Albany Institute of History & Art

125 Washington Ave, Albany, NY 12210 - United States





The Albany Institute of History & Art has collected art and historical materials from the Upper Hudson Valley for more than 200 years, and is New York State’s oldest museum. The richness of the collections and the careful documentation of ownership allow works of ­art, historical objects, photographs, and manuscript collections to tell insightful and intriguing stories about the people and events of the region. At the Albany Institute, art and history connect. Collections and exhibitions include Hudson River school paintings, Ancient Egypt, historic objects of the Hudson Valley Region, and both historic and contemporary art of the Hudson Valley Region.


Hudson River School
Artists of the Hudson River School painted and sketched a variety of landscapes during the fifty-year period from 1825 to 1875. The American wilderness, which has now come to define the school, represents only one. These same artists also painted scenes of rural farms and gardens, manufacturing facilities and scenic tourist sites. Hudson River School paintings portray a visual history of the American landscape during decades of rapid change and transformation. This exhibition, drawn from the collection of the Albany Institute, is organized into six themes that explore connections between Hudson River School paintings and the historical events and intellectual perceptions that shaped the American landscape in the nineteenth century.

Fashionable Frocks of the 1920s
Fashionable Frocks of the 1920s showcases thirty rarely-seen dresses from the Albany Institute's historic clothing collection to explore fashion trends and transformations from an infamous era.

Ancient Egypt
Visitors to the museum will enjoy the story of the Albany mummies, learn about the history of Ancient Egypt, and see how the intersection of new science, technology, and scholarship changes how we learn. In addition to the story of Mummy Ankhefenmut, theme and topics in the galleries include Egyptian History and Civilization; the Nile and the Environment; Crafts and Professions; Food and Drink; Gods and Goddesses; and Preparing for the Afterlife.

Romancing the Rails: Train Travel in the 1920s and 1930s
The 1920s and 30s were a kind of golden age for rail travel in the U.S., a period when railroads were portrayed as modern amenities that carried passengers to romantic getaways in luxury and comfort. Yet the story of railroads and rail travel during the period is much more complex, involving talented individuals, hardworking people, engineering accomplishments, celebrations, and momentous events. Romancing the Rails features objects and library materials from the Albany Institute’s railroad collections, including rare photographs, posters, locomotive models, and objects designed for New York Central’s 20th Century Limited railroad that debuted in 1938 and ran from New York City to Chicago in sixteen hours.


Museum Scavenger Hunt: Families of all ages will enjoy exploring the museum galleries and spotting fine details within exhibit images and be rewarded with a small prize at the front desk.

Participation in Museum Day is open to any tax-exempt or governmental museum or cultural venue on a voluntary basis. Smithsonian magazine encourages museum visitation, but is not responsible for and does not endorse the content of the participating museums and cultural venues, and does not subsidize museums that participate.