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
Every five years, the Historic Albany Foundation issues a new Endangered Historic Resource list with an update on past lists. The goal of the Endangered Historic Resource list is to draw attention to well-known buildings, properties, and landmarks that are in need of stabilization, rehabilitation or restoration in the City of Albany.
What follows is this year’s list:
800-812 BROADWAY ▪ c. 1854, 1858, 1872, 1876-77
ARCHITECT ▪ JOSIAH ROOT (802-806)
A part of the Broadway-Livingston Historic District, these buildings were once a part of a busy mixed-use corridor on the north end of the city. With the construction of the railroad bridge in the early 20th century, these buildings have
been forgotten and suffer from long deferred maintenance. They now sit mostly vacant with little prospect of rehabilitation. *Eligible for Federal and New York State Rehabilitation Tax Credits
ARGUS PRESS, 1031 BROADWAY ▪ 1913-17
ARCHITECT ▪ MARCUS TULLIUS REYNOLDS
This building was constructed on speculation by the Albany Commercial Company, a group of businessmen who hoped to attract more industry to Broadway. The building was home to Argus Litho, successors to the company that began publishing the Albany Argus newspaper in 1813. The massive industrial building has sat vacant for years and has no known plan for rehabilitation.
10 HALL PLACE ▪ 1860
In 1860, W. H. Carr constructed a three story brick house on the site of 10 Hall Place, but never lived there. Albany stonecutters, Brooksbee and Roland (Brooksby and
Rowland) purchased the house in 1862 to sell it to lumber dealer J. W. Dunham in 1863. During the 1990’s and early 2000’s, Hall Place was nearly entirely vacant. Number 10 is the last remaining vacant building. Though the building has been stabilized, it still requires considerable work to become habitable once more. *Eligible for Federal and New York State Rehabilitation Tax Credits
100-112 HOLLAND AVENUE ▪ 1937-38
BUILDER ▪ JESSE LEONARD
The houses were designed and built by Jesse Leonard and the Leonard Realty Company from 1937-1938 and are an exemplary example of Tudor style architecture. Throughout his career, Leonard constructed over 200 homes in Albany. Originally single family homes, the buildings have only been vacant for two years, these unique buildings are in need of repairs to be habitable once again and will continue to deteriorate without residents.
558 MADISON AVENUE ▪ c. 1880
Originally built to be a grocery store, this mixed-use building sits vacant on a busy corner across from Washington Park and just down the street from Albany Medical Center. Though its condition is stable, it is one of few vacant buildings across from the Park. Continued vacancy will only increase the deterioration and will have a negative impact on development around it. Madison Avenue runs the risk of losing a widely visible corner structure. *Eligible for Federal and New York State Rehabilitation Tax Credits
4 MADISON PLACE ▪ 1872
In August 2005, a fire blazed through 4 and 5 Madison Place, leaving 5 damaged and 4 a façade. Since that time, number 4 remains a challenge with no way to access the rear of the property for construction save through its Elm Street neighbor’s yards. To lose a piece of this nationally recognized row would be tragic. Just one block long, Madison Place is a spectacular example of Gothic Revival rowhouses. Number 4 is no exception. The façade is elegantly simple when compared to the intensity of its Gothic Revival neighbors up the block.
BATH HOUSE NUMBER 2, 90 FOURTH AVENUE ▪ 1905
Bath House No. 2 represents the only remaining bath house in the City of Albany. Public bath houses were built as a response to the demands of the population and
hygiene practices of the time. Bath House No. 2 is owned and operated by the City of Albany. In the past week, the decision was made to close the Bath House for budgetary purposes. The building already has a long list of repairs needed that if left unattended will contribute to deterioration and a less likely chance of rehabilitation. *Eligible for Federal and New York State Rehabilitation Tax Credits!
KENWOOD, 799 SOUTH PEARL STREET ▪ 1842-45, 1871
ARCHITECT ▪ A. J. DAVIS & A. J. DOWNING (1842-45) NICHOLS & BROWN (1871)
The buildings that make up Kenwood are currently vacant. The entire estate is threatened by the possibility of vacancy, inappropriate development, and demolition. Vacancy is a hazard to buildings as they immediately begin to deteriorate. The estate was initially constructed as the summer home, but was converted, in 1859, into the Female Academy and Convent of the Sacred Heart The buildings remaining today incorporate each period of the estate’s history.
SCHOOL 22, 292 SECOND STREET ▪ 1874
ARCHITECT ▪ FREDERICK W. BROWN
It was built as an eight room school house for the West Hill neighborhood. School 22 has been vacant for decades and continues to deteriorate every year. Though the building has been sold multiple times to be rehabilitated for a variety of uses, any action, including mothballing has yet to happen. The interior is in very poor condition and will continue to deteriorate unless properly mothballed. Without timely attention, the once beautiful structure will be lost.
PHERSON TERRACE ▪ 1887-88, 1891
ARCHITECT ▪ EDWARD OGDEN BUILDER ▪ ATTILIO PASQUINI
Constructed in two stages, this row of 16 buildings is highly stylized and decoratively designed with alternating details of pressed brick, stone trim, gables,
oriel windows and dormers. The block was most likely named for John McPherson, a gardener, who had previously owned the property. While some are lived in and maintained, the row as a whole has suffered from severe disinvestment and neglect. *Eligible for Federal and New York State Rehabilitation Tax Credits!
For more information about each endangered historic resource including past lists, please see the Historic Albany website.
During the one weekend in February when the museum hosts NY in Bloom and the Annual Gem and Mineral Show. That weekend the Museum is open on Sunday. It’s also the only weekend when Admission is charged, as a fundraiser for the Museum’s after school program.
New York in Bloom – 20th Anniversary
Friday, February 25 -Sunday, February 27 ▪ 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m.
1st Floor Exhibition Halls ▪ Adults ▪ Children ▪ Admission Fee:
Friday-$5/Adult; Saturday and Sunday-$6/Adult. Children age 12 and under FREE
Experience the sights and scents of the approaching spring during this 20th annual fund-raising weekend benefiting Museum Club and Discovery Squad, the Museum’s award-winning after-school programs for children and teens. Free parking available next to the Museum on Saturday and Sunday. $6 entrance fee to the Museum on Saturday and Sunday includes admission to the 18th Annual James Campbell Memorial Gem, Mineral, and Fossil Show and Sale on the 4th Floor. For information, call 518-474-5877.
18th Annual James Campbell Memorial Gem, Mineral, and Fossil Show and Sale
Saturday, February 26 and Sunday, February 27 ▪ 10 a.m.-5 p.m. 4th Floor ▪ Adults ▪ Children ▪ Admission Fee: $6/Adult; Children age 12 and under FREE
Vendors from throughout the Northeast display and sell gems, jewelry, minerals, lapidary equipment, fossils, and much more. Meanwhile on the 1st Floor, staff members conduct guided tours of the mineral and fossil exhibitions and are on hand to identify visitors’ own minerals and fossils. Call 518-474-5877 for information about times and locations. $6 entrance fee to the Museum on Saturday and Sunday includes admission to all New York in Bloom activities on the 1st Floor. For information, call 518-474-5877.
The New York State Museum will present a PBS documentary December 11 about the Scotia-based New York Air National Guard Wing’s journey to Greenland with a team of international scientists investigating global warming.
“Arctic Air: A Greenlandic Journey with the 109th” will be shown free-of-charge at 2 p.m. in the Museum’s Huxley Theater. Following the film there will be a question-and-answer session with Amy Manley, the film’s producer and Lt Col Kurt Bedore, a navigator from the 109th Airlift Wing.
The documentary was produced by WCNY, a PBS television station in Syracuse, which traveled alongside American and international teams of scientists as they were transported to Greenland by the 109th Airlift Wing in the summer of 2009.
Flying the United States Air Force’s only ski-equipped C-130 Hercules cargo planes, the Wing provides vital support for polar researchers working in the Arctic and Antarctica. “Arctic Air” captures the Wing members’ commitment as they face many challenges in a frozen land that is both beautiful and dangerous. The skilled pilots and their crews transport supplies, cargo and staff to and from Greenland in temperatures that threaten to freeze their planes’ fuel and hydraulic fluid.
The film shows the camps where American and international teams of scientists seek to unlock mysteries of the past buried deep within the polar ice cap to help provide answers to some of today’s most important questions about climate change and global warning. Lack of pollution, unique topography and untouched flows of glacial ice have made the Greenland ice sheet an ideal laboratory for this research. The 109th Airlift Wing missions have made it possible for scientists from around the world to gather the critical data that is now shaping political, environmental and economic policies on climate change.
WCNY is also providing an online teachers’ guide to the documentary with grade-appropriate activities and links to educational resources for classroom and student research use. The suggested activities focus on the topics introduced in the film including scientific Arctic exploration, Arctic aviation, climate control, global warming, life in Greenland, and unique career opportunities for students to explore.
More information on the documentary and the teachers’ guide is available at www.wcny.org/arcticair.
Information about Museum programs and events can be obtained by calling (518) 474-5877 or visiting the museum website at www.nysm.nysed.gov.
Photo: LC-130H (Skier 96) taking off with jet assisted rockets taken April 2003 on
the Greenland Ice Cap by Todd Valentic, Senior Research Engineer, Center for
The Historical Society of the Town of Colonie will be hosting a program about commemorative Staffordshire plates featuring various scenes from 19th Century Albany, this Friday, December 3, 2010 at the Colonie Pruyn House (207 Old Niskayuna Road, Colonie).
Potters in the Staffordshire region of England used the transfer technique of printing on earthenware to distribute historical American views and commemorative pieces to the middle-class American market.
Deep blue transferware dominated in the 1820s but methodological improvements in printing occurred in the 1830s and 1840s which led to cleaner, sharper images, and a broader variety of colors. Because they were moderately priced, Staffordshire transfer earthenware was an affordable but attractive alternative to more expensive porcelains.
Following the lifting of embargoes in British goods after the War of 1812, Liverpool and Staffordshire potters resumed their high volume commerce with the United States. In the 1840s, earthenware from Staffordshire ranked fifth (behind textiles and metalwork) in importance among English export products. Among the products Staffordshire potters provided the American market was pottery that offered views of the America’s natural wonders and historic events that would appeal to a growing American civic pride.
For additional information about Friday’s program contact either the Pruyn House at 783-1435 or the Colonie Historian’s Office at 782-2593.
Photo: Albany, N.Y. souvenir nine inch plate manufactured in Staffordshire, England. An error in the transfer likely caused the word ‘Albany’ to be spelled ‘Alany’. Scenes on the plate include the state capitol, Washington Park’s King’s Fountain, the steamer Robert Fulton, the Post Office, and the NYS Senate Chamber.
In honor of Veteran’s Day, the New York State Museum has installed two new cases in its Citizen Soldier exhibition, including personal items of the late Sgt. David Fisher, formerly of Watervliet, who was killed in Iraq in December 2004.
Vicki DiMura, the mother of Sgt. Fisher, has loaned the items to the Museum for display in the section of the exhibition documenting the role of Task Force Wolfhound in Iraq. The 21-year-old graduate of Watervliet High School was one of the Task Force Wolfhound soldiers and served with the 1st Battalion 101st Cavalry based at the Glenmore Road Armory in Troy. He was working as a humvee gunner during a patrol in Baghdad when his vehicle rolled over during a high-speed maneuver intended to avoid improvised explosive devices.
The items installed in the exhibition include a print of a portrait of Sgt. Fisher painted by artist Phil Taylor of the American Fallen Soldiers Project that provides, at no cost to family members, an original portrait of their loved one. Also on display are a memorial bracelet, a copy of Sgt. Fisher’s dog tags, a photo of him taken on the day he was killed, an unfinished lego tank, a stuffed Elmo doll given to Fisher by his unit on his 21st birthday, a frog ornament honoring Fisher’s nickname of “Squeak Frog” and a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle toy.
The other new addition to the exhibition is in the Spanish-American War section. It includes a cartridge belt with .45-70 cartridges worn by Sgt. James S. Martin of Brooklyn. This was loaned to the Museum by Martin’s grandson, Marty Pickands of Delmar. Martin enlisted in Company L, the 71st regiment. He and his regiment marched to San Juan Hill with the Rough Riders. Following the battle, Sgt. Martin was stricken with yellow fever and was so ill that he was mistaken for dead and placed alongside other American dead. A passing soldier noticed Martin “twitch” and promptly sought medical help for him. He later attended Yale Medical School and became a doctor.
The “Citizen Soldier: New York’s National Guard in the American Century” exhibition recounts the history of the New York National Guard and those who carried out its mission through wars and battles, natural disasters and national emergencies. The exhibition features personal stories of soldiers from across New York State, as well as mementos, uniforms, and artillery pieces from the State Museum, New York State Military Museum, members of New York’s National Guard, and local collectors.
Open in Exhibition Hall through March 2011, the exhibition can also be found on the Museum’s website. The exhibition focuses on the 20th century, which witnessed the transformation of the United States from an isolationist nation into a dominant power with the ability to shape world events. It was dubbed the American Century in 1941 by Time Magazine Publisher Henry Luce. During that time the National Guard evolved from an ill-equipped and poorly trained militia into a modern-day force capable of protecting American interests around the world.
Encompassing nearly 7,000 square feet of gallery space, the exhibition covers the service of New Yorkers in the Spanish-American War, World Wars I and II, the first Persian Gulf War in 1991 and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Also included are the missions closer to home – the Capitol Fire (1911), blizzards in Buffalo (1944, 1977) and New York City (1996), the Woodstock concert (1969), the Attica riots (1971), the ice storm in northern New York (1998), the Mechanicville tornado (1998), the 2001 terrorist attacks and other smaller calamities around the state.
Visitors entering the exhibition will see the M8 Greyhound Light Armored Car that was first introduced into combat in 1943. The 16,000-pound vehicle was used in all theaters of World War II, including Europe, where it was issued to the men of the 101st Cavalry Group of the New York National Guard. The car is now owned by Gregory Wolanin of Loudonville. Also on display are a flamethrower and bazooka, a 37 mm gun, as well as various other military equipment. Visitors will also have the opportunity to see the History Channel film, “Defending America,” which will be shown in the gallery.
There are many personal stories of courage and heroism throughout the exhibition. Medals of Honor were awarded to Col. William J. O’Brien and Sgt. Thomas A. Baker of Troy, both of the 105th Infantry Regiment, for their courage in the face of a horrifying enemy attack by the Japanese on Saipan in 1944. First Sgt. James Meltz of Cropseyville, a member of the 108th Infantry Regiment, received the Bronze Star for valor after rescuing fellow soldiers from a burning humvee in Afghanistan in 2008.
The exhibition also features profiles of other members of the 108th Infantry who served in Iraq, including Sgt. 1st Class John Ross of Latham, Sgt. 1st Class Luis Barsallo of Halfmoon and Private 1st Class Nathan Brown of Glens Falls. Brown was killed in Iraq in 2004 when an insurgent fired a rocket-propelled grenade into the back of the 5-ton truck he was riding in.
The first exhibition of its kind — “The Landscape of Memory: Prints by Frank C. Eckmair” — opens at the New York State Museum November 19 showcasing the works of one of the nation’s most accomplished printmakers.
Open until September 18, 2011 in Crossroads Gallery, the exhibition comes from the Museum’s own 386-piece collection, which is the largest museum collection of Eckmair’s works that exists. The Museum’s curatorial and exhibition team worked with Eckmair during the last few years to archive his lifework, document the way he makes the prints and develop the exhibition.
The exhibition features more than 80 works, mostly landscapes, which include framed woodcut prints, as well as wood engravings, sculptures and the original woodblocks that track Eckmair’s career as an artist and lifelong resident of Gilbertsville in central New York. Also included are wood engraving tools and an early 20th-century Poco Proof printing press, on loan from Eckmair.
While growing up in central New York, Eckmair developed an affinity for the quiet landscape of the rural areas of that part of the state. His subjects are its farm fields, stone walls, abandoned homes, and old barns.
Although he did all kinds of printmaking Eckmair preferred woodcuts, noting that “wood is a poor man’s material.”
During the 1950s, printmaking grew in stature in New York with the rise of the New York School, a group of artists, poets, and musicians centered in the city. On Long Island, the influential Universal Limited Art Editions studio encouraged collaborations between artists and writers, provided
printmaking space, and brought prints to collectors, galleries, and museums. Finally, the explosive growth of State University of New York campuses during the postwar period led to the establishment of major printmaking programs that are still operating today.
Born in 1930, Eckmair spent his early years drawing and working at his father’s hotel in Gilbertsville, a small village in Otsego County, west of Cooperstown. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the State University of Iowa, where he studied with Mauricio Lasansky, who is considered to be the “father of 20th-century American printmaking.” After teaching public school, Eckmair served in the U.S. Air Force in Korea, Japan, and the northwestern United States. He then received a Master of Fine Arts in printmaking from Ohio University. From 1963 to 1995 he was a key figure in the print studio of Buffalo State College, where he was a revered professor and influenced a generation of artists. While working in Buffalo, he maintained his family residence in Gilbertsville.
Eckmair’s work received its earliest recognition through American Associated Artists (AAA), a program founded to market affordable fine art prints to the American public. Like earlier artists such as Grant Wood, John Steuart Curry, and Thomas Hart Benton, Eckmair created prints of regional landscapes for AAA that had great populist appeal. Considered a master of the woodcut and represented in major collections around the world, Eckmair continues to create haunting works evoking rural life in upstate New York. He is the artistic director of Birch Book Press, a publisher of hand-crafted letterpress books and art.
Further information can be obtained by calling (518) 474-5877 or visiting the museum website at www.nysm.nysed.gov.
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 contributions of William and Henry James will be highlighted at a presentation entitled At the Gateway to Modernism: A Celebration of William and Henry James on Wednesday, Nov. 10, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the University at Albany. The event, which is free and open to the public, will take place in the Standish Room of the Science Library on the uptown campus.
Renowned author Henry James and his brother William, a psychology professor and philosopher, had many ties to the Albany area, according to Associate Professor of English Mary Valentis, who organized the event as director of the Center for Humanities, Arts, and TechnoScience (CHATS). “Many of the James family relatives are buried in Albany Rural Cemetery,” she said. “The father graduated from the Albany Academy, and the grandfather made his fortune in Albany real estate.” Henry James even opened his story, Portrait of a Lady , in a brownstone on Albany’s State Street.
The significant works and pivotal thought of the two brothers helped shape the 20th Century and more particularly the intellectual, artistic, and philosophical moment now called modernism.
Henry and William James
Author Henry James and his brother William, a psychology professor and philosopher.
The panel of experts celebrating the James family will include:
• Professor Ronald A. Bosco, Distinguished Professor of English and American Literature at UAlbany,
• Professor Linda Simon of Skidmore College, and
• Dean of UAlbany’s College of Arts and Sciences Edelgard Wulfert, professor of psychology.
The celebration will extend to the spring semester, when on March 4, 2011, Henry James on the Stage will be featured at the UAlbany Performing Arts Center. From 3 to 5 p.m. on that day, Dr. Barbara Blatner, Yeshiva University Workshop, will do an adaptation of Henry James’s short stories for poetry and stage. From 7 to 10 p.m. that same evening, there will be a staged reading of Larry Lane’s new play inspired by Henry James’s Aspern Papers. Playwright and director Lane adapted Melville’s Bartleby the Scrivener for stage. After the reading, theater goers will have an opportunity to talk with Lane.
Photo: Author Henry James and his brother William, a psychology professor and philosopher.
Governor David A. Paterson has announced that the “Freedom’s Treasures” exhibit, a rare display of Revolutionary War-era and early nation period historical artifacts, including a handwritten draft of Washington’s Farewell Address, will be open to the public at the State Capitol’s ceremonial Red Room, from 10 AM to 4 PM on November 10-11.
The exhibition, entitled “Freedom’s Treasures,” features a collection from the New York State Library, Archives and Museum of some of New York’s most important Revolutionary Era artifacts that have rarely been seen by the public. Featured in the exhibition is an original draft of George Washington’s Farewell Address penned in his hand that was sent to Alexander Hamilton for comment and revision on May 15, 1796. The document is part of the George Washington Collection at the New York State Library and was rescued from the fire that ravaged the State Capitol in 1911.
“Freedom’s Treasures” also will give the public the chance to see a dress sword allegedly given to General Washington by Frederick the Great. The sword was purchased by the State of New York directly from Washington’s family in 1871 and is depicted in the Washington portrait that hangs in the United States House of Representatives. According to Washington family tradition, the sword was given to General Washington
with this verbal message from Frederick (the Great) II, King of Prussia: “From the oldest general of the world to the greatest.”
Among the other artifacts included in this exhibition are a portrait of New York State’s sixth Governor DeWitt Clinton and a writing desk he used. In office during two non-consecutive terms, Clinton was responsible for the building of the Erie Canal. The exhibit also includes the original engrossed copy of the U.S. Constitution sent to
New York State for ratification and the “spy papers” retrieved from British Major John Andre’s boot that implicated American General Benedict Arnold in the West Point conspiracy.
The full list of exhibited items includes, Washington’s Farewell Address, Bronze bust of George Washington, Leaves from Washington’s copy of “A Representation of the Cloathing of His Majesty’s Household and of all the Forces upon the Establishments
of Great Britain and Ireland” (the uniform book), Washington’s dress sword, Benedict Arnold / John Andre papers, A print of John Andre crossing the Hudson River (based upon his own drawing of the event), an engrossed copy of the original U.S. Constitution, a DeWitt Clinton portrait, and DeWitt Clinton’s writing desk and chair.
Reservations are required for those interested in visiting the Freedom’s Treasures exhibit on Wednesday, November 10. On Wednesday, those who are registered for the tour should meet at the Plaza Visitor Center, North Concourse, Empire State Plaza, Albany. For those interested in making reservations for Wednesday, November 10, should
Reservations are NOT required on Thursday, November 11. Those interested in viewing the exhibit should enter the Capitol directly and follow the signs that will be posted. Visitors can gain access to the Capitol either from State Street or through the Empire Plaza Concourse.
For those who can’t see the items in person, a website has also been established.
Photo: An estimate of items at West Point one of several documents that were found in Major Andre’s boot when he was captured trying to get to West Point in 1780.