Thursday, August 9, 2012


Atraking to Albany I arrived in the morning, giving me much of the day to explore some of the main attractions, the first being Albany Institute of History and Art, located in the downtown area.  "Step inside one of the oldest museums in North America for a glimpse of what life was like in old Albany and the Upper Hudson Valley through an amazing collection of furniture, clothing, paintings, silver and photographs, all celebrating the importance of this region in American history".

Accompanied by Schuyler Bull, we took a tour through the museum beginning with some recent acquisitions to include works of art and decorative furniture such as an oak table from the early 20th century.

One room featured an exhibit called "First in the Hearts of His Countrymen" exploring the impact of George Washington, whose likeness both during life and since his death has adorned and inspired thousands of artists, sculptors, and craftspeople. 

Another exhibition, Great, Strange, and Rarely Seen places on view the little known collections from the Albany Institute.  Chinese lacquer, intricately carved Japanese netsuke, and eighteenth-century English porcelain statuettes.  Then there are other collections like patent models and human hair jewelry.   The exhibition also includes panoramic photographs, unusual clocks,  British and American fortepianos, and riches from the Library.

The most interesting of the collection is in the room displaying Ancient Egypt through art and objects to include two mummies.  

A quick lunch at Melvile's Mug a specialty coffee cafe named for Herman Melville.  The cafe is located in Clinton Square across the way from the Palace Theater.  

Albany Visitors Center, located in Quackenbush Square, gave me the opportunity to view a 10-minute video presentation with an orientation of the city.  

The New York State Museum was the next stop. It is difficult to give a full description of this massive museum, the largest museum of this sort in the US.  I'm guessing that the goal it to tell the story of New York State, both cultural and natural with many galleries.  "The World Trade Center: Rescue, Recovery, Response", is one of the most recent exhibit to a major museum regarding the 911 disaster. 

A gallery devoted to Harlem is another.  We took in a depiction of a Mohawk Iroquois village longhouse and up on the 5th floor, a functioning 36-hourse carousel that was hand-carved in Brooklyn in the 1980s.  

Last stop was the Capitol Building one of only a few in the US that does not have a dome. Located at Empire State Plaza, architecture is a main topic here that not only emphasize the exterior but also the ceilings, walls and major staircases. The Great Western Staircase, also known as the Million Dollar Staircase, took an unheard of 14 years to construct, from 1883-1897 and cost, more than one million dollars. Most of the work was accomplished by stone cutters that came from Italy.  We did view the large Senate Chamber.

No comments:

Post a Comment