What is it that identifies the Capital Region of New York? If you had to select an object, idea, person, or event that best represents the region, what or who would it be? Does Dan O'Connell and the Democratic Party political machine come to mind? What about the Hudson River School or the 1777 Battle of Saratoga? Maybe it's nanotechnology or something else?
The Albany Institute and the Times Union are embarked on a collaborative project to learn what you, our community members, have to say. In the spring of 2014, the Times Union asked its readers to name the most significant objects, ideas, events, and people that identify the region of Albany, Schenectady, Rensselaer, and Saratoga counties. Responses were reviewed and tallied, and the top fifty selections will debut in an exhibition at the Albany Institute in September 2015.
The Institute is working with local museums, historical societies, and community organizations to tell the stories of the top fifty suggestions from the Times Union poll. This will be the first exhibition developed completely from community comments and suggestions.
The project is modeled on similiar undertakings in the United States and England. In 2011, the British Museum and the BBC partnered on a project to tell a history of the world in 100 objects, and in September the New York Times launched its "History of New York in 50 Objects." More recently, the Smithsonian Institution unveiled "101 Objects that Made America." The Albany Institute/Times Union project, The Top 50: A History of the Capital Region, will offer an inspiring and new appreciation for the area's rich history and culture.