175 years of adding to the scientific and historical knowledge of New York, the State Museum presents an exhibition that showcases many of its important collections in anthropology, history, and natural science. The exhibition highlights some of the people who, through their work, built these invaluable collections, and presents examples of continuing research based on the collections. Together, the stories of the collectors, the artifacts and specimens in the collections, and the continuing research illuminate the history of the oldest and largest state museum in the nation.

The exhibition “From the Collections” will run through April 2012 in the Exhibition Hall.

Photo: The coyote collection includes skins and skulls that document the expansion of coyotes into New York. Shown here is the skull of a coyote-wolf-dog hybrid from New York state. Scientists at the State Museum recently evaluated skulls and genetic samples of New York coyotes and found they have larger and wider skulls because of hybridization
with wolves. The coyote collection is included in From the Collections, an exhibition highlighting some of the State Museum’s important collections and related research.

1911 Capitol Fire Exhibit Extended

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The 1911 Capitol Fire exhibit in lobby of Cultural Education Center has been extended through October 22, 2011. In the early morning hours of March 29, 1911, a fire broke out in the
northwest corner of the New York State Capitol. Many Albany residents awoke in the early morning hours to see the entire western side of the presumed fireproof building was engulfed in flames shooting 200 feet high. The fast-moving flames destroyed much of the State Library, the fifth largest in the U.S., which was housed in the Capitol.

More than 8,000 Museum objects stored in the Capitol were also destroyed or lost. The fire caused the unprecedented destruction of the state’s intellectual, cultural and historic property and also claimed the life of the lone night watchman.

The exhibition commemorates the 100th anniversary of the Capitol Fire through dramatic photographs, eyewitness accounts, and artifacts that survived the blaze.

Photo: Amateur photographer Harry Roy Sweney captured the Capitol inferno at 3:30 a.m. on March 29, 1911. The New York American paid $25.00 for the first print of this dramatic photograph. Courtesy New York State Library, Manuscripts and Special Collections.

Best of SUNY Student Art Exhibit Opens

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The Best of SUNY Student Art Exhibition has returned to the New York State Museum in Albany, showcasing the work of SUNY’s top student artists from across the state.

Open through August 6, the exhibition features art works chosen by individual art departments across SUNY’s 64 campuses. It is a juried show featuring 64 works selected from more than 144 artistic pieces submitted for the fall 2010 and spring 2011 SUNY student art exhibition at the State University Plaza. The traditional areas of drawing, ceramics, painting, printmaking, photography and sculpture are enhanced by the addition of digital imaging and mixed media installations.

Three student artists in the Best of SUNY Student Art Exhibition will receive $1,000 scholarships. “Honorable Mention” awards of $500 will be given to four other students. The winners have not been selected.

The SUNY student art shows were started in 2002 so that the work of SUNY’s most talented student artists would be seen by a wider audience. This will be the fourth time since 2006 that the State Museum hosted the exhibition.

The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive university system in the nation, educating more than 467,000 students in 7,500 degree and certificate programs.

Illustration: An untitled oil by Victoria Wrubel, part of the exhibition “Best of SUNY Student Art Exhibition” at the New York State Museum. Photo courtesy of Joe Putrock.