Columbia County Historical Society

5 Albany Avenue ,2589 Route 9H, Kinderhook, NY 12106 - United States





Founded in 1916, the Columbia County Historical Society Museum & Library collects, preserves, interprets and presents the history, heritage, and culture of Columbia County, New York, and serves residents of all eighteen towns and the City of Hudson. The CCHS owns four historic properties, including a research library and museum.

​For more than 100 years, thousands of people from all across the county and beyond have enjoyed our varied exhibitions, historic properties, and educational programs.

​A vital community resource, our collections include paintings, textiles, furniture, decorative arts, and important and unique maps, photographs, archives and genealogical materials relating to Columbia County's heritage and culture.


Columbia County Historical Society Museum & Library

Floral Motif
The image of the flower has remained an iconographic tradition throughout the history of art and culture, from ancient depictions to contemporary art. Botanical elements, floral blooms and various flowers appear in literature, decorative arts and across all art movements.

The natural beauty of flowers has consistently stood the test of time, and our emotional attachment to a flower’s cultural, symbolic, and aesthetic value is why we repeatedly find floral images throughout literary and visual culture.

With this exhibit, diverse constructs of the flower in objects from our permanent collection punctuated by poetic verse present a cheerful botanical theme. On view in the Museum's Smook | Peduzzi Gallery.

HandMade Tools From the CCHS Collection
During the 18th and 19th centuries, in pre-industrial society, work was accomplished with hand-made tools and personal muscle power. The tools in this exhibition are representative of the agriculturally based economy of Columbia County and the every day tasks and chores of its rural inhabitants. Family members worked together at a variety of chores to ensure the success of running a farm or family business that included agricultural production, food preparation, household care and animal husbandry. Beyond the function of each of these tools, there is a beauty in their form and manipulation of materials. These historic objects are our material culture. On view in the Upstairs Museum Gallery.

James Vanderpoel ‘House of History’

Caned Construction: Caned Furniture from the Permanent Collection
A popular material in the early 19th century, woven cane was an economical alternative to solid wood or upholstered seating. It was also æsthetically pleasing, durable, and unattractive to pests. Skilled craftsman bored holes into the seat and sides, and separate subcontractors—sometimes prison inmates often wove the caned seats.

New York Portraits from the Permanent Collection
Columbia County’s painted portraiture legacy spans more than three centuries of historically significant or artistically important works by both self-taught, naïve, and itinerant painters, as well as important artists of the time, and including some of the earliest works in America.

Luykas Van Alen House’
Designated a National Historic Landmark in 1967, the Luykas Van Alen house is a restored house museum representing 18th century rural Dutch farm life in the Hudson River Valley.

Delft Ware from the CCHS Collection
Delft potters utilized a more refined clay then the earlier maiolica, added an extra glaze to create a glossier finish, and favored the traditional blue and white coloring.

By the 17th century, Dutch maiolica was replaced by a new style of pottery, a tin-glazed earthenware inspired by the Chinese and later Japanese porcelains, that were imported in great quantities by the Dutch East India Company. In an effort to imitate these porcelains, Delft potters utilized a more refined clay then the earlier maiolica, added an extra glaze to create a glossier finish, and favored the traditional blue and white coloring shown on late Ming and early Ch’ing porcelain. However even with these influences, the skilled artistry of the Dutch potters created their own style of pottery leading to an extensive range of tableware, vases, figurines, birdcages and tiles. Although Delftware reached its peak period from 1670 – 1730, it continued to be desirable and emulated throughout Europe well into the 19th century.

CCHS collections include the popular blue and white Delft as well as polychrome and manganese Delftware and tiles. The exhibit is housed in the North Room of the Luykas Van Alen House on Route 9, open to the public during the visitor season.

Archaeology of the Van Alen Homestead
Drawn from decades of digs on the property, this exhibition shows how we can reconstruct life on the site, based on shards of pottery, pewter, clay pipes and various metal pieces. The exhibition was funded entirely by the Ellsworth Kelly Foundation.

Ichabod Crane Schoolhouse

Washington Irving & Jesse Merwin
The Ichabod Crane Schoolhouse is a rural 19th-century building that served as a local single-room public school into the 1940s. A ‘Legends & Lore’ historical marker was recently awarded to the schoolhouse by the New York Folklore Society & William G. Pomeroy Foundation honoring Washington Irving’s “Sleepy Hollow” character ‘Ichabod Crane’—who was patterned after Jesse Merwin, the original Kinderhook schoolteacher who taught at the earliest one-room log-cabin school here.


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