Items tagged with 'State Museum'

"America's Quiet Revolutionaries"

shaker worship illustration state museum

A circa 1840 illustration of a Shaker worship ceremony.

Over the weekend the State Museum opened a "major" new exhibit that could be worth a look: "The Shakers: America's Quiet Revolutionaries."

The exhibit includes hundreds of historic images and artifacts from regional institutions the Shaker Heritage Society, Hancock Shaker Village, and the Shaker Museum | Mount Lebanon. Exhibit blurbage:

The United Society of Believers in Christ's Second Appearing, better known as the Shakers, is the most significant communal religious society in American history.
In the 1770s, the Shakers launched a revolution parallel to that of the American colonists against British rule. As the Shakers sought religious freedom, their spiritual beliefs and communal lifestyle set them in opposition to society. Later their product innovations and marketing skill seemed "revolutionary" to the outside world.
Today, the Shakers are recognized for their tremendous influence on American cultural identity through their social, commercial and technological innovations, decorative arts, and design.
Thematically divided into six areas, the exhibition shows how the Shakers' unique model of an equal society challenged the norms of the "outside world."

As you might know, this region was the site of the first Shaker communities in America -- the very first being the Watervliet Shaker community (on land that's now in Colonie). Influential Shaker leader Ann Lee is buried there.

The exhibit also includes a series of talks, tours, and other events. This Saturday, November 22, there's a free gallery tour with exhibitor co-curator Lisa Seymour at 1 pm.

The State Museum exhibit runs through March 6, 2016.

image: D. W. Kellogg and Co. / New York State Museum

StoryCorps at State Museum

storycorps logoThe StoryCorps oral history project will be at the State Museum October 10-12. The project is asking for submissions from people who'd like to record. Blurbage:

Interview someone you love and care about....or a person want to get to know better. Submit a short story explaining why you would like to be chosen for a StoryCorps® interview slot.
A StoryCorps® interview is a meaningful conversation (approximately 40 minutes) between two people - brother and sister, grandchild and grandparent, two friends - who know each other and want to record their special relationship, their shared history or a significant event in their lives. It's an opportunity to ask the questions that matter and preserve your stories for future generations.

(You might recognize StoryCorps from the segments on NPR's Morning Edition. Or, as they also might be called: That time you were listening to the radio on the way to work and ended up crying a little bit.)

There are additional, important details at that link about how to submit a story. The deadline is midnight October 2 (this Thursday).

That Saturday -- October 11 -- is Family Heritage Day at the State Museum, presented by the Archives Partnership Trust, NYS Archives, State Museum, and State Library. The day includes a bunch of programs and activities about researching and preserving family histories.

This part of the State Museum is for the birds

curator of birds jeremy kirchman

State Museum curator of birds Jeremy Kirchman with a snowy owl specimen.

What's on display at any one time at State Museum is just small slice of all the items in the museum's collection. And because the State Museum is almost two centuries old -- it's the oldest state museum in the country -- there are a lot of things in that collection.

So we were happy to get the chance this week to get a behind-the-scenes look at the museum's large bird collection with its curator of birds, Jeremy Kirchman. He's giving a talk this Sunday about the passenger pigeon -- a current exhibit at the museum commemorates the bird's extinction a hundred years ago.

OK, let's get to the photo tour -- and a quick chat about museums as data sets, global warming, extinction, and some reasons to be hopeful.

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Canstruction 2014

canstruction little engine that could

"I think I can..."

The annual Canstruction exhibit is back at the State Museum. It opened Wednesday and will be on display through April 24.

Canstruction? The exhibit is a fundraiser for The Food Pantries of The Capital District. Design teams work to build large displays almost entirely out of canned goods. Visitors to the exhibit can vote on their favorite structure by dropping canned goods in collection bins. The overall goal is to collect 50,000 cans and $50k. (You can also donate online.)

The theme for this year's exhibit is "Welcome to Storytown," so the exhibits all have storybook-type themes.

After the jump, photos from this year's exhibit. But it's more check them out in person because you can see how they're canstructed.

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Listening to Martin Luther King Jr., half a century later

Check it out: The State Museum has posted the audio from a 1962 speech by Martin Luther King, Jr. commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation at an event in NYC.

The audio of the speech was turned up recently during the State Museum's ongoing effort to digitize its huge collection of objects and artifacts, according to a NYSED press release. The audio is believed to be the only known recording of the speech. (Can you imagine pulling a reel of tape from a dusty box, popping it on a reel-to-reel machine, and then hearing that distinctive voice emanate from the speaker? What a find.)

There's a mini-site set up for the audio and related documents. Among the docs: a scan of the marked-up text up of King's script.

The State Museum has posted the audio as a YouTube video matched with that marked-up script. It's one thing to read the text, it's a whole other to actually hear King deliver the 26 minute speech with his famous cadence and intonation. And the script -- with its many additions, subtractions, and mark-ups -- adds another dimension.

It's really worth watching when you have a chance.

Marguerite Holloway and The Measure of Manhattan at the State Museum

measure of manhattan book coverSounds interesting: Marguerite Holloway, author of The Measure of Manhattan, will be at the State Museum Thursday evening as part of the NYS Writers Institute visiting writers series.

The Measure of Manhattan is a biography of John Randel, Jr, an Albany native who laid out the street grid for Manhattan. Blurbage:

Born and raised in Albany, renowned for his brilliance, Randel was also infamous in his own day for eccentricity, egotism, and a knack for making enemies. He was a significant pioneer of the art and science of surveying, as well as an engineer who created surveying devices, designed an early elevated subway, laid out a controversial alternative route for the Erie Canal, and sounded the Hudson River from Albany to New York City in order to make maps and aid navigation. One of the many delights of Holloway's book is that it also reveals, for modern readers, the original landscape of Manhattan in its natural state before it was "tamed" by Randel's grid.

Holloway is a science journalist and heads up the science and environmental journalism program at Columbia.

The talk starts at 8 pm on Thursday (April 11) in the State Museum's Clark Auditorium. It's free.

Canstruction 2013

Canstruction 2013 Albert Einstein

E = mcan2

This year's Canstruction display opened Thursday at the State Museum. It's a benefit for the Food Pantries for the Capital District and it's pretty much what it sounds like -- large structures built out of canned goods or other non-perishable items, by local architecture, engineering and construction firms and design students. All the items are donated after the display.

This year's theme is "Can You Imagine." (Oh, yes, there will be can puns.)

The annual display is a fun stop in the museum, and worth a look if you're around there, especially to see how the structures were built. Some of them are very clever. There are also bins around the display to collect non-perishable items (you can vote for your favorite via can).

The display runs through April 11. It's on the fourth floor mezzanine.

Here are photos of this year's display...

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Drawing: New York in Bloom & brunch at City Beer Hall

New York in Bloom -old car.jpg

It's spring (sort of) at the New York State Museum this weekend

The drawing is now closed.

Yep, it's still winter, but the New York in Bloom flower show at the State Museum is this weekend, -- so spring can't be too far away.

The New York in Bloom show is an annual fund raiser for the museum's after-school programs and features more than 100 floral displays by florists, floral enthusiasts, garden club members, community groups and student groups.

AOA is giving away five pairs of combination tickets that will get the winners into the flower show and the annual Gem, Mineral and Fossil show and sale, also going on this weekend at the museum. The tickets can be used either Saturday or Sunday.

But, wait, there's more: one grand prize winner also gets brunch for two at the nearby City Beer Hall.

To enter the drawing, please answer the following question in the comments:

New York in Bloom is a local harbinger of spring. What are you looking forward to this spring in the Capital Region?

We'll draw the winners at random.

New York in Bloom is this Friday (February 22), Saturday (February 23) and Sunday (February 24) from 10 am-5 pm. Tickets are $5. The Gem Show is Saturday and Sunday and combination tickets to the flower show and the gem show are $8.

Important: All comments must be submitted by noon on Thursday February 21, 2013 to be entered in the drawing. You must answer the question to be part of the drawing. One entry per person, please. You must enter a valid email address (that you check regularly) with your comment. The winner will be notified via email by 5 pm on Thursday and must respond by 10 am on Friday, February 22.

Image: New York State Museum

Farewell, George Washington

nys library washington farewell addressThis weekend at the State Museum: From New York to the White House, New York Residents Who Became President, which runs Friday-Sunday. Blurbage:

The exhibition will include several important artifacts from the George Washington Collection at the New York State Library, including an original draft of George Washington's Farewell Address, penned in his hand, which was sent to Alexander Hamilton for comment and revision on May 15, 1796. It was rescued from the fire that ravaged the State Capitol in 1911. One of Washington's dress swords will also be on display. According to Washington family tradition, the sword was presented to Washington by Frederick the Great, King of Prussia. The sword was purchased by the State of New York directly from Washington's family in 1871 and is depicted in the Washington portrait that hangs in the United States House of Representatives.

Speaking of presidential documents... Abraham Lincoln's preliminary Emancipation Proclamation will also be on display on the second floor of the Capitol this Friday and Saturday.

Gordon Parks: You can rack up a triple-exhibit score if you also stop by the Gordon Parks photography exhibit at the State Museum.

Oh, and by the way: the State Museum is closed on President's Day. (Mondays are its usual closed day.)

photo: New York State Library

Gordon Parks photos at State Museum

gordon_parks_street_scene-_two_children_walking_harlem_ny_1943.jpg

"Street Scene: Two children walking, Harlem, NY, 1943" by Gordon Parks

Opening January 26 at the State Museum: Gordon Parks: 100 Moments, an exhibit of work by the renowned photographer and director. The collection includes one of Parks' most famous photos -- a take on Grant Wood's "American Gothic" (backstory) -- as well as images that weren't previously exhibited.

From a Parks bio at his foundation's website:

Born into poverty and segregation in Kansas in 1912, Parks was drawn to photography as a young man when he saw images of migrant workers published in a magazine. After buying a camera at a pawnshop, he taught himself how to use it and despite his lack of professional training, he found employment with the Farm Security Administration (F.S.A.), which was then chronicling the nation's social conditions. Parks quickly developed a style that would make him one of the most celebrated photographers of his age, allowing him to break the color line in professional photography while creating remarkably expressive images that consistently explored the social and economic impact of racism.

Parks would go on to become Life magazine's first African-American staff photographer, documenting many famous figures of the 20th century.

Also: he directed the movie Shaft.

The exhibit will be on display at the State Museum through May 19.

photo: Gordon Parks, "Street Scene: Two children walking, Harlem, NY, 1943" - Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress LC-USW3-023994-E

Gawking at the state's moon rock

state museum moon rock closeup

Here are a couple of large-format photos if you're so inclined.

The State Museum placed its moon rock on display today in the main lobby. So we stopped by to have a look.

The rock is really just a shard. And stripped of context, it would just elicit a "Huh?" But there is something cool about seeing a piece of the moon. If anything, it traveled a long way to get here.

The state's moon rock is from the Apollo 17 mission -- the last to visit the surface of the moon. It's part of a larger rock ("sample 70017") that two astronauts on the mission -- Eugene Cernan and Ronald Evans -- dedicated to all the young people of Earth. (Groovy, right? Hey, it was the 70s.) Upon their return, Richard Nixon had the rock broken up and the fragments distributed to 135 countries and the 50 US states. The rocks became known as "Goodwill moon rocks." Many of them have gone missing at various points -- New Jersey apparently just flat out lost its rock.

It was kind of fun watching people stop by the exhibit today to gawk at the rock -- especially when a guy engaged one of the security guards in an impromptu discussion of planetary geology.

The rock will be on display until February 10.

Capturing the Adirondacks

seneca ray stoddard canoe nysm

"The Way it Looks from the Stern Seat"

An exhibit of work by early 1900s Adirondack photographer Seneca Ray Stoddard opened Friday at the State Museum. Blurbage:

Seneca Ray Stoddard: Capturing the Adirondacks is open through February 24, 2013 in Crossroads Gallery. It includes over 100 of Stoddard's photographs, an Adirondack guideboat, freight boat, camera, copies of Stoddard's books and several of his paintings. There also are several Stoddard photos of the Statue of Liberty and Liberty Island. These and other items come from the State Museum's collection of more than 500 Stoddard prints and also from the collections of the New York State Library and the Chapman Historical Museum in Glens Falls.

The museum says it's the first time it's exhibited these photos from its collection. It's also created a mini-site online to highlight the photos -- definitely worth a look.

Stoddard himself is an interesting story. He was born in Wilton in 1844, and started his career as an ornamental painter at a railroad car factory in Green Island. Stoddard was one of the first people to photograph the Adirondacks, using a method that sounds like a tremendous hassle. His photos and guidebooks played a big part in making the Adirondacks a tourist destination.

It's interesting to us think about what motivates someone to basically drag an entire dark room through the Adirondacks. It makes sense. There's something about photographing a place and telling other people you were there that's a very strong draw -- even today. Facebook, Flickr, and Instagram are full of place photos. It's just a lot easier now.

We wonder what he would have done with an iPhone.

photo: Seneca Ray Stoddard via New York State Museum

New York's (now lost) native parrot

carolina parakeet audubon

From an 1825 illustration by John James Audubon.

As strange as it might sound, there were once parrots -- parakeets, specifically -- that were native to New York State. The range of the Carolina Parakeet stretched as far north as the Great Lakes, and there are historical reports of them in Albany.

They were brightly colored. They were loud. And by the late 1800s, they were gone from here. After the early 1900s, they were extinct.

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Tickets for A Taste of Albany 2012

taste of albany 2011 bennett campbell

From last year's A Taste of Albany at the State Museum.

Drawing's closed! Winner's been emailed!

The annual A Taste of Albany is May 3 at the State Museum. The fundraiser for the Interfaith Partnership for the Homeless will include samples of food from more than 30 Capital Region restaurants. We have a pair of tickets for the event and we'd like to give them away -- maybe even to you.

To enter the drawing, please answer this question in the comments:

What's the one local food, dish, taste, or food experience that says "spring" to you?

We'll pull one winner at random from the comments.

A Taste of Albany is from 6-8 pm on May 3 (that's a Thursday). Tickets start at $60 ($50 if you're under 30). We've heard from organizers that this year's event is heading for another sell out.

The tasting is in the terrace gallery of the State Museum -- maybe you can ride the carousel.

Important: All comments must be submitted by noon on Thursday (April 26, 2012) to be entered in the drawing. One entry per person, please. You must enter a valid email address (that you check regularly) with your comment (seriously, we want to give you the tickets). The winner will be notified via email by 3 pm on Thursday and must respond by noon on Friday (April 27, 2012).

photo: Bennett Campbell

Canstruction 2012

toucan

A touCAN.

The second annual Canstruction exhibit at the State Museum opened this week. It's a benefit for the Food Pantries for the Capital District in which teams from local architecture, engineering, construction firms (and schools) build sculptures made of canned goods. The exhibit -- on the 4th floor -- runs through April 26. After it's over, all the cans are donated.

This year's exhibit has a zoo theme -- so all the sculptures are animals. There were a lot of fun, clever entries. There's a quick photo tour after the jump.

If you have a chance to check out the exhibit in person, it's worth a stop. Many of the sculptures are (even) more impressive in person -- and it's fun to look at the details up close.

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Next stop for Roland Kays: Raleigh

fisher weighingWe were disappointed to see recently that State Museum curator of mammals Roland Kays was leaving the institution. As the TU reported, morale at the museum is low and many researchers are leaving as a result, Kays among them (be sure to read chrisck's comment).

Kays is one of our favorite local nerds. He researches how wildlife adapt to urban environments. And the conversation we had with him about fishers in the Pine Bush is still one of our favorite AOA posts (that's him weighing a tranquilized fisher in the photo). Also: he was one of the organizers of the popular Cooking the Tree of Life series at the State Museum. The guy even races unicycles.

So, we emailed him to find out what's next. He emailed back:

[Y]es, sad to be leaving the Albany area, but excited about new opportunities at the new Nature Research Center I'm moving to in Raleigh, NC. I'll also be a Prof at NC State. Dr. Jeremy Kirchman will continue the Cooking the Tree of Life at the NYSM, and I'll also start it up down in Raleigh.

Kays says he's also working on a project that will involve non-scientists running camera traps that report images to a wildlife database. He says that could be up and running this summer and he's hoping it will include some sites here in the Capital Region. We'll see if we can get more details as the project's closer to being ready.

photo via Roland Kays

John Crispin's Willard suitcase project

This is remarkable: photographer John Crispin is documenting suitcases -- and their contents -- from a long-closed state mental facility that have been preserved at the State Museum. He explains on his Kickstarter page:

In 1995, the New York State Museum was moving items out of the Willard Psychiatric Center in Willard, NY which was being closed by the State Office of Mental Health. It would eventually become a state-run drug rehabilitation center. Craig Williams and his staff became aware of an attic full of suitcases in the pathology lab building. The cases were put into storage when their owners were admitted to Willard sometime between 1910 and the 1960s. And since the facility was set up to help people with chronic mental illness, these folks never left. An exhibit of a small selection of the cases was produced by the Museum and was on display in Albany in 2003. It was very moving to read the stories of these people, and to see objects from their lives before they became residents of Willard.
I have been given the incredible opportunity to photograph these cases and their contents. To me, they open a small window into the lives of some of the people who lived at the facility.

He explains more in the video embedded above. His Kickstarter project has already reached its funding goal -- and then some.

Crispin has been posting some of the images from this project on a blog. The collections of items are beautiful in a way.

Crispin says on Kickstarter the State Museum has more than 400 suitcases in its collection. A handful of them were on display at the museum in 2004, and later became a traveling exhibit (exhibit website). There was also a book that came out of the exhibit, The Lives They Left Behind: Suitcases from a State Hospital Attic . [Village Voice] [USA Today]

(Thanks, Jess!)

Halloween Cooking the Tree of Life

state museum moon photo illustrationThe popular Cooking the Tree of Life series at the State Museum is making a Halloween cameo next week with "the food origins of monster myths." From the blurbage:

Vampires, witches and zombies have terrified and entertained us for eons, but where did they originate? Could it be something they ate? Museum Curator and Mad Scientist Dr. Roland Kays gives the scientific back story to three of these spooky stories of human-food interactions while the Food Network's Chef David Britton cooks up samples using the same ingredients. Come learn something new and sample some unique food-the experience will change you.

It starts at 7 pm on October 26. It's $5 (reservations, call Peggy Steinback at 474-1569 or email nysmpp@mail.nysed.gov). Also: "Come in costume for an extra treat!"

Tickets for A Taste of Albany

state museum from plaza

"Watch the sunset from the New York State Museum Terrace Gallery and taste Albany!"

Update update: Congrats to Mike -- he's the winner!

Update: The drawing's closed! The winner's been notified!

A Taste of Albany is coming up May 12 at the State Museum. From the blurbage: "Guests enjoy tastes from 40 of the Capital Region's best restaurants and chefs, live entertainment, live and silent auctions and great conversation."

AOA has two tickets for A Taste of Albany -- and we'd like to give them away, maybe to you. To enter the drawing, answer this question in the comments:

What's your favorite taste memory from when you were a kid?

Yep, we went a little Proustian there. We'll draw one winner at random.

A Taste of Albany is a benefit for Interfaith Partnership for the Homeless. It's from 6-8 pm on May 12 (that's a Thursday). Tickets start at $60 ($50 if you're under 30).

Important: All comments must be submitted by noon on Tuesday (May 3, 2011) to be entered in the drawing. One entry per person, please. You must enter a valid email address (that you check regularly) with your comment. The winner will be notified via email by 5 pm on Tuesday and must respond by 5 pm on Wednesday (May 4, 2011).

Canstruction

canstruction chick sculptureThis could be fun to check out if you're near the State Museum the next few weeks: Canstruction.

From the blurbage: "As part of a competition to benefit the Food Pantries of the Capital District, nine teams of local architecture, engineering, and design firms, as well as design students, will build 10 x 10 x 8 canned food sculptures that will be on display at the New York State Museum." (After the exhibition, the cans will be donated to the Food Pantries for the Capital District.)

Here are some sculptures built in past years in other cities.

Teams will start constructing their creations this afternoon in the museum's fourth floor gallery. They'll be on display for the public starting Thursday, running through April 28.

Cooking the Tree of Life 2011

tree of life logoThe popular Cooking the Tree of Life series will be back at the State Museum this February. The series -- which pairs chefs with biologist sous chefs -- is a commemoration of Charles Darwin's birth.

This year's topics: pork, potatoes, beer (well, yeast). Hard to go wrong there. (We've heard you have a better chance or scoring samples if you get there a little early and sit near the front.)

The schedule is after the jump.

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Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation on display Sunday at the State Museum

preliminary emancipation proclamation

I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States of America, and Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy thereof, do hereby proclaim and declare...

A manuscript copy of Abraham Lincoln's Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation will be on display this Sunday at the New York State Library. The rare display is part of the library's "Forever Free: Abraham Lincoln's Journey to Emancipation" exhibit, which runs through October 14.

From the library blurb:

The Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation has been part of the New York State Library's collection since 1865, when it was purchased by the New York State Legislature following the assassination of President Lincoln. The document is the manuscript copy of the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation issued on September 22, 1862, declaring that all persons held as slaves within states still in rebellion against the United States on January 1, 1863 "shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free." It is written in Lincoln's handwriting with notes by Secretary of State William Seward and portions of the printed Articles of War are pasted into the document.

The document will be in the State Museum's Huxley Theater from 9:30 am - 5 pm. It's free.

(Thanks, Sarah!)

image via New York State Library

Capital District Soap Box Derby

soap box derbyMight be fun to check out: the Capital District Soap Box Derby is this weekend on Madison Ave outside the New York State Museum. Kids will "gravity race" in three divisions for a chance to compete at the "world" championship in Akron, Ohio later this summer.

When we think of "soap box derby," all the pictures that flash in our head are in black and white. The whole thing seems so retro. As it happens, the wheels almost fell off the sport last year, but it got something very modern: a bailout.

Also, another modern (and cool) thing about it: girls were the winners of four of the six divisions at the championship last year.

The races here in Albany start at 9 am on Saturday.

photo: Capital District Soap Box Derby

Cooking the Tree of Life returns

tree of life logoThe State Museum's culinary celebration of Charles Darwin's birthday is coming up in February. From the museum's site:

The ingredients in the food we eat every day are some of the most extreme examples of evolution, from ridiculously hot peppers, to super sweet grasses, to flightless birds. In celebration of the 201st anniversary of Charles Darwin's birth, the State Museum presents three cooking demonstrations that highlight the extreme evolution of domestic food. Each demonstration teams a local chef with a biologist sous chef, and the two prepare the meal together, giving both a culinary and scientific perspective on the main ingredients.

Here's a clip from last year's series.

This year's lineup includes peppers (evolution of capsaicin), sugars (the sweet tooth), and birds (big-breasted dinosaur descendants).

The talks/demostrations are each Wednesday in February at 7 pm. They're free.

We've heard they're a lot of fun (be sure to sit close to the front for samples).

Out of the archives for just a day

flushing remonstranceThe New York State Museum will be displaying the Flushing Remonstrance on Sunday, the 352nd anniversary of its signing.

The document was a request from residents of what's now Queens for an exemption to the ban on Quaker practice in the colony of New Amsterdam. It's considered a pre-cursor to the religious freedom provision in the 1st Amendment of the US Constitution.

This pdf includes images of the document, which was partially burned during the 1911 state Capitol fire. Here's an English translation.

thumbnail via Thirteen and the NYYM

State flu shot mandate cancelled, charges over ESP man cave, Paterson says Obama Admin cost state $1 billion, a big year for lady bugs

The state Department of Health has rescinded the flu shot mandate for health care workers. The DOH says there isn't enough vaccine to go around and the state would rather see the vax go to at-risk populations (young people, pregnant women). The Paterson Administration said the move was not related to the group of lawsuits filed over the mandate. [TU] [NYT] [NYDN]

The two men accused of being involved with the alleged "man cave" in the ESP have been hit with a bunch of charges that make the cave sound like some sort of stoner's paradise. Both men have pleaded not guilty. The attorney for one of the men said they were "shocked" to face charges over the cave "when there was actually a more publicized and egregious waste of tax money last spring as our state Senate sat around proud doing nothing while Rome burned." [Daily Politics] [AP/Troy Record] [TU]

A special meeting of the Troy city council turned into a bit of display as Democrats refused to show up and people ended up yelling at each other in front of TV cameras. Harry Tutunjian had called the meeting in an attempt to suspend three Democratic appointees accused of being involved with recent case of alleged voter fraud. [Troy Record] [TU]

Two alternate jurors from the Adrian Thomas trial say they would have voted "not guilty." [Fox23]

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The Scoop

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