The Stephen and Harriet Myers Residence, located at 194 Livingston Avenue was a vital cog in the Underground Railroad which operated during the 19th century. The purpose of the railroad was to aid runaway slaves from the South through the North and to safety, specifically in Canada. This particular home was owned by Stephen and Harriet Myers whom also had other properties throughout the city, however this is the only surviving one today. “The Stephen and Harriet Myers Residence.” 2016. Underground Railroad History Project. Accessed February 29. http://undergroundrailroadhistory.org/the-stephen-and-harriet-myers-residence/.
Home to the Albany Country Historical Association, the Ten Broeck Mansion
is the former residence of General Abraham Ten Broeck and his wife, Elizabeth Van Rensselaer. General Ten Broeck served as a delegate to the Second Continental Congress and commanded the New York Militia at the Battle of Saratoga. He would later go on to serve as a mayor of Albany, a state Senator and a judge. “Ten Broeck Mansion | Albany NY.” 2016. Accessed February 29. http://www.tenbroeckmansion.org/.
Located on Washington Avenue, the Albany Institute of History & Art is home to a multitude of collections ranging from local art to an exhibit on Ancient Egypt which includes an actual mummy with sarcophagus! Built in 1791, it is honored to have the privilege of being one of the oldest museums in the United States. I have had the pleasure of visiting the museum on a number of occasions and truly enjoy each trip. “Albany Museum – Albany Institute of History and Art.” 2016. Accessed February 29. http://www.albanyinstitute.org/.
At a cost of half a billion dollars (adjusted for inflation, original cost was $25 million), the New York State Capital building began constructing in 1867 and would require a staggering thirty-two years to complete. Noted for its architectural styles which include the Italian and French Renaissances along with Romanesque, the Capital is home to the Governor’s office along with the NYS Assembly and the Senate. The famed “Fire of 1911” nearly destroyed the entire building, fortunately all was not lost. Unfortunately, much of the library and archives were lost. A major aesthetic element of the interior are the elaborate staircases containing the intricate carvings of notable figures such as George Washington and Susan B. Anthony. One of the largest collections of flags is also on display in the Flag Room where over 1,000 flags, many from the Civil War, are on display. “New York State Assembly Home.” 2016. Accessed February 29. http://assembly.state.ny.us/.
Finally, the New York State Museum
is located just a stone’s throw from the Capital building. First established in 1836, the museum has moved from various homes until it found a permanent location in the beautiful Empire State Plaza. Some of the more iconic exhibits include Fire Engine Hall
, the Cohoes Mastadon
, and even a 100 year old Carousel
that is still functional today!
“New York State Museum, Albany, New York.” 2016. Accessed February 29. https://www.nysm.nysed.gov/.
The purpose of my tour is to offer a short walk to some of the main museums located in the capital region. While there are more, these are the ones I feel would serve the public the greatest in the shortest amount of time possible. Museums offer such fascinating and creative exhibits, it is a shame more people do not visit and support them. I can recall a class of mine freshman year letting out a collective groan when we were told we would be required to visit a museum and write a short paper on the visit. Not a lot of people want to sit in a classroom and learn about a period in history. Museums offer an experience, one where you interact with the exhibits and if you are not careful, you just might learn something! My targeted audience is the general public that wishes to learn something about Albany. Each one of my walking tour points are areas directly relating to Albany history ranging from the Revolutionary War, through the Civil War, and into modern day. According to Google Maps, this tour would take the average person about 40 minutes to complete.
To further my research I may want to consider the following:
1.) While the larger museums, such as the NYS Museum and the Albany Institute of History and Art, are able to receive large federal funds along with private donations, how can the smaller museums such as the Stephen and Harriet Myers Residence afford to keep the doors open?
2.) How many visitors does each location receive on a yearly basis?
3.) What kind of public outreach programs does each utilize to draw interest?