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.

A Brilliant Bit of Color: The Work of Walter Launt Palmer
The Albany Institute of History & Art holds the largest public collection of works by artist Walter Launt Palmer (1854–1932), son of Albany sculptor Erastus Dow Palmer. It includes oil and watercolor paintings, pastels, pencil drawings, a rare painted ceramic cup, as well as letters and photographs. A visual overview of Palmer’s life travels, and artist output is showcased. The exhibition includes interior views where Palmer lavished attention on the textiles, ceramics, furniture, and wall decorations that filled well-furnished homes; Venetian scenes that capture the luxuriant colors of the sea, sky, and buildings of this island city; and snow scenes that continue to enchant viewers with their masterful tonal subtleties. Drawings, photographs, and ceramics accompany the exhibition.

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.

Recycled and Refashioned: The Art of Ruby Silvious
Artist Ruby Silvious begins her creative process with a cup of tea, especially the used tea bag. For the past five years, Silvious has been painting and drawing on tea bags that have been steeped in hot water, dried, and emptied of their content. The stained paper (and occasionally cloth) of the tea bags offer a distinctive canvas for her miniature pictures, which present a visual journal of her life and travels—a watercolor of breakfast or flowers encountered on a walk, a street scene of a town visited in France, or a museum gallery and its art-loving crowds.

Art for All Drop-in Art Making: Adults and children of all ages are welcome to join us in the Albany Institute art studio on Saturdays for drop-in art making. In April we'll take inspiration from the recycled works of artist, Ruby Silvious.

Nature Scavenger Hunt: Explore the beauties of nature with a scavenger hunt of the museum's Hudson River School landscape paintings. Spot fine details of trees, and animal life and be rewarded with a small prize at the front desk.

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