Public Programs

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

LECTURE AND BOOK SIGNING The Spirit of New York: Defining Events in the Empire State's History

Sunday, June 7 • 2:00pm - 3:30pm

Dr. Bruce W. Dearstyne, Adjunct Professor, University of Maryland, College of Information Studies

Join Dr. Bruce W. Dearstyne, historian and former program director at the New York State Archives, for a lively and engaging presentation about the many ways in which the Empire State-and Albany, its capital–have played a key role in the course of American history. 

In his talk, based on his recently published book, The Spirit of New York, Dr. Dearstyne will share insights into many events in Albany and the upper Hudson Valley that affected the course of New York State history as well as stories of fascinating people such as Jackie Robinson and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, whose leadership brought changes not to just New York but to the whole county as well.

Free with museum admission

LECTURE Van Gogh and Nature

Thursday, July 16 • 6:00pm - 7:30pm

Richard Kendall, Clark Art Institute, Curator at Large

Exhibition curator Richard Kendall will discuss the research and origin of the exhibition and catalogue as well as the significance of its theme.

Fundamental to the project has been a close study of the artist's work throughout his career and his rarely discussed preoccupation with the natural world, from flowers, birds, and insects to the majestic landscapes of rural Holland and the south of France.

Still underestimated in many approaches to Van Gogh's art is his passion for reading, which included guides to nature, poetry that addressed the countryside, and literally hundreds of novels in Dutch, English, and French that celebrated rural life in an age of expanding towns and cities. This issue will also be explored in the lecture, which will be illustrated with works from 'Van Gogh and Nature' and other sources.

Free admission

IMAGE: A Wheatfield, with Cypresses, 1889, by Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890), oil on canvas, The National Gallery, London, purchase, Courtauld Fund, 1923 (NG3861), Image © The National Gallery, London, 2014.

BOOK READING AND BOOK SIGNING A Not Too Greatly Changed Eden: The Story of the Philosopher's Camp in the Adirondacks

Friday, August 7 • 6:00pm - 7:30pm

James Schlett, Journalist, Author, Poet

Join award-winning journalist, James Schlett for a reading of selections from his recently published book, A Not Too Greatly Changed Eden: The Story of the Philosopher’s Camp in the Adirondacks, published by Cornell University Press.

The book recounts the story of a group of artists, poets, and philosophers who ventured into the heart of the Adirondacks in 1858 to camp, hike, hunt, and converse. This “philosopher’s camp” helped spark the transcendentalist and preservationist movements in America. The book includes a color insert featuring twelve paintings by Hudson River School artists, including Thomas Cole, Frederic E. Church, Asher B. Durand, and Sanford Gifford.

Free admission