Culture in Quarantine Challenge

Create your own museum collection from the safety of your own home!  

Think of museums as humongous time capsules full of objects that generations of people entrusted to the museum for long term preservation. That means the workers at the museum make it their job to keep the objects safe for years and years. In many cases, these objects were treasured family heirlooms or extremely important to the owner. Sometimes items are in the care of the museum so long that we have to depend on our records to understand why they are so important.    

If you could donate your favorite object to the Albany Institute for safe keeping, what would it be and why?

We have great news! You can submit a digital copy of your object to our My Favorite Object virtual museum project. Before you upload your favorite object, make sure you review the parts of a label (below) so future historians have some more information about why your object is SO important.

Here is an example of an object from our collection at the Albany Institute.  Take a moment to read the label. Why do you think this information is included?

Title:  Van Rensselaer Manor House 
Who made it: Thomas Cole (1801–1848) <—Creator’s life dates
When was it made: 1841 
What is the object: Oil on canvas

The manor house and grounds descended to Stephen Van Rensselaer III, who lived there with his first wife Margarita Schuyler, and after her death in 1801, with his second wife Cornelia Paterson. When Stephen III died in 1839, his son William Paterson Van Rensselaer commissioned Thomas Cole to paint views of the house and gardens as mementos for his mother and sister who planned to move from the house to make way for Stephen Van Rensselaer IV and his wife Harriet. Stephen IV was the eldest son, and because of the law in 1839, that meant he got the manor house.

This information is included so we can answer the basic questions about this object: 

Who?: Thomas Cole was the artist who created this painting

What?: This is an oil painting on canvas 

When?: Thomas Cole painted this in 1841

Why?: Thomas Cole painted this as a memento for the second wife and daughter of Stephen Van Rensselaer III when they were going to move out so Stephen Van Rensselaer IV could move in.

Part of what makes this object special is that it was a memento for people who were leaving their home. What makes your favorite object special?__________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Be creative!

Upload a picture of your favorite object and a label here or submit your picture and label to for a chance to be featured on the Albany Institute’s #cultureinquarantine blogspot.  

P.s.: Make sure you include why the object you have chosen is your favorite, that is what makes it so interesting!!


We asked some friends from the community to help us out with their own #cultureinquarantine examples.  Take a look for some inspiration!