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These Top Museums are a Must-See in Albany

posted by Discover Upstate NY at 2019-11-04 18:32:00



Culturally, Museums are an important part of New York's State Capitol, and the City of Albany has had many cultural developments taking place within its confines.

Albany has evolved from a small Dutch settlement into the thriving community of extreme importance. As such, Albany County has numerous museums and historical locations that provide a fascinating insight into its development and influence.

So let’s take a closer look at Six of the must-see museums in the area  with diverse and differing angles and exhibits.

Caption: The State Education Building was home to the New York State Museum until 1976. Credit - By Albany NY. - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

 
1/. New York State Museum
222 Madison Ave, Albany, NY 12230

The New York State Museum is an iconic landmark, known for being a sprawling, research-backed institution that covers 100,000 square feet. It houses art and artefacts that cover New York’s development, both geologically and culturally.

It has such a wide range of exhibits that visitors are advised to set a full day aside to cover its numerous floors. As well as historical exhibits, recent occurrences in New York also make up part of the current offering, with the devastating World Trade Centre attacks featured in a touching tribute to the thousands who lost their lives.
 
Amongst the most important things to see is Black Capital: Harlem in the 20s, which features the Harlem Renaissance and its impact on later cultural trends. An article by Minystories explains how quarter of a million people fled the southern slave states in the early 20th century to make their home in New York.

Caption: The New York State Cultural Education Center, located on the south end of the Empire State Plaza in Albany, New York, United States, which houses the New York State Museum, New York State Archives, and New York State Library. Credit - By UpstateNYer - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0
 
2/. Albany Institute of History & Art
125 Washington Ave, Albany, NY 12210

Founded in 1791, the Albany Institute of History & Art is one of the oldest museums in the United States. It claims to be a ‘major repository for the region's heritage, with nationally significant collections.’

Those collections have recently been accompanied by 'An Orphan No More', a recently discovered oil sketch by Anthony Van Dyck. The Daily Gazette reports it was discovered in 2002 and has been on display at the Institute through fall 2019.

The institute isn’t renowned for exhibiting old masters, but it does boast more than 35,000 objects and includes 1,600 paintings, 1600 drawings and 4,000 prints, as well as sculptures furniture and other items.

Caption: Thomas Cole's Romantic Landscape With Ruined Tower, part of the Institute's collection of Hudson River School art. Credit: By Thomas Cole - The Athenaeum, Albany Institute of History and Art, Public Domain.
 
3/. Irish American Heritage Museum
370 Broadway, Albany, NY 12207

The Irish American Heritage Museum claims that its intention is to ‘preserve and tell the story of the contributions of the Irish people and their culture in America’, which it does so through a range of exhibits both past and present.

This must-see exhibit charts the Irish ancestor’s trip to America and features items from the time to help visitors gain a better understanding of what life was like. Irish culture is hugely important, not only in America but across the world and Irish iconography is regularly used by media platforms.

Digital companies recognize the influence and importance of Irish culture and have produced many online titles to reflect this and appeal to a younger demographic. Whether it is through high-profile video games such as The Emerald Herald: Dark Souls 2 where the game is littered with Celtic crosses. Or even through the range of titles based on Irish myths by Foxy Games including Rainbow Riches, Book of the Irish, and Irish Frenzy, the common thread is that the rich literature and myths that come from the country, traveled with those who crossed the Atlantic to America. With the widespread use of Irish iconography by digital mediums, the Irish American Heritage Museum is now working on interactive displays to help draw in a younger crowd to this famous Albany museum.
 
4/. Destroyer Escort Historical Museum
Broadway and Quay, Albany, NY 12202

The USS Slater is a World War Two destroyer, one of an original 563 that battled Nazi U-boats on the North Atlantic, protecting convoys.

Moored on the Hudson River, the USS Slater has been extensively restored and renovated, bringing it back to its original state for visitors to experience and understand. It had been stripped of all useful equipment and left in Crete, but in 1993 it was towed back to the U.S for this ambitious project.

However, you cannot roam the ship freely. All visitors must be accompanied by a tour guide, who is knowledgeable and who delivers a fascinating insight into the U.S Navy.

Credit - By Ussslater.dehm - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0
 
5/. New York State Executive Mansion
138 Eagle St., Albany, New York

This impressive Italianate building was originally built in 1856 as a banker's private home, but later became the residence of the governor of New York. Samuel Tilden became the first governor to inhabit the house in 1875, with another 30 following in his footsteps.

It is not a museum as such, but it is open to visitors and is a wonderful place to visit as in encapsulates some of New York’s history within its walls and grounds. You would have to make a reservation to do so and guided tours only are available, but it is a hidden gem that few visitors to New York take the time to visit.

Credit - Matt H. Wade CC BY-SA 3.0
 
6/. University Art Museum at University at Albany
1400 Washington Avenue, Albany, New York

For fans of contemporary arts, the University Art Museum at the University of Albany is a must-visit. Housing more than 3,000 objects that reflect 50 years of modern and contemporary art, it claims its mission is ‘to advance knowledge and foster understanding in contemporary visual arts’.

Featuring works by Willem deKooning, Richard Diebenkorn, Vito Acconci and Xu Bing to name but a few, it is one of the most important contemporary art museums in the country.

Housed in a 9,000 square-foot building designed in 1967, it has presented more than 400 exhibitions and is an icon of late 20th-century modernist architecture.

Caption: The University Art Museum is located on the Academic Podium of the University at Albany campus.

Credit - By UAlbany - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

 
 
posted at: 2019-11-04 18:32:00, last updated: 2019-11-13 19:04:56

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