The following is a listing of current and upcoming exhibitions appearing at the Albany Institute of History & Art from January through May 2011. Dates, times, and details are subject to change. Call (518) 463-4478 or visit www.albanyinstitute.org for more information. [Read more…] about Albany Institute’s Spring 2011 Exhibition Schedule
They may be thousands of years old, but they don’t look a day over 101. In 1908, Samuel W. Brown, a prominent citizen of Albany and member of the Albany Institute of History & Art’s board of directors, was traveling through Cairo, Egypt, where he bought two mummies that he donated to the Institute. Since the day they arrived in Albany in 1909, the mummies and their coffins have become part of Albany history, seen by generations. More than 100 years later they remain objects of ongoing international study, slowly unveiling clues about the ancient world in which they once lived.
On Sunday, November 21, the Albany Institute will celebrate the 101th anniversary of the arrival of the famous Albany Mummies with art activities, stories, tours, and refreshments, all devoted to Albany’s oldest residents.
Children can bring a toy to mummify it in our studios from 1:00 to 4:00 pm. Tours of the Ancient Egypt exhibit will be held at 1:00 and 3:00 pm. Storytelling by Jeannine Laverty will take place at 2:00 pm. Yummy mummy treats will be provided by Gigi’s Treats. All activities are free with museum admission.
For more information contact Barbara Collins, Education Coordinator at email@example.com, or call (518) 463-4478, ext. 405.
Photo: Partially unwrapped mummy, male, Late Dynastic to Early Ptolemaic Period, (525-200 BC). Courtesy Albany Institute of History and Art.
The Albany Institute of History & Art will host two free lectures and book signings in November which look at the city’s past from different perspectives. On Sunday, November 7, 2010, at 2:00 pm Warren Roberts will present “A Place in History: Albany in the Age of Revolution” Then, on Sunday November 14, 2010, at 2:00 pm Robert M. Toole will present “Landscape Gardens on the Hudson, A History”
These lectures are free and open to the public. Admission to the lectures does not include admission to the museum.
In 1998, Warren Roberts took a bicycle ride into the heart of the city in which he had lived for 35 years, beginning a 10-year journey into the history of Albany. Reading about the city’s past, poring over old maps, and returning again and again to the city’s historic sites with a camera, Roberts found that the more he delved into Albany’s history, the more he uncovered about the city’s important role in three larger historical narratives: the American Revolution, the French Revolution, and the construction of the Erie Canal. A Place in History examines how the events that unfolded along the Hudson River between 1775 and 1825 saved one revolution, caused another, and transformed Albany and the state of New York.
Landscape gardening is a hidden but unequaled historic resource along the Hudson River, exhibiting some of the most significant designed 19th-century landscapes in America—a legacy that continues today with the design of America’s urban parks and nearly every rural or suburban home. The first comprehensive study of the development of these landscapes, and the important role they played in the cultural underpinnings of the young United States, Landscape Gardens on the Hudson explores the Hudson Valley’s role as the birthplace of American landscape architecture.
On Saturday November 6th the Schenectady County Historical Society will explore the many possible ways to uncover your family history during Genealogy Day, an event that will feature several speakers along with open hours in the library. Frank Taormina, a retired teacher and long-time Schenectady resident, will describe the history of the ethnic communities of Schenectady as he shows us the City’s many places of worship: churches, synagogues and mosques.
Bob Sullivan, librarian at the Schenectady County Public Library and webmaster of Schenectady Digital History Archive, will explain how to mine the wealth of the Internet to locate historic newspapers on the Internet. During the lunch hour Kim Mabee, a community volunteer and tireless family researcher, will share the story of her own research on the Mabee Family of Rotterdam, NY. [Read more…] about Schenectady ‘Genealogy Day’ Event Saturday
Although Albany remains a vital railroad junction, New York’s capital city was once a major hub of the railway industry. Can it become one again? On Sunday, October 24, at 2:00 p.m., the Albany Institute of History & Art welcomes Harvard University Professor John Stilgoe, who will give a lecture entitled, Albany’s Railroads: A Once and Future Hub.
Professor Stilgoe recalls the bustling railroad lines that once converged on Albany, examines how curtailment of passenger and freight service has affected our region, and imagines a visionary railway revitalization that transcends the now-dominant interstate highway network. He holds joint appointments to the Harvard faculties of Design and Arts and Sciences. He is the winner of the Francis Parkman, George Hilton, and Bradford Williams medals, the AIA award for collaborative research, and the Charles C. Eldredge prize for art history research.
This lecture is free and open to the public, and is made possible by a grant from the New York Council for the Humanities. Admission to the lecture does not include museum admission.
Do you have an ancestor who served in the 1777 Battles of Saratoga? Saratoga National Historical Park, in partnership with Heritage Hunters of Saratoga County, announces that starting on Thursday, October 14th, a free, computer-based, accessible research tool, ‘Participants at the Battles of Saratoga’, will be available in the park’s visitor center, open daily from 9am to 5pm.
The easy-to-use, touch screen database program was created by members of Heritage Hunters of Saratoga County, New York, a society dedicated to the study of historical and genealogical records in the area. The information is also on their website, but now will be readily available for any of the 150,000 visitors who annually visit Saratoga National Historical Park and wish to investigate their ancestor’s service here. [Read more…] about Genealogy Database: Participants at the Battles of Saratoga
The “Warren County – Improving Feeder Canal Community Connections Project” has expanded community connections along the Glens Falls Feeder Canal and the Towpath Trail with $140,585 funded by the New York State Canal Corporation through the Erie Canal Greenway Grant Program.
Warren County partnered with the Canal Corporation, the City of Glens Falls, the Town of Queensbury and the Feeder Canal Alliance, a not-for-profit entity whose mission includes preserving and expanding public use of the Feeder Canal Towpath and associated structures.
Work has been completed in both the Overlook Park in the Town of Queensbury and Haviland Cove in the City of Glens Falls. Site improvements to both parks included resurfacing of the roadways, trailways and parking areas, including Haviland Cove, where school buses park. Electrical services were also installed in both parks, including the pavilion in Haviland Cove. Benches, tables, grills, and a covered pavilion were installed in Overlook Park. Additionally, 3.6 miles of towpath trail was resurfaced by county work forces with stonedust for use as a bike and pedestrian trail.
In addition, the Canal Corporation provided $9,000 to complete signage along the seven-mile Feeder Canal Trail in both Warren and Washington Counties. Weathered signs were refurbished and replaced, and obsolete signs were replaced with new interpretive signs.
The Erie Canal Greenway Grant Program, administered by the Canal Corporation, was created to help spur community revitalization along the 524-mile Canal System. Fifty-four Greenway grants were awarded on a competitive basis to communities and non-profit organizations for capital projects that enhance and promote tourism, recreation, historic interpretation, and community revitalization in 19 counties along the New York State Canal System. All grants require a 50-percent match in local funds or in-kind services.
The New York State Canal System is comprised of four historic waterways, the Erie, the Champlain, the Oswego and the Cayuga-Seneca Canals. Spanning 524 miles across New York State, the waterway links the Hudson River, Lake Champlain, Lake Ontario, the Finger Lakes and the Niagara River with communities rich in history and culture.
The New York State Canal Corporation is a subsidiary of the New York State Thruway Authority. In 1992 State legislation transferred the Canal System from the New York State Department of Transportation to the Thruway Authority. Canal operating and maintenance activities are supported by Thruway toll revenues.
Photo: Glens Falls Feeder Canal Lock 1. Photo Courtesy of Tug44.org.
The Albany Institute of History & Art has announced two related upcoming exhibitions: “The Perfect Fit: Shoes Tell Stories” and “Old Soles: Three Centuries of Shoes from the Albany Institute’s Collection.” The exhibitions open on October 16, 2010, and close on January 2, 2011.
Since the invention of protective foot coverings by early societies thousands of years ago, shoes have become not only an essential element of our clothing, but also symbols of status, utility, amusement, and art. “The Perfect Fit” features more than 100 examples of fanciful footwear created by contemporary American artists between 2004 and 2008. The shoes are made of materials ranging from clay, metal, fabric, wood, glass, and paper, and transcend everyday style and function to illustrate various themes pertaining to issues of gender, history, sexuality, class, race, and culture.
The exhibition, curated by Wendy Tarlow Kaplan, is organized by the Fuller Craft Museum, Brockton, MA. An illustrated catalog accompanies the exhibition and will be on sale in the Albany Institute’s Museum Shop for $10.00.
Accompanying “The Perfect Fit” will be a complementary exhibition entitled “Old Soles: Three Centuries of Shoes from the Albany Institute’s Collection.” The selection includes a variety of shoes ranging from a pair of brocaded silk women’s wedding shoes from the early 18th century to modern men’s and women’s footwear from the 20th century. The collection also includes protective over-shoes, pattens, slippers, jeweled buckles, work shoes, boots, and more. The Old Soles exhibition will be located in the museum’s Lansing Gallery, in proximity to many historic paintings in which the subjects are wearing shoes similar to those that will be on display.
Photo: Red riding shoes awarded to Miss Catherine Fitch for “Best Equestrian Rider” at the Albany Agricultural Society Fair, September, 1856, Wool felt and leather, 1856,
Gift of Margaret Boom, 1941.45, from Old Soles.
The Albany Institute of History & Art has been selected to receive a 2010 Museums for America grant from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The grant is specifically designated to help fund a website redevelopment project entitled, Digital Renaissance, which will evaluate, design, and repurpose the museum’s website so that virtual visitors can experience the rich history and cultural heritage of Albany and the Hudson Valley through the museum’s collections, education programs, and exhibits. The IMLS grant award of $147,904 will provide approximately 40 percent of the total estimated project cost of $369,914.
“It is difficult to overstate the importance of this grant for our museum right now,” said Christine Miles, executive director of the Albany Institute. “In the Information Age, with electronic communication technologies advancing exponentially every day, websites have become an indispensible tool for nonprofit organizations who need to reach much wider and more diverse audiences. This grant will enable us to make the virtual Albany Institute experience as enjoyable and enriching as the on-site experience of visiting the galleries, classrooms, and shop. It will also enhance efforts already underway to digitize our vast collection.”
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. Museums for America is IMLS’s largest grant program for museums, providing more than $19 million to support the role of museums in sustaining cultural heritage, supporting lifelong learning; and serving as centers of community engagement. Museums for America grants strengthen a museum’s ability to serve the public more effectively by supporting high-priority activities that advance the institution’s mission and strategic goals.
“This year’s MFA grant recipients are truly an exciting and diverse group of museums, representing the remarkable ways that large and small institutions are serving communities,” said Marsha L. Semmel, IMLS’s acting director, in announcing the award. “Funded projects support digitization and collections management plans, enhanced accessibility, environmental literacy, and much more. The work of these institutions will educate and inspire citizens of all ages. IMLS is pleased to support museums as they engage their communities through programming tailored to their specific needs, and this round of MFA grants furthers this work.”
The Albany Institute’s Digital Renaissance project was one of 178 awards chosen from 510 applications to the 2010 Museums for America program. In total, the program awarded $19.5 million. To learn more about IMLS, visit www.imls.gov.
As part of Digital Renaissance’s evaluation process, the Albany Institute has partnered with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Department of Language, Literature, and Communication. RPI Professor Patricia Search is the principal investigator for the research project and, along with RPI student Natt Phenjati, began formative evaluation phase of the project earlier this year. Launch of the Albany Institute’s new website is scheduled for early 2012.
“This research will help the museum create a dynamic, interactive website that will extend and enrich the total museum experience, particularly in the areas of personal engagement and community involvement,” said Search. “Museums have an opportunity to reach a wide audience with creative, engaging websites. With digital technology it is possible to display additional artifacts from the museum collections that add to the overall understanding of special and permanent exhibits. However, in order to create an effective website, it is necessary to carefully evaluate the demographics, interests, and needs of the people who use the website. The research we’ll be doing at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute will evaluate how diverse groups of people will use the new website design to access information about the Albany Institute, including their collections, exhibitions, and educational programs.”
One of America’s oldest museums, the Albany Institute of History & Art was founded in 1791, during the presidency of George Washington, making it older than the Louvre, the Smithsonian, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
This Thursday, July 15, at 6:00 pm, the Albany Institute of History & Art will host a free lecture by Sarah Lees, Associate Curator of European Art at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts. Lees will discuss The Clark’s current exhibition, Picasso Looks at Degas, which opened on June 13 and will close on September 12.
Picasso Looks at Degas is a fascinating exhibition including work from both artists. The first of its kind to explore the relationship between the two masters, the exhibition mainly focuses on Pablo Picasso’s work made in response to or inspired by the work of Edgar Degas, who was his Parisian neighbor in the early 20th century. Picasso admired Degas, though it is not clear whether the two ever met. The exhibition illustrates how Picasso’s work often echoes imagery and devices typical of Degas without blatantly imitating him. Picasso Looks at Degas traces the development of both artists and includes a broad array of mediums, including paintings, sculptures, and etchings.
The lecture will take place at the Albany Institute, 125 Washington Ave., Albany, and is free and open to the public. Call (518) 463-4478 for more information.
Illustration: Nude Wringing her Hair, 1952, Pablo Picasso, oil on plywood, 154 x 120 cm, private collection, Acquavella Gallery, New York. © 2010 Estate of Pablo Picasso/Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York.