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.

Cold Weather Mission of the New York Air National Guard 109th Airlift Wing

The Scotia, New York, based New York Air National Guard 109th Airlift Wing operates the world’s only ski-equipped LC-130H Hercules aircraft. The Wing supported the Cold War Distant Early Warning (DEW) Line radar sites in Greenland until they were shut down in the late 1980s. Currently, the Wing provides airlift support to the National Science Foundation's Antarctic research program and to scientific researchers in Greenland.

In October of 1999, the 109th Airlift Wing was involved in the rescue of a doctor with breast cancer symptoms who was based at isolated Amundsen-Scott research station in Antarctica.

Jet-assisted take-off (JATO) rockets, like the one shown here, are used to help the LC-130s obtain flying speed when operating on ice.

Jet-Assisted Take-Off (JATO) Rocket

Aerojet General Corporation


Steel and plastic

Courtesy of Empire State Aerosciences Museum, 2014.004.001

LC-130 Taking off from the Ice


Courtesy of Empire State Aerosciences Museum, 2013.999.12

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