Traders and Culture: Colonial Albany and the Formation of American Identity


The character and culture of Albany and the Upper Hudson Valley have roots in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the early inhabitants of the region, their beliefs, relationships, and interactions.

This exhibition looks at people who shaped early Albany and the objects that reflect their interests, values, commercial, and social interactions.

The exhibition is organized around four themes:

  • Trade, Commerce, and Conflict
  • Cultures
  • Life and Work
  • Social Identity


Highlights include limner portraits (likenesses made by self-taught painters), Albany-made silver, branded furniture, ceramics, textiles, maps and manuscript materials with documented family histories.


Programmatic and exhibition support is made possible in part by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature.

Season exhibition support is provided by Phoebe Powell Bender, Mr. and Mrs. George R. Hearst III, Charles M. Liddle III, Lois and David Swawite, and the Carl E. Touhey Foundation, Inc.