New York's Capital Region in 50 Objects

New York's Capital Region in 50 Objects


Each region of the nation has its own distinctive history and identity. The New York’s Capital Region—consisting of Albany, Rensselaer, Schenectady, and Saratoga Counties—is no different. But what best identifies the region? What events, objects, people, and ideas have contributed to its character and uniqueness?

To learn the answers, we presented these questions to the numerous museums, historical organizations, libraries, and residents of the Capital Region. The fifty objects that were ultimately selected present an exciting history of the Capital Region, including well-known favorites but also unexpected surprises. Some of the fifty objects characterize very broad topics like the textile industry and the Hudson River School of art, while others embody large populations of people who shaped the character of the region, such as the Dutch and the Iroquois. Many objects represent specific people or events, such as writer William Kennedy and the Battle of Saratoga. In some instances, the objects represent themselves, like the GE Monitor Top refrigerator and Albany’s beloved Nipper statue. A complementary image accompanies each of the fifty objects, providing context and additional information.

Overall, the fifty objects clearly demonstrate that this narrowly circumscribed part of New York State has played an astonishing role in shaping the history of the nation and, in several instances, the world beyond the confines of our national borders.

Albany Pine Bush Preserve

The 3,200-acre Albany Pine Bush Preserve, located west of Albany in New York’s Capital District, protects one of the best remaining inland pitch pine-scrub oak barrens in the world. This extraordinary fire-dependent habitat is home to a diversity of life including the federally endangered Karner blue butterfly. Recognized as a National Natural Landmark, the Pine Bush is also a local treasure used by visitors for hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, hunting, and more.

Formed thousands of years ago, only a fraction of the Pine Bush survives today. In 1988, the New York State Legislature established the Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission, a unique partnership that works with willing landowners and municipal, state, federal, and private partners to protect, restore, and manage this globally rare, nationally significant, and locally distinct ecosystem.

The endangered Karner blue butterfly has become a symbol of the Albany Pine Bush and the effort to conserve this ecosystem. Inspired by the Karner blue, artists Matt Hart and Chip Fasciana created the sculpture Butterfly. Hart is the owner, visionary, and artisan of Hartist Metals and Feral Fly Works—Sculpture, Design, and Function in metals with endless potentials. Fasciana has shown work extensively in New York City and London, UK. He has public murals and sculptures in New York and California and his art has been featured in the New York Times and has won Masterpiece Award at the Albany Institute of History & Art for the Tomorrow’s Masters Today exhibition.


Matt Hart and Chip Fasciana


Stainless steel

Courtesy of Albany Pine Bush Preserve

Controlled Burn at Albany Pine Bush

Digital photograph

Courtesy of Albany Pine Bush Preserve

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