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These renderings are by Gallagher & Associates, a museum planning and design firm, which also produced the master plan -- the rendering captions are from that plan.

A State of Change


"A State of Change serves as an entry into the renovated galleries and demonstrates geographic and geologic change through natural and human impact. Featured in this area are specimens from the Museum’s renowned paleontology, geology and anthropology collections. Iconic objects such as the Cohoes Mastodon, will be brought to life in a new manner utilizing the latest technologies. Visitors of all ages will explore what we know about the past and how that informs our future with themes like sustainability, eco stewardship and citizen science."

Emergence of a State


"This area, an unexpected and immersive experience for visitors, will connect the stories of natural history and human change. Central to the area is projection mapping on the floor of the state of New York, showing “time lapse” in terms geologic/geographic eras and the migration /immigration of human beings."


"The imagery can be reactive to visitors in the space and also integrate and highlight objects. For example, one segment could highlight a 300 million-year-old tree stump from the Gilboa fossil forest and show the connection between history and the recent discovery of an ancient forest floor. Additional sequences in environmental changes due to human activity will be developed, so this interactive experience will weave between state stories that have a global impact."

New York Stories


"New York Stories addresses the questions: Whose New York is it? What makes New York unique? For centuries, New York has been an incubator of innovators in politics, art, music, science and activism. Through words, works and actions, visitors will become both emotively and intellectually engaged with the stories of diverse New Yorkers who have made a lasting impact on American history and culture."

New York in 100 Objects


"This visually rich area is inspired by the British Museum’s hugely successful exhibition, History of the World in 100 Objects. Working with diverse curators and collectors across New York State, we will bring together the best objects to represent the breadth of New York’s rich history through one-of-a-kind objects. Working collaboratively with other cultural institutions—from the Hudson River to the Adirondacks, from New York City to Buffalo—will create a lens for audiences to see the diversity of history, art, culture, science and technology all in one venue. It will invite visitors to see the richness of the state’s collections and encourage them to go out and explore the state in a new light."

Floor plan

The areas in gray are planned to stay the same.


State Museum to get large makeover

state museum renovation A State of Change exhibit

A rendering of the "A State of Change" exhibit, one of a handful of planned new exhibit spaces.

The State Museum announced Monday that it's planning a renovation that will involve 35,000 square feet of new exhibits, as well as more flexible space and updated interactive technology.

The $14 million project is set to be completed in phases over four years. The museum will remain open during the renovation (though various spaces will be closed at times for work).

Here are a few more details, as well as renderings of the planned new exhibits...


They're above in large format -- click or scroll all the way up.

More details

Press release blurbage:

The new galleries will be developed under a conceptual approach of "New York Stories" - with every exhibition telling the stories of the state in a diverse and compelling way. The new galleries will address the following themes:
· A State of Change: demonstrates New York State's geographic and geological change through natural and human impact.
· Politics and Prose: presents New York State as a place of debate, dialogue and documentation.
· Emergence of a State: defines New York State through its people, places and events.
· Culture, Community and Context: explores New York State's people, cities, and culture through topics such as art, music, architecture and beliefs.
· New York in 100 Objects: an exhibition of 100 objects, including objects borrowed from museums across the state, that represents the history of New York.

Among the exhibits that will be carried over: the World Trade Center exhibition, the A-Train, Sesame Street, the Cohoes Mastodon, Native Peoples of New York, and Discovery Place.

Here's an FAQ-style listing of details about the project, which is being paid for via a bond item. And here's an outline of the master plan for the project, which includes more details.

The museum says it's encouraging comments and suggestions from the public: museuminfo@nysed.gov.


Interesting... it will be strange not to have the Adirondack hall there anymore, since it's been basically the same since I was a kid 35 years ago. I guess this means we're never getting the thunderstorm room back. :)

I saw this and panicked that the bird hall might be gone but looks like it'll still be there! Phew, love that hallway so much!

So. Many. Emotions. The museum is essentially the same as it was when I first visited decades ago on a school field trip, so obviously I'm happy the State is putting money into updating the place. At the same time, I'm sad the Adirondack Hall is being cut out of the new design. Especially since as a toddler my son exclusively referred to the State Museum as the "Moose Museum." I also feel a sort of Lorax-style indignation over the tearing down of the Adirondacks in the name of "progress." Which of course is kind of hilarious, given the irony that the Adirondacks in question are an indoor fake forest.

I know change isn't easy but nooooooooo!

I think these renters destroy the intimacy of the museum as it's currently laid out. Especially the Adirondack and native American exhibits. I could always count on these, the fire trucks, and the port exhibits to not only put a smile on my son's face, but mine too while generating a huge dose of nostalgia.

apparently the state museum of the future will be whites only judging by the mock ups.

Please try to avoid revisionist history and please don't tell me how it was the all female dwarf Panamanian immigrants who were oppressed by cigar smoking white men who were really responsible for the Erie Canal or something like that!

I still miss the thunderstorm room.... it was soooo awesome!

And I miss the huge wall photo of the Mount Hope Iron Furnace.

But I love that there will be new stuff to see!

Dear "BS", i am talking how the patrons depicted in the images of the future museum are all white and able bodied. Have you been to this museum? The visitors are a very diverse group. This isn't the 50's, so why not make the images of the proposed changes reflect the diversity of those who visit the museum? Especially when there is specific reference to the cultural diversity of the state.

OK, Laura is right. The 12 imaginary people in the preliminary representation is not racially diverse enough. Did these guys not get the memo that every scenario for the rest of eternity must be a precise pie chart displaying perfectly proportionate mixes of every demographic. I didn't see anyone from the LGBT community either.

JayTee and Laura, you missed that the proposals don't include some sort of river access either.

Real old timers still wistfully talk about the displays from their childhood that were in the State Education building and refer to the Cultural Ed. Center as the "new" museum.

I also recall a former State Museum director from the 1990s when he took his first tour of the exhibition hall and was asked what he would do to change it. He replied: "Bulldoze it." Major changes have been in the works for decades. It was only financial restraints that prevented a major renovation from happening sooner.

I'm really bummed that they're getting rid of the Adirondack Hall. Yes, it was a poor imitation of nature, but the massive dioramas and well placed background noise made it a quiet, peaceful and contemplative place to visit.

Must the latest digital technology invade every arena of our lives?

First...........FDR, NOT ABLE BODIED and JOHN COLTRANE NOT WHITE are visible right up front
Fourth......This will be AWESOME!!!!


I LOVED the History of the World in 100 Objects, and am extremely excited by that concept for New York... just hope its not well represented in the mock up... furniture and portraits? Please look beyond what is already on display! Pull out the mysteries of the warehouse!!!

They are getting rid of the minerals?! what ?! That's the best exhibit in there.

Agreed, Jack, especially the UV box. Anyone know where else I can go to snicker at some cummingtonite?

So we're coming up on three years since this was posted. Many of the links above referring to the project are dead, and a stroll through the museum doesn't indicate Thing One being started. Anyone know what happened to the $14 million or to the project?

Makes me happy........hopefully the lack of work-change will
persist......all for adding to the museum.....against subtracting.......

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