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Albany Institute of History & Art, Albany

4.5
#4 of 9 in Museums in Albany
History Museum · Hidden Gem · Museum
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The Albany Institute of History & Art (AIHA) is a museum in Albany, New York, United States, "dedicated to collecting, preserving, interpreting and promoting interest in the history, art, and culture of Albany and the Upper Hudson Valley region". It is located on Washington Avenue (New York State Route 5) in downtown Albany. Founded in 1791, it is among the oldest museums in the United States.
Several other institutions have merged over time to become today's Albany Institute. The earliest were learned societies devoted to the natural sciences, and for a time it was the state legislature's informal advisory body on agriculture. Robert R. Livingston was the first president. Joseph Henry delivered his first paper on electromagnetism to the Institute. Its collections of animal, vegetable and mineral specimens from state surveys eventually became the foundations of the New York State Museum. Later in the century it became more focused on the humanities, and eventually merged with the Albany Historical and Art Society. It has had its present name since 1926. Over the course of the 20th century it has become more firmly established as a regional art museum.

The institute's three-building complex includes the late 19th-century Rice Building, the only freestanding Beaux-Arts mansion in the city, designed by Richard Morris Hunt and donated to the institute by one of its former benefactors. Its main building is a 1920s Classical Revival structure designed by local architect Marcus T. Reynolds. A more modern glass structure connects the two. The original two buildings were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976. At the beginning of the 21st century, the institute completed an extensive renovation in which the entrance building was constructed and new climate-controlled storage space for the collections was built.
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Albany Institute of History & Art reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
176 reviews
Google
4.6
TripAdvisor
  • Two adults visited this museum on a Friday in mid-August 2022 and had a great time. We spent the entire day there (about seven hours including time for lunch) looking and reading about all of the... 
    Two adults visited this museum on a Friday in mid-August 2022 and had a great time. We spent the entire day there (about seven hours including time for lunch) looking and reading about all of the...  more »
  • Very nice museum. Even with 3 kids and 3 teenagers we all enjoyed it! The variety of paintings, maps, statues, special exposition etc made it interesting for everyone. Entrance is not too pricey... 
    Very nice museum. Even with 3 kids and 3 teenagers we all enjoyed it! The variety of paintings, maps, statues, special exposition etc made it interesting for everyone. Entrance is not too pricey...  more »
Google
  • One of the best museums in Albany. The Albany Institute of History & Art is actually one of the oldest museums in the United States. They have a vast collection of artwork from the Hudson River School. Many of the paintings depict local spots along the Hudson River, Adirondack Mountains, Catskills, Albany, or Lake George. Some paintings were on loan from Thomas Cole. Also, interesting is the collection of artifacts and paintings from the Mohawk Valley region featuring a portrait of Sir William Johnson. The Egyptian gallery is captivating as it features two mummies. Ancient Egyptian objects ranging from hairbrushes, jewelry. canopic jars, and artwork are featured. The Gordon Parks exhibition "I, too, am America" was an important look at the sad history of segregation in the US. The Jan Brett exhibition of art in children's books was unique. The museum does attract many different exhibitions throughout the year. Admission price was reasonable for such a nice museum. Gift shop featured art prints of artwork in the museum at reasonable prices.
  • Really nice museum, they had Wyeth's family BOA art collection, excellent exhibit from 1800's and 1900's. My favorite was train travel in 1920s and 1930s, some really outstanding posters and other exhibits. Hudson river school paintings, 19th century American Sculpture, ancient Egypt, and colonial Albany where all part of the experience. Definitely worth a visit.

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