Below you will find upcoming lectures and events from the Albany Institute of History and Art

LECTURE & BOOK SIGNING A Road Through Time: Manhattan to the Adirondacks on New York State's First Road

General: Thursday, March 28 • 6:00pm - 7:00pm

Richard Figiel, Author

Join regional author Richard Figiel on a lively trip through time starting in 1755 near Bowling Green at the tip of Manhattan where an ancient Native American foot path marked the beginning of trail stretching 200 miles north to the Lake George wilderness.

History comes alive as Figiel shares stories of fieldstone farms, abandoned ruins, colonial churches, historic mansions, and forgotten cemeteries that lie along the ancient footpath that morphed over time into a rugged bridle trail, a Dutch cart lane, a critical British “high-way” way, only to be abandoned with the rise of train travel and the industrial revolution.

For years Figiel has walked, biked, and driven from NYC to the Adirondacks searching for physical clues and sifting through historic archives to reveal the story of this important but forgotten road.

  • Free admission

LECTURE How America Found its Face: Portrait Miniatures in the New Republic

General: Sunday, March 31 • 2:00pm - 3:00pm

Elle Shushan, Dealer in Fine Portrait Miniatures in Philadelphia and London, Author, Lecturer, and Museum Consultant

This talk will explore how American portrait miniatures in the early 1800s developed an open, lighter appearance that reflected the new republic’s optimism. Washes of watercolor bathed rectangular ivory supports with luminosity. Backgrounds of blue sky and clouds gave way to feigned landscapes tinged with shades of turquoise and mauve. The uniquely American characteristics of this new majestic style influenced, among other artists, Gilbert Stuart and George Savage.

  • Included with admission | Space is limited and attendees will receive a wristband from the admission desk the day of the lecture.


IMAGE: Self Portrait Miniature of Ezra Ames, Ezra Ames, c. 1800, watercolor on ivory, gold, Albany Institute of History & Art, gift of Miss Elizabeth S. Edwards, 1953.38.2

LECTURE All in a Day's Work

General: Sunday, April 7 • 2:00pm - 3:00pm

Anne Diggory, Artist

Diggory will discuss artistic choices in her own work as well as in those of nineteenth century painters David Johnson and John Frederick Kensett, whose motifs are included in several pieces in her exhibition All in a Day's Work.

  • Included with admission | Space is limited and attendees will receive a wristband from the admission desk the day of the lecture.


IMAGE: Out of Place in Huletts Landing, Anne Diggory, 2018, hybrid on canvas, 21" x 31", artist collection.

LECTURE & BOOK SIGNING Life Along the Hudson: The Historic Country Estates of the Livingston Family

General: Sunday, April 14 • 2:00pm - 3:00pm

Pieter Estersohn, Author and Photographer

Estersohn will discuss his recent book Life Along the Hudson which presents thirty-five sublime country homes overlooking the majestic Hudson River, offering some of the finest examples of stately American architecture built between 1730 and 1946.

Estersohn is a leading photographer of architecture and interiors. His work regularly appears in major shelter magazines, including Architectural Digest, and he has contributed to many interior design and lifestyle books.

  • Included with admission

LECTURE Albany's Brush with Beauty: The Brunner-Lay Plan of 1914

General: Thursday, April 25 • 6:00pm - 7:00pm

John Pipkin, Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of Geography and Planning at the University at Albany

Studies for Albany, the Plan for Albany by Arnold Brunner and Charles Downing Lay as part of the City Beautiful movement, was unveiled with much fanfare in June 1914. The attractive and occasionally perceptive document prompted wide public enthusiasm for planning in Albany. Municipal planning, which rapidly followed, repudiated many of Brunner's ideals. This talk will explore the aspirations, failings, and surviving vestiges of Brunner's work in Albany.

  • Free admission

A field trip in Albany linked to the Plan will be offered in Spring 2019, supported by Washington Park Conservancy.


IMAGE: Coat of Arms of the City of Albany, attributed to Ezra Ames (1768-1836), c. 1825, oil on canvas, permanent deposit by the City of Albany, 1971.12.50

LECTURE Nubian Gold: Ancient Jewelry from Sudan and Egypt

General: Saturday, April 27 • 2:00pm - 3:00pm

Dr. Peter Lacovara, Director, The Ancient Egyptian Heritage and Archaeology Fund

Nubia, whose very name means 'gold', was famous in ancient times for its supplies of precious metal, exotic material, and intricate craftsmanship. Although these unique treasures are among the most stunning to have survived from antiquity, they remain little known. 

In this talk, Lacovara will discuss objects featured in his new book Nubian Gold: Ancient Jewelry from the Sudan and Egypt co-authored with Yvonne Markowitz from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

  • Included with admission | Space is limited and attendees will receive a wristband from the admission desk the day of the lecture.

LECTURE In Death Lamented: The Tradition of Anglo-American Mourning Jewelry

General: Sunday, April 28 • 2:00pm - 3:00pm

Sarah Nehama, Antique Jewelry Collector, Curator, and Author

This talk will illustrate and explain examples of rings, bracelets, brooches, and other pieces of mourning jewelry from the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. Nehama will discuss the history, use, and meaning of mourning jewelry as well as related pieces of material culture such as broadsides, photographs, portraits, and trade cards.

  • Included with admission | Space is limited and attendees will receive a wristband from the admission desk the day of the lecture.


IMAGE: Mourning Brooch for Stephen Van Rensselaer III, unidentified maker, c. 1839, enamel on gold with human hair and glass, Albany Institute of History & Art Purchase, 1966.97

BOOK TALK Cradle of the Union: A Street by Street History of New York’s Capital City

General: Thursday, May 9 • 6:00pm - 7:00pm

Guest speaker is author Erik Schlimmer

The City of Albany has 800 streets, and thus as many street names. In this program, author Erik Schlimmer takes audiences on a virtual tour of street names, weaving among war heroes, criminals, founding fathers, and Dutch settlers. 

  • Free Admission

Sponsored by Dove & Deer 

Co-hosted with Historic Albany Foundation