Public Programs

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

LECTURE AND BOOK SIGNING To Elevate & Adorn the Mind: Betsey Colt Foot and the Story Behind the Founding of Albany Academy for Girls

Sunday, October 26 • 2:00pm - 3:30pm

Louise Copeland Marks

Set in Albany in the early nineteenth century, To Elevate & Adorn the Mind, is a thoroughly researched historical novel about Betsey Colt Foot and her radical quest to establish the Albany Academy for Girls, one of the country's oldest independent schools for the education of young women. Louise Copeland Marks is an academy alumni and Associate Professor Emerita of Sociology, Psychology, and Mental Health at SUNY's North Country Community College.

Free with museum admission

LECTURE AND BOOK SIGNING Albany History in an Alternate Universe

Thursday, October 30 • 6:00pm - 7:30pm

Frankie Bailey

Booth, Lincoln, Houdini, and more...join SUNY Albany criminal justice professor and award winning mystery writer Frankie Bailey as she reveals how she draws on Albany's vibrant history in crafting her police procedural series set in a near-future version of the city. Bailey is a Macavity Award winning mystery writer who has been nominated for numerous Edgar, Anthony, and Agatha awards. She is also the author of Wicked Albany and numerous non-fiction books that explore the intersections of crime, history, and popular culture.

Free admission

MAKING IT AMERICAN LECTURE AND BOOK SIGNING America's Eden: Thomas Cole and the Voyage of Life

Sunday, November 2 • 2:00pm - 3:30pm

Paul Schweizer, Director Emeritus, Munson-Williams-Proctor Art Institute's Museum of Art

Paul Schweizer, art historian, will discuss how Cole took the old master idiom of history painting and put it in the form of American landscape to create his most iconic series, the Voyage of Life.

Schweizer will be available to sign copies of his new book Thomas Cole's Voyage of Life.

Free with museum admission


IMAGE: The Voyage of Life: Youth, Thomas Cole (1801-1848), 1839, oil sketch on wood panel, Albany Institute of History & Art purchase, 1942.56.2

SPECIAL CURATOR GALLERY TALK Undercover: Revealing Design in Quilts, Coverlets, and Bed Hangings

Saturday, November 8 • 1:00pm - 2:00pm

Douglas McCombs, PhD, Chief Curator and curator of Undercover: Revealing Design in Quilts, Coverlets, and Bed Hangings, will discuss textiles in the exhibition and the meaning behind their patterns and designs.

Free with museum admission


Saturday, November 8 • 1:00pm - 3:00pm

Daisy and Brownie Scouts are invited to join us as we get "undercover" to explore the beautiful world of quilts! We'll discover dazzling patterns in the museum's exhibition and use them to create quilt patterns using paper piercing and printmaking techniques.

Registration is required and is available at or by calling Girl Scouts of Northeastern New York at (518) 348-1413.


Sunday, November 9 • 12:00pm - 4:30pm

Celebrate the 105th 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.

FREE with museum admission.


Tuesday, 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


In addition to our galleries and shop being open, we also have:

10AM-4:30PM  Drop-in Art Making: Patriotic Pennants in the Art Studio


Special activities related to the War of 1812, with Robert E. Mulligan, Retired New York State Museum Curator of Military History.

10AM-4:30PM  Special Display
In honor of Veteran's Day and the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812, Mulligan will display his collection of miniature soldiers of 1812, recreating the Battle of Queenston Heights, and highlighting the roles played by Albany's Solomon Van Rensselaer of Cherry Hill and Troy's Captain John E. Wool, the hero of the battle.

1:30PM and 3PM  Lecture: New York State and the War of 1812 with Robert E. Mulligan  
Mulligan will discuss America's lack of preparation for the war, the role of the New York Militia, Albanians Philip and Stephen van Rensselaer, strategies, New York's anti-war politics, and who actually "won" the war. (It was our neighbor to the north).

FILM SCREENING AND COMMENTARY The Catskill Mountain House and the World Around

Thursday, November 13 • 6:00pm - 7:30pm

Spend the evening with award-winning filmmaker Tobe Carey as he takes us back to America's first wilderness in the time of steamboats and railroads, and entertains us with the compelling history of the rise and fall of the Catskill Mountain House, the nineteenth-century hotel that was part of the American grand tour.

Bring your questions and your memories to share after the screening.

Free admission

IMAGE: Sarah Cole (1805-1857), A View of the Catskill Mountain House, oil on canvas, 1848, Albany Institute of History & Art, 1964.040

LECTURE AND BOOK SIGNING Women and Power in the Ancient World

Sunday, November 16 • 2:00pm - 3:30pm

Kara Cooney, Associate Professor, Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, UCLA

In conjunction with the publication of her new book. The Woman Who Would Be King: Hatshepsut's Rise to Power in Ancient Egypt, Cooney will draw from the latest field research to fill the gaps in what we know about Hatshepsut- the longest reigning female pharoah- and the obstacles that faced women who sought power and prestige in a society that equated authority with masculinity.

Free with museum admission

Photo by Mikel Healey

MAKING IT AMERICAN LECTURE A Promising Venture: Shaker Objects in the Index of American Design

Sunday, November 23 • 2:00pm - 3:30pm

Lesley Herzberg, Curator of Collections, Hancock Shaker Village

Produced between 1935 and 1942, the Index is a visual archive of American decorative arts that reflects the exapaning interest in our nation's material culture. Herberg will illuminate the unique design characteristics of the Index's Shaker Portfolio and how accompanying photographs created a record for their context. 

Free with museum admission

This lecture is co-sponsored by Partners for Albany Stories (PASt).

Photo courtesy Index of American Design