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  • New York State MuseumNew York State Museum Albany, New York
    The New York State Museum, which is research backed, is an institution located in Albany, New York, on Madison Avenue that is connected to the Empire State Plaza, that faces the plaza and looks toward the New York State Capitol. This fabulous museum contains artworks, artifacts that are prehistoric and historic and ecofacts that show the state's geological, cultural and natural developments. It is managed by the state's education department's Office of Cultural Education and is considered to be the country's biggest and oldest state museum.  The museum was located in the State Education Building, but was moved to the Cultural Education Center, occupying the first four floors, within the 10 story, 1.5 million square foot building that contains the New York State Library and NY State Archives. The museum was started in 1836, when it was called the NY State Geological and Natural History Survey, by Governor William Marcy to document the mineral riches of the state. It was reorganized in 1870, and called the NY State Museum of Natural History and housed in the State Education Building from 1912 until 1976, when it moved to the cultural center. It was on the 4th of July, 1976, and the nation's bicentennial, with over 15,000 people attending the opening ceremonies. The main part of the collection is housed on the first floor, with numerous galleries and halls on the first floor that contains the many art collections. Lectures and presentations are done in the museum theater, and the student center is behind the main lobby. The second floor is not accessible to the public, but houses the education and youth services, and the staff is located on the third floor. On the fourth floor, the cafe can be found, and a spectacular carousel that was built between 1912 and 1916, that is available for rides. There are many supplementary displays that house regional topics and historic cites like Buffalo and Rochester; and the window views on this floor will give a wonderful view of the Empire State Plaza and downtown Albany.

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  • Albany Institute of History & ArtAlbany Institute of History & Art Albany, New York
    The Albany Institute of History and Art (AIHA) is the museum in Albany, New York that is devoted to collecting, saving, interpreting and promoting the citizens of the state becoming interested in art, culture and history of the city and the upper Hudson River Valley area. It was begun in 1791, and is one of the oldest museums in the state of New York. In the massive permanent collections, that are over 20,000 items that include; 500 pieces of furniture, 1600 paintings, 600 sculptures, 1100 drawings, 1200 pieces of ceramics, 4000 prints, and over 4000 items of clothing and accessories; with another 5450 related historical artifacts. The library houses a marvelous collection of 85,000 photographs and 140,000 printed volumes. In addition to this wonderful permanent collection, the museum accepts rotating temporary relics in various collections. The institute is housed in three connected buildings, that includes the original building that holds the museum's exhibits, the Rice building that contains the gift shop and meeting rooms and between them is a glass enclosed structure that is the main entrance and admission counter.  While the permanent exhibits can be found in the original building, and these include; The Landscape That Defined America: The Hudson River School: An Exhibition in the Hudson River School Gallery that showcases paintings by Thomas Cole, Frederic Church and many other fine artists that were in the Hudson River School; Sense of Place: 18th & 19th Century Paintings and Sculpture: An exhibit in the Lansing Gallery; 19th Century American Sculpture: which is in the sculpture gallery that contains 20 works by Charles Calverley, Erastus Dow Palmer and Launt Thompson; Ancient Egypt: is a display in the ancient Egypt gallery that showcases the museum's two mummies and many other fascinating relics; Traders & Culture: Colonial Albany and the Formation of American Identity: features the relics of the city from its 17th and 18th century periods in the colonial Albany gallery. The entrance point gallery is where visitors first come into the museum and numerous pieces can be found here that have just arrived.

January 11, 2011