Established in 1791, the Albany Institute of History & Art has been chronicling artistic expression longer than the Louvre, the Smithsonian, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Visitors acquaint themselves with an eternally revolving set of exhibits, including Hajo: An Artist’s Journey, which documents Hans-Joachim Richard Christoph's work in package design incorporating the bold, stylized graphics of the Berlin school of graphic design. Visitors can sidle up to one of the permanent exhibitions, such as the panoramic landscape art of The Landscape that Defined America: The Hudson River School or the ornamentally preserved remains of Ancient Egypt, an exhibit that spotlights the Nile, the Egyptian concept of afterlife, and ways to reposition a mummy into a hip-hop mummy.
For more than 70 years, the Schenectady Museum & Suits-Bueche Planetarium has showcased innovations from the frontiers of science, technology, engineering, and math for curious minds of all ages. A full calendar of exhibits and live demonstrations facilitates understanding of science fundamentals, introduces visitors to new gadgets, and unearths complex equations mapping Einstein's hairdo from the vast archive of documents and photos. Enacting the museum's mission to provide experiential learning, the interactive exhibit Power Hour engages hands to reveal the earth's invisible forces and drops jaws with inventions such as the bridge of fire, and investigators of all ages conduct lively experiments in the Fetch! Lab, where the scientific method––much like Bob Barker––is kept alive by a vibrant game-show setting. The planetarium pinpoints 8,500 stars and 24 constellations with one of only 12 GOTO Star Machines in the nation, augmenting mechanical illumination with human insight during seasonal sky tours and humorous stories from the Cowboy Astronomer.
Since its establishment in 1986, The National Museum of Dance has been charming guests through live performance, video installations, and archival displays. Aside from receiving free admission for the entire year, all card-carrying members get access to reduced admission to the museum's special events, 10% off all purchases in the gift shop, two guest passes, and issues of Foot Notes — the museum's semi-annual newsletter. Current exhibits include a tribute to Michael Jackson, a gallery of costumes from television's Dancing with the Stars, and a curiously creative display of postal stamps highlighting dance styles from around the world.
Arriving in Paris after leading a scientific expedition through northern China, Sterling Clark was just another Boxer Rebellion veteran and Yale-educated engineer looking for something to do with the inheritance of his magnate grandfather, Robert Clark, who was an heir to the Singer sewing-machine fortune. Like the countless men who found themselves in the same position, Sterling did the only thing left to do at that point of his adventurous life: invest in art.
Sterling and his wife Francine both displayed a discriminating eye for art in their first year of collecting, almost immediately acquiring a piece by the sought-after painter Hyacinthe Rigaud, who was famous for his portraiture of 17th-century European nobility and drawing the most realistic-looking stick people. The Clarks' tastes evolved over time, and their collection ballooned to include more than 30 paintings by Renoir and dozens of works by other impressionist artists.
In 1955, a year before Sterling passed away, he and Francine founded their art institute, where the museum's curators presently stay true to the couple's artistic interests. French impressionism still forms the crux of the collection, but the museum's scope is ever expanding and nowadays includes works of early photographers and American painters and a rotating schedule of well-curated special exhibitions.
For more than a century, the Berkshire Museum has blended history, science, and art into a cohesive whole, drawing inspiration from both the Smithsonian and the American Museum for Natural Science. The museum is packed with wonders ranging from Wally—the fiberglass stegosaurus who guards the museum’s entry—to the John James Audubon display, an impassioned tribute to the very ornithology that prompted Audubon to pen The Birds of America. Other, more playful displays unveil additional wonders, including Alexander Calder's collection of wooden push and pull toys. And inside the vast, salty aquarium, a teeming collection of clownfish, blind cave tetra, and puffer fish swim merrily side-by-side, thankful that they've yet to be cast as members of some trite, underwater calypso band.