Public Programs

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

FAMILY PROGRAM A Capital Day! Family Program

Sunday, September 20 • 12:00pm - 4:30pm


  • Scavenger Hunts in the Galleries
  • Art in the Studio: Art Inspired by Iroquois History and Culture


  • Nipper Look-Alike Contest- Does your dog look like Nipper?  Bring your four-footed family member for our fun look alike contest.  Check in starts at noon.


  • Face painting by Tina Rodriguez


  • Traditional Native American Storytelling by Mike Tarbell, Cultural Interpreter, Iroquois Indian Museum

Free with museum admission!


LECTURE The Colonial Revival and Women's Gardens

Sunday, September 27 • 2:00pm - 3:00pm

Erin Leary, Historian and Author, PhD Candidate, Visual and Cultural Studies, University of Rochester

Leary will explore the social and cultural history behind early twentieth century American flower gardens. Here in Albany, the Rankin women of Historic Cherry Hill cultivated their garden with interest in the links between the flowers of their foremothers, their family heritage, and their desire to limit changes in their world.

Free with museum admission


Produced in conjunction with Historic Cherry Hill and Partners for Albany Stories, funded in part by the IMLS.

IMAGE: Historic Cherry Hill, 1922, upper garden


LECTURE Victory Turned into Mourning: Farewell to Lincoln at the New York State Capitol

Thursday, October 1 • 6:00pm - 7:00pm

Stuart Lehman, Assistant Curator, New York State Capitol

Abraham Lincoln’s funeral train journeyed from Washington D.C. to Springfield, Illinois. On April 26, 1865, the train stopped in Albany and his body lay in state; 50,000 people filed past to pay their respects. Lehman will explore these solemn events and their connection to the New York State Capitol.

Free admission


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

Sunday, October 4 • 2:00pm - 3:00pm

James Schlett, Journalist, Author, Poet

Join award-winning journalist, James Schlett for a powerpoint presentation about 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 with museum admission



Monday, October 12 • 10:00am - 5:00pm

This Columbus Day explore the galleries of the Albany Institute of History & Art for free.

Gallery Talk at 1PM

Free admission

Sponsored by M&T Bank

Lego Building Challenge Fall 2015

Saturday, October 10 • 11:00am - 1:00pm Saturday, October 10 • 2:00pm - 4:00pm Sunday, October 11 • 1:00pm - 3:00pm Monday, October 12 • 11:00am - 1:00pm Monday, October 12 • 2:00pm - 4:00pm

Lego® Building Challenge Fall 2015 Theme: Buildings, Bridges & Boats!



Building Session Dates and Times:

10/10 Saturday Morning Challenge Session 11:00 AM-1:00 PM

10/10 Saturday Afternoon Challenge Session 2:00-4:00 PM

10/11 Sunday Afternoon 1:00-3:00 PM

10/12 Monday Morning 11:00 AM-1:00 PM

10/12 Monday Afternoon 2:00-4:00 PM

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

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

Brings friends, family, and colleagues to work together to create beautiful LEGO ® structures. This year’s theme is Buildings, Bridges, and Boats.  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 Barbara Collins at 518-463-4478- ext 405 or e-mail to



Participation in the event assumes consent for photographs to be used for museum purposes.


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



LECTURE/DISCUSSION SERIES Lincoln on the Civil War: Selected Speeches

Thursday, October 15 • 6:00pm - 8:00pm Thursday, October 22 • 6:00pm - 8:00pm Thursday, October 29 • 6:00pm - 8:00pm Thursday, November 5 • 6:00pm - 8:00pm Thursday, November 12 • 6:00pm - 8:00pm Thursday, November 19 • 6:00pm - 8:00pm

Join us for unique program series that will explore the rhetoric, political skill, and moral transformation of our sixteenth president.

The class will read and discuss nine of Lincoln’s speeches as well as other writings. In conjunction with this series, a new exhibition of selected works from our collections will be on display in our library cases.

The discussion leader will be Giacomo Calabria, author of 2014 thriller The Great Abraham Lincoln Pocket Watch Conspiracy. Calabria has been praised by Times Union as "a confident and masterful storyteller." 

The Albany Institute will make available on loan, a limited number of copies of Lincoln on the Civil War: Selected Speeches. Books will also be available for purchase in the museum shop.

To register for the series and borrow a copy of the book contact: Barbara Collins, Education Coordinator, 518-463-4478 x405,


This program has been made possible with a grant from the New York Council on the Humanities.

50 OBJECTS PROGRAM About Creativity

Sunday, October 18 • 2:00pm - 3:30pm

William Kennedy, Pulitzer Prize-winning author
Michael Oatman, artist, curator, and professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Join us for this very special informal discussion between two of our region's most noted creative people.

Free with museum admission

41st Annual Antiquarian Book & Ephemera Fair

The 40th Annual Antiquarian Book & Ephemera Fair will be held at the Albany Institute of History & Art.

Dealers in antiquarian and out-of-print books, manuscripts, autographs, postcards, maps, posters, photographs and ephemera will offer their best for sale. There will also be a special silent auction. Proceeds benefits the Albany Institute of History & Art Library.

Book Fair admission: $6 per person

For more information, please visit

ARTIST TALK: The Anaglyphs of Eric Egas

Sunday, October 25 • 2:00pm - 3:00pm

Artist Eric Egas will share his insights about the work on view, his inspirations, creative processes, and technical achievements.

Free with museum admission