Items tagged with 'museums'

Hoarding at the Rensselaer County Historical Society

outside building RCHS.jpg

With over 30,000 items in their collection, what keeps RCHS off Hoarders

By Lauren Hittinger

The difference between collecting and hoarding lies somewhere between owning only what you can carry and... well... what you see on the A&E channel.

But at The Rensselaer County Historical Society (RCHS) collecting is their mission. RCHS has more than 30,000 items in its collection -- which may appear to tip to the side of hoarding, but their new exhibit helps explain what they choose to keep and why.

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The Albany Institute, Googled

google art project albany institute screengrab

A screengrab from the Albany Institute's collection on Google Art Project.

Check it out: The Albany Institute of History and Art has been added to Google's Art Project, an online gallery of works from museums around the world.

The Google project, started in 2011, now includes 53 works from the institute, ranging from old images of Albany to the Hudson River School paintings to photos of objects. The interface for browsing the images is nice -- and the works are available is very high resolution. An example: check out this panorama of the Albany waterfront from around the beginning of the 20th century. You can zoom in to see details very clearly.

Google Art Project currently has collections from 314 museums posted online. Of that group, 92 museums are also available in "museum view" -- it's like StreetView, but inside the museum. Example: The Art Institute of Chicago.

The Albany Institute will eventually be joining that group -- the Google camera was there today.

It's good to know that when Google's army of robots eventually over the world, the art might be saved.

Earlier on AOA: Virtually browsing the Albany Institute's collections

The Albany Institute advertises on AOA.

screengrab from Google Art Project

A look at the new mummy exhibit at the Albany Institute of History and Art

mummy coffin lids

You live your life as a priest or sculptor. You die. You're preserved, sent off into the afterlife. And there you rest for 3,000 or 2,300 years. Then a decidedly unrestful period. Your effects are split up. You're partially unwrapped to make sure you're not "squishy." You're sold for maybe $100. A steamboat ride to the other side of the planet. Fanfare. Hubbub. Outright mania. Gender confusion. Gawkers. So many school children. An x-ray. Another x-ray. Is that the beginning of understanding? Finally?

To put it another way: the afterlife is complicated.

It's one of themes that emerges from the Albany Institute of History and Art's new exhibit, "The Mystery of the Albany Mummies," which opens this Saturday.

Here's a quick look from a preview Thursday.

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Thinking differently about what a destination museum in Albany could be

city museum composite

A few scenes from Katie's recent visit to The City Museum in St. Louis.

By Katie Beltramo

Lately, plenty of people have been talking about building an aquarium in Albany. I support any efforts to make the Capital District more fun, informative, and entertaining for families, and I like aquariums and have visited several with my family.

But if we're trying to draw people into our area, I don't think that an aquarium is our best choice. There are some terrific ways to encounter water creatures not terribly far away, including the New England Aquarium in Boston, Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut and The Wild Center in Tupper Lake. Granted, these aren't close enough to be easy day trips for us locals, but the point is, don't we want to draw visitors from outside the Capital District? Who's going to drive from Boston or Connecticut to see an aquarium in Albany?

Is there anything we can offer that's unique enough to draw visitors from far and wide, while being fun and active enough to build memberships and repeat visits from us locals? My whole family was inspired by such an idea on a recent trip to St. Louis.

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Albany Museum of Political Corruption

eliot spitzer client no 9 museum frameWith Trader Joe's now in the area, Bruce Roter has moved on to another pursuit: an Albany Museum of Political Corruption.

As Roter tells the Biz Review's Mike DeMasi: "That's what Albany is known for. Why shy away from it? Let's embrace it. If other politicians can come from around the state and sully the name of Albany, why not cash in on it?"

From the Facebook page Roter has set up for the idea:

Just think of it, a wonderful "rogue's gallery" of those who have sullied Albany's fine name!

And the creative possibilities!... for example, visitors wouldn't pay an entrance fee, they'd pay a bribe! (of course). And parents will be encouraged to lie about how old their children are!

And the gift shop, ladies and gentlemen, that will be the best! We will sell little dolls of men and women in suits, and written on their backs will be this: "I bought this legislator in Albany, NY." ...

Friends, we here in Albany take ourselves too seriously. A bit of self-deprecating humor would serve us well. Or, to "corrupt" the lyrics from a famous song: "a spoonful of irreverence makes the medicine go down!"

[via @AlbBizMikeD]

From way back: No Trader Joe's, no peace: What's up with Bruce Roter's supermarket activism [CelinaBean]

Spitzer photo: US Department of State via Wikipedia

The Arkell Museum

arkell museum composite

By Casey Normile

Sometimes you don't need a whole day trip, right? It can get tiring, to have the whole long day away from the joy of work and traffic, to just shop and eat and enjoy the day. No, thank you, just a half-day for me. That's all I need.

One destination for a quick half-day trip: the Arkell Museum in Canajoharie.

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The Irish American Heritage Museum

irish american heritage museum exterior

By Casey Normile

You may be feeling particularly Irish this week. All of the sudden, you want to eat corned beef and cabbage, put on a wool sweater, and talk about the good old days. And if you want to make your St. Patrick's Day more than just a parade and a pint? You can learn some history, too.

The Irish American Heritage Museum in downtown Albany offers a year-round look into the story of the Irish in this area. It's usually a small, quiet space focusing on the history and impact of the people who trace their roots to Ireland.

But this time of year for the museum is kind of like what Halloween is for a costume shop.

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AIDS Memorial Quilt at Skidmore

aids memorial quilt  Block 2721A 12-foot by 12-foot section of the AIDS Memorial Quilt will be on display at Skidmore's Tang Museum on Thursday (February 14). From the listing:

The quilt, begun in San Francisco in 1987 as a way to remember and honor those who had died of AIDS, has grown into an international effort with some 48,000 quilt panels bearing the names of AIDS victims. The section on display at the Tang, Block 2721, carries the names of individuals from the Capital District.
The quilt will be exhibited on the floor, framed by Francis Cape's Utopian Benches in the We The People exhibition in the Tang's Payne Room. "The AIDS quilt is a fitting addition to the We the People exhibition, which explores ideas of community and inclusivity," said Ginger Ertz, Tang Museum educator.

The quilt section will be on display at the Tang for just one day. The museum will be open from noon-9 pm on Thursday. Admission is free.

Also at the Tang now: Opener 24: Carrie Moyer: Pirate Jenny, Someday Is Now: The Art of Corita Kent, and Elevator Music 23: Yoko Ono: Listen.

image: The NAMES Project Foundation

Butterfly house at miSci

misci butterfly houseOpening this weekend at miSci in Schenectady: an indoor butterfly house. Blurbage:

Escape winter's chill and discover hundreds of brilliantly colored native butterflies at miSci's new indoor butterfly house. Discover Monarchs, Black Swallowtails, Painted Ladies, and Red Admirals flying about (and possibly landing on you!) as miSci re-creates their habitat - the edge of an open field with flowers and trees. Be sure to stop at the chrysalis chamber to see the butterflies as they emerge. Learn about the exciting life cycles of the butterflies, and learn how to create butterfly-friendly environments outside your own home.

The exhibit runs through April 7. It's free with miSci admission.

The museum also has extended school break hours next week (February 16-24) and next month (March 29-April 7): Monday-Saturday 9 am-5 pm, and Sunday 12-5 pm (closed on Easter).

photo via miSci Facebook

Comic book artist Alex Ross at the Norman Rockwell Museum

Alex Ross Justice League NRM

The Justice League as depicted by Alex Ross.

An exhibit of work by award-winning comic book artist Alex Ross opens this Saturday at the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge. And Ross will be at the museum that evening to talk and sign autographs.

From the blurbage for the exhibit, Heroes & Villains:

Heroes & Villains is the first museum exhibition celebrating the artwork of Alex Ross, today's foremost comic book artist. Ross, acclaimed for the photorealism of his work, is often referred to as "the Norman Rockwell of the comics world." Heroes & Villains features over 130 paintings, drawings, photographs and sculptures from Ross's personal collection. The pieces range from a crayon drawing of Spider-Man that he created at the age of four to paintings from his early career on projects like Marvels and Kingdom Come through to his more recent work on Flash Gordon and Green Hornet. This exhibition outlines Ross's career of redefining comic books and graphic novels for a new generation of followers of Superman, Batman, Spider-Man and other classic comic book superheroes.

The reception is from 6:30-8:30 pm. It's $20 / $15 teens and students / children under 10 $10.

The Ross exhibit will be on display through February 24.

Albany Comic Con
Speaking of comics: The Albany Comic Con is this Sunday at the Holiday Inn on Wolf Road, from 10 am-4 pm -- admission is $5. Among the events part of the con: a silent auction of original comic book art to benefit the Ronald McDonald House.

image: Alex Ross, "Justice Vol. 1" paperback cover, 2006, courtesy of the artist, ™ & © DC Comics. Used with permission.

LEGO Challenge at Albany Institute 2012

LEGO Empire State PlazaThe Albany Institute's LEGO Challenge is back this weekend. Blurbage:

Bring friends, family, and colleagues to work together to create beautiful Lego® structures. This year's theme is "On the River." Whether you're creating a boat, a bridge, a house with a water view, or even an underwater creature, let your imagination run wild! Basic Building blocks will be supplied, however, contestants may bring their own.

Last year's event was a lot of fun, and included some really good designs.

The building sessions are Saturday, Sunday, and Monday (Columbus Day). Registration is $20 per team -- teams can include up to four people, of any age. Space is limited, so the institute recommends pre-registeration.

And, of course, if you don't want to compete, you can just go to check out the designs as part of a visit to the museum.

American Impressionism at the Albany Institute

in vorhees garden by matilda browne

"In Voorhees’s Garden" by Matilda Browne.

A new exhibit at the Albany Institute of History and Art -- American Impressions: Paintings from the Florence Griswold Museum -- is now open, and there's a reception today (Thursday) from 5-8 pm. From the blurbage:

It is both history and art. The genre is from the turn of the century, complete with all the Yankee charm of New England. And the art is genuinely American, derived from the classic impressionists of Europe and enhanced with authentic Yankee heritage. You might notice the artists' deft use of shadows to accent shapes and dimension, or you might be in awe of the gifted brush techniques, or you might be amazed at the striking use of color -- but nobody has to know any of that to just plain love these beautiful stories told in images.

The exhibit includes 50 paintings from American Impressionists.

The works are on loan from the Florence Griswold Museum in Olde Lyme, Connecticut -- the town was the site of one of art colonies in which American Impressionism simmered around the turn of the 20th century. The Albany Institute and the Griswold Museum have worked out a trade of sorts -- the institute sent the Griswold an exhibit of Hudson Valley art earlier this year, and the Impressionists exhibit is the Grisdwold's side of the trade. It will be on display until January 6.

William Kennedy: The author will be at the Albany Institute Sunday talking about how "how Albany has changed during his lifetime, including downtown, Capitol Hill, Center Square, the advent of the South Mall, the eradication of the Gut, the changes wrought after the decline of the Dan O'Connell / Erastus Corning machine, the leadership of Mayors Tom Whelan and Jerry Jennings, and the role of Nelson Rockefeller in these changes." The talk is at 2 pm. It's $10 / $8 students.

New name for Schenectady Museum

miSci logoThe Schenectady Museum is now called miSci.

miSci = Museum of Innovation and Science

It's pronounced "my-sigh."

The museum has been changing things up this year. In February it ousted its executive director. And it's been focused on bringing in new interactive exhibits, including a series of visiting exhibits from the Exploratorium in San Francisco. The first of those exhibits will open in October.

Earlier on AOA:
+ Now on YouTube: Steinmetz, Felix the Cat, and other figures from GE's history in Schenectady
+ Now on YouTube: Steinmetz, Felix the Cat, and other figures from GE's history in Schenectady

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

Here's your chance to touch a moon rock

nasa driven to explore exhibitComing to the Schenectady Museum in July: NASA's Driven to Explore Exhibit. From the blurbage:

Immerse yourself in the story of NASA: learn why we explore; discover the challenges of human space exploration; and see how NASA provides critical technological advances to improve life on Earth. And touch a 4 billion-year-old moon rock brought back aboard Apollo 17, the last manned mission to the moon in 1972. The moon rock is one of only eight lunar samples in the world made available for the public to touch.

The mobile exhibit will be at the Schenectady Museum July 12 (noon-9 pm) and 13 (noon-5 pm). The last tickets will be sold an hour before closing. Tickets are $7.50 adults / $5 children / $6.25 seniors / plus $2 for a show at the Suits-Bueche Planetarium.

And, of course, the museum will also be selling astronaut ice cream.

photo: NASA

What you can't see at the Schenectady Museum

Among the things you can't see in the Schenectady Museum right now.

So, when you go to a museum you get to see all this cool stuff that they have out on display, right? But museums often have a lot more stuff than space to display that stuff. Often, there are all kinds of interesting things stored away that you can't see.

So we asked Chris Hunter, Director of Archives and Collections at The Schenectady Museum, to show us a few of the interesting items in the museum's collection that you can't see right now.

What did find? Everything from comic books, ray guns and refrigerator songs to 1920's solar cell research tools.

Want to see?

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Iroquois Indian Museum

Iroquois Composite

By Liz Clancy Lerner

In 1979 Chris Johanssen was working on research for a doctorate on Iroquois arts and crafts when Stan and Tam Hill -- two local Iroquois -- suggested she create a museum.

The next year, with lots of community support, the Iroquois Indian Museum opened. What was once housed in an upper floor of the Old Stone Fort Museum complex, now has its own modern, multi-functional space in Howes Cave.

And here, the space is part of the exhibit.

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Industry, history intertwine at the Watervliet Arsenal Museum

arsenal outside shot

Not all the exhibits fit inside.

By Akum Norder

Talk about the Watervliet Arsenal and you'll find yourself using a lot of superlatives: first, only, oldest. Founded in 1813, it's the United States' oldest continuously active arsenal. It's still an active manufacturing and development site today -- and the Capital Region's 14th largest employer. Watervliet Arsenal has been a part of local life for nearly 200 years, employing thousands. Its museum, which is free and open to the public, gives us a glimpse of our industrial past.

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Get the Message at Albany Institute

Graphic Design Exhibit Composite

A few of the images from Graphic Design: Get the Message.

By Liz Clancy Lerner

The Graphic Design: Get the Message exhibit at the Albany Institute of History and Art is definitely worth a visit for design nerds, it will also be interesting to anyone who's a critical consumer of media -- or just curious about the images we see every day.

Stay a little while and you'll see it's also about world history, innovation, how far we've come as a country, and how we absorb information...

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Sunday with mummy

albany institute mummyThe Albany Institute of History and Art has event lined up for the Sunday to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the arrival of its mummies collection. From the institute's site:

Dr. Peter Lacovara, senior curator of Ancient Egyptian, Nubian, and Near Eastern Art at the Michael C. Carlos Museum of Emory University, will lead a lively gallery talk about the mummy Ankefenmut, his coffin, and the connections that Albany and the region have with ancient Egypt. The presentation will also introduce canopic jars, embalming equipment, amulets, and other funerary paraphernalia to explain the science and ritual of mummification. From 1:00 to 4:00 pm our studios will be open for children to create their own hieroglyphic works of art and also to create their own mummies by bringing toys from home to undergo the mummification process.

The talk starts at 2 pm. It's free with museum admission ($10 for adults, $8 students, $6 kids).

The Albany Institute has two mummies -- one male and one female. The male has been identified as Ankhefenmut, a priest and the sculptor of a temple in Thebes. The woman's name is unknown. Both mummies are thought to be about 3000 years old.

The institute also has a mummified pet. It was originally thought to be a cat -- but a CT scan at Albany Med in 2002 revealed that it was actually... a dog.

photo: Albany Institute

A pair of very loyal mittens

collie fur mittens

The upside: these mittens come already trained.

Check out these mittens Flickr user Photos o' Randomness spotted in an exhibit at the Albany International Airport.

Does the sign in the case say "Collie Fur Mittens?" Yes. Yes, it does.

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The zine collection at the NY State Library

By Jessica Pasko

factsheet five coverOne of the biggest and most comprehensive collections of zines is located right here in the Capital Region. And it's at... the New York State Library? Yep, the New York State Library -- down on Madison Avenue. It has a collection that spans everything from science fiction to punk rock.

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Free Day at MASS MoCA

a Spencer Finch installation at MASS MoCA

An installation by Spencer Finch at MASS MoCA

There's a bunch of free stuff going on at MASS MoCA tomorrow (February 9) from 11am to 8pm. Admission to the galleries? Free. Guided tours of the galleries? Free. Behind-the-scenes tours? Free. Kidspace? Free. Samples of freshly made ice cream (including "Cookie Dough Peanut Butter Swirl")? Free.

There's also a "Bollywood Dance Party" in the evening, with dance lessons arranged by Jacob's Pillow. That, alas, is not free (it's $14 in advance, $18 day of).

photo by Flickr user megananne, used under a Creative Commons Attribution / Share Alike license

The Scoop

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