Welcome to the blog spot for the Junior Interpreters of the Albany Institute of History and Art!  Our Junior Interpreters are dedicated  volunteers aged 13-18, who spend their Saturday mornings at the Albany Institute. 

All of the hard work begins for Junior Interpreters in October when we begin our training season. Junior Interpreters come to the museum almost every week for the next few months. Training sessions allow the teens to become experts on their favorite exhibits and develop new life skills. They learn the ins and outs of colonial trade between the Dutch and Haudenosaunee, or the differences between paintings by Thomas Cole and Frederic Edwin Church. Not to mention spending time in the Ancient Egypt gallery with the museum’s mummies! The Junior Interpreters research objects and artwork, while developing exhibit tours from their own perspective.


Providing tours about our exhibits are not the only contributions made by our Junior Interpreters. The teen volunteers also spend their time operating the museum’s Art Cart, a mobile station in the galleries with interactive activities, and keeping our audio tour up to date. But their dedication does not stop there!  Junior interpreters also help with special events like Home for the Holidays and our annual Ancient Egypt Family Day. 

This year, we have started two new initiatives with our Junior Interpreters. Our teenaged volunteers have helped us out by taking over our social media pages once a month, in addition to explaining what a TikTok is, exactly. Moreover, the students have started to plan their own, Junior Interpreters run, teen night at the museum. Check back later in the year for more information about this exciting event!


We are lucky to have so much help from our Junior Interpreters. These talented and hardworking volunteers have continued their dedication  by continuing to produce content while New York is on PAUSE.  Make sure you stay up to date on the blog to check for more updates from our Junior Interpreters!

View of Hudson River at West Point, Insights by Junior Interpreter Michelle

View of Hudson River at West Point, Thomas Chambers (1808-1869), c. 1855, Oil on canvas, 22 H x 30 W, Albany Institute of History & Art Purchase 1958.51

Junior Interpreter, Michelle, shares some insights into a painting by Thomas Chambers:

"When you walk into the dimly lit exhibit of the Hudson River School gallery at the Albany Institute, there’s one artwork that stands out among the rest. It’s my favorite piece in that room, View of Hudson River at West Point, by Thomas Chambers. Chambers was born in England, but moved to America in his 20s, spending most of his time in the Boston & Albany area. View of Hudson River at West Point contrasts the natural, muted colors of other landscape pieces in the exhibit. It almost has a cartoonish style, with the round trees lining the road on top the cliffs, to the popping, white sailboats lazily floating on the water. You can even see all the detailed lining of the vegetation on the cliffs, not to mention the rocky texture of the swooping mountains. My absolute favorite part of this painting is the sky; it’s so dreamy and orange, so heavenly, like it’s right out of a Disney movie.

The Hudson River School is famous for its landscapes, normally very romantic and realistic, with sublime wilderness and blended colors. I just love how Chamber’s work challenges that art style. Looking at his other paintings, the water in his Niagra Falls could resemble white cotton candy clouds, and the whimsical pink-and-purple sunset of his View from Nahant at Sunset conjures the mood of fantasy. He makes artwork that mirror fairytale lands, but also keeps that perfect touch of realism."