Public Programs

The Albany Institute presents a broad range of public programs related to our collections, exhibitions, and special projects.

LECTURE Peculiar Grace: The Shakers and Their Chairs

Thursday, October 27 • 6:00pm - 7:00pm

Did you know Oprah collects Shaker furniture?

For decades, Shaker furniture has been sought by collectors worldwide. Join us for a special program on the history and design of Shaker chairs.

Free admission

This program is part of the "Pull Up a Chair" series organized by the Partners for Albany Stories.

LECTURE/ GALLERY TALK The Art of the American Studio Furniture Movement: Contemporary Artists

Sunday, October 30 • 2:00pm - 3:30pm

Award-winning artists Vivian Beer and Jon Brooks will present an overview of their work and then discuss the works included in the exhibition, Beer's Current chair and Brook's Solid Elm Ball Chair.

Free with museum admission

IMAGE: Current, 2004, steel, auto paint, designed and manufactured by Vivian Beer (b. 1977), Penland, NC

LECTURE Hamilton's Grange: Rebirth of an American Landmark

Friday, November 4 • 6:00pm - 7:00pm

Douglas G. Bucher, Principal, John G. Waite Associates Architects

Learn about the restoration of Alexander Hamilton's home from the Albany firm that supervised the project. Bucher will discuss how the house was moved and how his firm was intimately involved with the furnishings from the selection of paint colors for the walls to the carpet patterns.

Co-sponsored by the Turpin Bannister Chapter, Society of Architectural Historians, Covering Upstate New York and Western New England

Free admission

IMAGE: Exterior of The Grange

FAMILY PROGRAM Mummy Birthday Party

Sunday, November 6 • 12:00pm - 5:00pm

Celebrate the 107th anniversary of the arrival of the Albany Institute's mummies!

Children are invited to bring a doll or stuffed animal to learn about the mummification process by mummyfying their toy.  Please note the plaster gauze mummification craft is permanent so bring a toy you would not mind being permanently mummified.  

Free with museum admission.

  • Doll "mummification" 12:00-4:30
  • Face Painting by artist, Tina Rodriguez 12:30-3:00
  • Ancient Egyptian Tales with storyteller, Nancy Payne 3:00

LECTURE Hamilton's Grange: Replicating Alexander Hamilton's Furniture

Sunday, November 6 • 2:00pm - 3:00pm

In 2010, Fallon & Wilkinson, LLC of Baltic, Connecticut, was awarded two contracts: one to replicate twenty-eight pieces of Federal furniture in museum collections, and the second to conserve five of the original Louis XVI chairs for Hamilton Grange.

Hear about this exciting commission that included making 1,472 bellflowers that were inlaid into the sixteen chairs used in Alexander Hamilton's dining room.

Co-sponsored by the Turpin Bannister Chapter, Society of Architectural Historians, Covering Upstate New York and Western New England

Free with museum admission

IMAGE: Side chair, Attributed to Elbert Anderson, New York, New York, Mahogany, beech, maple and satinwood, 1790-1800, Albany Institute of History & Art Purchase, 1984.9.2

Veterans Day Free Admission Day

Friday, November 11 • 10:00am - 5:00pm

Bring the whole family to enjoy the Albany Institute of History & Art for free!
Sponsored by M&T Bank

Please note that there is a $5 per person fee to participate in our Lego® Building Challenge which is also held on this day. Register for the Challenge online

Lego Building Challenge Fall 2016

Friday, November 11 • 11:00am - 1:00pm Friday, November 11 • 2:00pm - 4:00pm Saturday, November 12 • 11:00am - 1:00pm Saturday, November 12 • 2:00pm - 4:00pm Sunday, November 13 • 1:00pm - 3:00pm

Lego® Building Challenge Fall 2016 Theme: Rock & Roll!

November 11-13

Building Session Dates and Times:

11/11 Friday Morning Challenge Session 11:00 AM-1:00 PM

11/11 Friday Afternoon Challenge Session 2:00-4:00 PM

11/12 Saturday Morning Challenge Session 11:00 AM-1:00 PM

11/12 Saturday Afternoon Challenge Session 2:00-4:00 PM

11/13 Sunday Afternoon Challenge Session 1:00-3:00 PM

Registration Fee: $5 per person (includes museum admission, registrations are non-refundable)

Online Registration is not available on the date of the event, please call to register.

Team registration: teams may include as many as, but not more than four people.

Time: 1 ½ hours for construction, ½ hour for judging and awards

Size Limit: 10” x 10” base

Bring friends, family, and colleagues to work together to create beautiful LEGO® structures. This year’s theme is Rock & Roll. What rock & roll themed structures can you build?  Designs depicting instruments, concerts, and more are all welcome.  Let your imagination run wild, share your vision, and compete for awards with teams from across the capital region. Basic building blocks will be supplied; however, contestants may also bring in their own.

Challenge Specifics:

  • Models must be built using only LEGO® bricks and elements. You may bring in your own pieces or we will provide you with basic bricks in a variety of sizes and a 10” x 10” base.
  • Entries must be original designs based on the theme. Commercially sold kits or published designs are not permitted.
  • Project entries must be completely assembled within the one and a half hour time limit. All assembly must be completed on site during the challenge; no pre-built parts will be permitted. 
  • Your team may choose to practice building your model prior to the day of the building challenge.
  • Feel free to bring sketches, drawings, and photographs to use as reference.
  • Judging will occur during the assembly time as well as after final assembly.  Participants will have the opportunity to describe their structure as part of the judging process.
  • During the competition, children under 12 must be supervised by the adults who brought them; they cannot be left alone.

Please note that space is limited, and pre-registration is required.

For more information or to register contact Sarah Clowe at 518-463-4478- ext 435 or e-mail to

Mobile devices do not provide a secure network for registration; please use a desktop computer to register.


Participation in the event assumes consent for photographs to be used for museum purposes unless participants otherwise notify The Albany Institute of History & Art.


LEGO® is a trademark of the LEGO® Group of Companies which does not sponsor, authorize, or endorse this event.


LECTURE Worlds Apart: Introducing Frank Lloyd Wright to the Chairs at Schuyler Mansion

Thursday, December 1 • 6:00pm - 7:00pm

David Bayne, Conservator, New York State Bureau of Historic Sites

Frank Lloyd Wright is infamous for uncomfortable furnitue; the chairs he designed for the Darwin Martin House in Buffalo are classic examples. In contrast, the chairs at Schuyler Mansion tell a story of grace and comfort. Where might we be if he had learned his lessons during a field trip to Schuyler Mansion in Albany?

Free admission

FAMILY PROGRAM: Build it! Chair Design Art Challenge

Sunday, December 4 • 2:00pm - 3:30pm

Join us for a design challenge that will exercise both your artistic and engineering skills!  Participants will be tasked with creating unique miniature chairs out of a variety of exciting materials like sculpture wire, wooden shapes, cardboard, and chenille stems.

At the end of our timed building session we’ll step back and admire all of the unique chair forms created, and share our observations on their constructions.

Visitors are welcome to join us on their own, or build with a team.

Free with museum admission