Public Programs

The Albany Institute presents a broad range of public programs related to our collections, exhibitions, and special projects.

PUBLIC PROGRAM: Teaching Black History Through Theater

General: Saturday, February 1 • 2:00pm - 3:00pm

In this hour long progam, re-enactors Donald Hyman, Penny Meacham, Walter Simpkins, and Clifford Oliver will portray prominent local and national African Americans including Judge James C. Matthews, Sojourner Truth, Moses Viney, and Solomon Northrup. Each presenter will provide insight into how theatrical performances and re-enactments help tell the often unknown stories of these important historical figures. There will also be a time for Q&A with event attendees.

A performance by the gospel choir from First Israel AME Church (Albany) will be featured during this event, as well as a dance performance by Estreja Turner. Light refreshments will be available for attendees.

  • Included with admission

Bios

Donald Hyman

Donald "the Soul Man" Hyman is a Brooklynite who now calls Albany home. He has portrayed Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  He will be portraying Judge James C. Matthews. He is currently Vice- Chairman for Channel Albany and has produced "Albany Tempo Spectrum" for 8 seasons. He currently works at Montessori  Magnet School in Albany.  He taught in the American Studies Department at the College of St. Rose.  

Penny Meacham

Penny Meacham is a poetess/actress. She will be playing the role of Sojourner Truth. She has portrayed Zora Neale Hurston, Billie Holiday, Maya Angelou and Ella Baker. She is a writer and has numerous self published poetry books  including “Hudson Holla” and “The Aretha Factor”. Meacham is the creator and artistic director of Black Diamond Group Performance Ensemble.

Walter Simpkins

Walter Simpkins is the Executive Director of Community Fathers Incorporated. He holds a BA from the City College of New York and his credentials also include a Masters degree from the State University at Albany in Africana Studies
Walter Simpkins will portray Moses Viney, a runaway slave who found refuge at Union College in Schenectady. Viney fled a plantation on Maryland's Eastern Shore in 1840 at 23 when he learned he was about to be sold. Simpkins has portrayed Moses Viney annually at the opening of the Hamilton Hills Arts Center Juneteenth Celebration at Vale Cemetery.

Clifford Oliver

Although born and raised in the Bronx, Clifford Oliver has spent his entire adult life photographing in rural New York.  As a veteran staff photographer with New York State’s Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Clifford was introduced to historic re-enactors.  Aside from being beautiful subjects to photograph, Clifford loved the way re-enactors taught history and it didn’t take long for Clifford to be recruited as an re-enactor. Living in Washington County, it stands to reason that Solomon Northup would be the first personage Clifford Mealy took on some twenty years ago. Since then, Jack of the Mabee Farm, Old Tom at Knickerbocker Mansion, Prince at Schulyer Mansion are some of the forgotten inhabitants of our past that Clifford has resurrected. 

ADULT ART NIGHT: #ColorOurCollections 2020

Thursday, February 6, 5:30-7:30PM
$10 non-members; $5 members
$5 optional add on wine ticket available

Enjoy a relaxing night as you add your own color to images from the Albany Institute’s collections! Each participant will receive 6 images from the museum’s collection printed on cardstock and will have the opportunity to use diverse coloring media such as water-soluble pencils and crayons, colored pencils, and colored pens to fill the images in.

When you’ve completed your images feel free to upload a picture to social media using the hashtag #ColorOurCollections. #ColorOurCollections is a week-long coloring fest on social media organized by libraries, archives, and other cultural institutions around the world and is celebrated this year from February 3-7.

Participants 21 and over may also purchase a ticket for a single serving 187 ml bottle of wine to be enjoyed with the program.  An add on wine ticket option is available for $5 per individual bottle.  If a drink ticket is purchased the participant will be given a ticket upon arrival that can be exchanged for their choice of Ste. Genevieve Chardonnay, Chilean Pinot Grigio, White Zinfandel, Chilean Merlot, or Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon.

REGISTER HERE

 
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$10.00

Free Admission Day: Presidents' Day (2020)

Monday, February 17 • 10:00am - 5:00pm

This President’s Day, we’re celebrating books and literacy with some fun activities for the whole family. In the Art Studio, we’ll design our own bookmarks with drawings and tassels. In our Research Library, we will have special objects on view. Plus, our friends from the RED Bookshelf will be on hand to give all children in the area the opportunity to own their own books and become readers, and Albany Public Library will lead a fun story time (great for ages 2-5) too!

We are also hosting Clifford the Big Red Dog birthday parties throughout the day. WMHT will be at the museum for a special screening of a birthday episode and we will make crafts and even get a chance to take pictures with Clifford! Space per session is limited and registration is required. Register online or call (518) 463-4478 ext. 403

  • 10AM-4:30PM: Drop-in Art Making
  • 2PM: Story Time with Albany Public Library
  • 11AM, 1PM, 3PM: Clifford the Big Red Dog Birthday Party (Space is limited and registration is required. Register here.)

 

 

Clifford the Big Red Dog Birthday Party!

Monday, February 17 • 11:00am - 12:30pm Monday, February 17 • 1:00pm - 2:30pm Monday, February 17 • 3:00pm - 4:30pm

This President’s Day, we’re celebrating books and literacy with some fun activities for the whole family. 

We are hosting Clifford the Big Red Dog birthday parties throughout the day. WMHT will be at the museum for a special screening of a birthday episode and we will make crafts and even get a chance to take pictures with Clifford! Space per session is limited and registration is required. Register online or call (518) 463-4478 ext. 403

 

What else are we doing today?

In the Art Studio, we’ll design our own bookmarks with drawings and tassels. In our Research Library, we will have special objects on view. Plus, our friends from the RED Bookshelf will be on hand to give all children in the area the opportunity to own their own books and become readers, and Albany Public Library will lead a fun story time (great for ages 2-5) too!

  • 10AM-4:30PM: Drop-in Art Making
  • 2PM: Story Time with Albany Public Library
  • 11AM, 1PM, 3PM: Clifford the Big Red Dog Birthday Party (Registration required)

 

Sketch Club

Adult: Sunday, December 15 • 2:00pm - 4:00pm Adult: Sunday, January 12 • 2:00pm - 4:00pm Adult: Sunday, February 9 • 2:00pm - 4:00pm Adult: Sunday, March 8 • 2:00pm - 4:00pm

Carol Coogan, Artist

Enjoy the tradition of sketching from original works of art in the museum’s collection and special exhibitions. During the program, Carol will offer participants personal guidance as well as insights on drawing techniques and observational skills.

Participants will be provided with a small student grade sketchbook or are welcome to bring a sketchbook of their own. Basic drawing materials are provided and all skill levels are welcome. Artists bringing their own supplies should note that only pencils are allowed in the museum galleries.

Registration is required are spaces are limited.

  • $15 members, $20 non-members

 

About the teaching artist: Carol Coogan is an artist, illustrator, designer, and sketchbook enthusiast. She created the Times Union’s “Backyard Naturalist" newspaper feature which she wrote and illustrated for 10 years. She is the weekly op-ed artist for The Altamont Enterprise and a freelance illustrator for Crane & Co stationery.

Dates:

December 15, 2019
January 12, 2020
February 9, 2020
March 8, 2020
 
Registration Notes:
  • Ignore the Emergency Contact fields of registration and proceed by pressing continue.
  • If using a mobile device to register please change viewing settings to full desktop view to allow a purchase to be completed.
  • Registration cost includes museum admission.

Online registration for Sketch Club will end at 5:00 on the Friday prior to the program for administrative purposes. Walk-in registration will be available on a first come first serve basis on the day of the program.

 
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$20.00

ART WORKSHOP Reclaimed Canvas with Ruby Silvious

8 and up: Sunday, March 15 • 12:30pm - 2:00pm

ART WORKSHOP
Reclaimed Canvas with artist Ruby Silvious
Sunday, March 15, 12:30–2:00 PM
Ages 8-12

$25 members, $30 non-members

Take everyday objects and turn them into canvases for art with our featured artist on view, Ruby Silvious. Ruby's own artwork on recycled and reused materials is currently on view in the museum in the exhibition, Recycled and Refashioned: The Art of Ruby Silvious. Participants will learn how to paint on tea bags, and pistachio shells. After a brief demo, students can paint on canvas the of their choice, or all of them, time-permitting. Materials will be provided.

Accompanying adults must remain on the museum premises.


• Registration is required. $25 members, $30 non-members. Click to register at https://tinyurl.com/Reclaimed-Canvas

REGISTER HERE

 

Questions about the program?  Email clowes@albanyinstitute.org or call 518-463-4478

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$20.00

ADULT ART WORKSHOP Reclaimed Canvas with Ruby Silvious

Adult: Sunday, March 15 • 3:00pm - 4:30pm

Reclaimed Canvas

Sunday, March 15, 3:00-4:30

Take everyday objects and turn them into canvases for art with our featured artist on view, Ruby Silvious. Ruby's own artwork on recycled and reused materials is currently on view in the museum in the exhibition, Recycled and Refashioned: The Art of Ruby Silvious. Participants will learn how to paint on tea bags, cracked egg shells, and acorns. After a brief demo, students can paint on the canvas of their choice, or all of them, time-permitting. Materials will be provided.

 

All materials are included with the registration fee. Registration is required.

REGISTER HERE

For further questions about this program you may email clowes@albanyinstitute.org 

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$30.00

As Odious and Immoral a Thing: Alexander Hamilton’s True History with Slavery

General: Sunday, April 19 • 2:00pm - 3:00pm

Generations of biographers have cast Hamilton as the “Abolitionist Founding Father,” but under closer examination, evidence to the contrary is revealed. Schuyler Mansion State Historic Site historical interpreter Jessie Serfilippi will present her research on slavery within Hamilton’s professional and personal life, including an in-depth look at Hamilton’s history as an enslaver and the individuals he enslaved.  

  • Included with Museum Admission

Image: Alexander Hamilton (1757 -1804), Robert Ball Hughes (1806-1868), Painted plaster, 1835, Albany Institute of History & Art Purchase, 1945.18

ADULT ART WORKSHOP Paint & Learn: Twilight Landscape

Adult: Thursday, April 23 • 5:30pm - 7:30pm

Join us for a guided painting experience while we take inspiration from the painting, Twilight sunset landscape by Frederic Church currently on view in The Hudson River School: Landscape Paintings from the Albany Institute Artist exhibition. Artist Noreen Powell will lead participants through the process of creating a sunset landscape. 

Participants 21 and over may also purchase a ticket for a single serving bottle of wine to be enjoyed with the program. An add on wine ticket option is available for $5 per individual bottle. If a drink ticket is purchased the participant will be given a ticket upon arrival that can be exchanged for their choice of Ste. Genevieve Chardonnay, Chilean Pinot Grigio, White Zinfandel, Chilean Merlot, or Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon.

 

All materials are included with the registration fee. Registration is required.

REGISTER HERE

For further questions about this program you may email clowes@albanyinstitute.org or call 518-463-4478 ext. 435.

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$30.00

LECTURE Robert H. Pruyn: An Albany Yankee in the Tycoon's Court

General: Sunday, April 26 • 2:00pm - 3:00pm

Robert H. Pruyn (1815-1882), a "good Dutchman" of Albany, served as the second American foreign minister to Japan, 1861-1865. This was a time of civil war in the States, and a time of great civil unrest in Japan. Pruyn prided himself both on his diplomacy and his appreciation of Japanese culture. This talk will focus on some of the lesser-known details of his experience, as revealed in his many personal letters home, held in the archives of the AIHA.

  • Included with Museum Admission