Public Programs

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

FREE THEATRE PERFORMANCE They Built America: The Workers of the Erie Canal

Grades 3+: Thursday, March 30 • 6:00pm - 7:00pm

A special performance by Capital Repertory Theatre

We’re commemorating the 200th anniversary of the groundbreaking of the incredible Erie Canal!

Meet the real men, women and children, the politicians, farmers, merchants and laborers who came north to build the Erie Canal.

This miraculous waterway transformed America from a burgeoning country into a great nation, and it comes with a miraculous story.  Igniting this momentous event in New York State history, as characters from history come to life, including George Washington, Irish orphan Molly, physician Dr. Finch, Italian mason Antonio– and many more! 

The performance is 1-hour.

Recommended for grades 3 and up.

Free admission

LECTURE Revisiting Local History with @AlbanyArchives

Sunday, April 2 • 2:00pm - 3:00pm

Matt Malette, Senior Graphic Designer, Local History Videojournalist, and Creator of Twitter Feed @AlbanyArchives and the Albany Postcard Project

Malette created and ran the @AlbanyArchives page anonymously for almost three years. His Twitter page helps people re-discover Albany's rich history.

In his talk, Malette will discuss his motivations to launch the page, his most interesting finds, sources of information, and how the community responds to his work.

Free with museum admission

FREE CONCERT Saratoga Sings of Art and Inspiration

Thursday, April 13 • 6:00pm - 7:00pm

Presented by Opera Saratoga

Join us in the galleries for opera and song inspired by great artists and works of art.

Approximately 60 minutes. Includes American composer Ben Moore's song cycle Dear Theo.

FAMILY CONCERT Erie Canal Concert

Friday, April 21 • 2:00pm - 3:00pm

Dave Ruch, performer and teaching artist

Dave Ruch is an award-winning musician who sings and plays music for all ages on an assortment of instruments including mandolin, spoons, and more.

During this multi-generational concert, Ruch will present music about life on the Erie Canal, offering classic sing-a-longs and rarely-heard stories from the days of "Clinton's Ditch."

Free with museum admission


IMAGE: Dave Ruch, performer and teaching artist

LECTURE & BOOK SIGNING Alone in this Remote Place: The Pioneering Women Biologists of New York's Raptor Recovery Programs

Thursday, April 27 • 6:00pm - 7:00pm

Darryl McGrath, author and journalist

Fifty years ago, the Bald Eagle and the Peregrine Falcon, two of the nation's most beloved birds, were heading toward extinction. A small group of largely forgotten women scientists played a critical role in the two projects that restored these birds to the wild, often under extremely hazardous conditions in isolated settings. These pioneers were often the first people ever to undertake certain critical tasks in this historic work.

In her book, author Darryl McGrath details their contributions to endangered species work with vivid anecdotes and stirring recollections by the unsung heroines of the state's raptor recovery projects. Following her lecture, McGrath will sign copies of her book Flight Paths: A Field Journal of Hope, Heartbreak, and Miracles with New York’s Bird People.

Free admission

LECTURE 19th Century Landscape Photography

Sunday, April 30 • 2:00pm - 3:00pm

Diane Waggoner, Curator of 19th-Century Photographs at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

When photography arrived in the United States in 1839, it first established itself in major cities in the East. Yet, with the exception of practitioners working during the Civil War, many eastern landscape photographers have gained limited recognition in comparison to photographers who ventured west and documented the settling of the frontier.

Photographs of the East, however, are not only visually arresting but also have a story to tell about national preoccupations. Created for multiple purposes, these images express a diverse set of aesthetic, moral, topographic, and instrumental concerns. They helped shape evolving mythologies of the American wilderness, revealed the impact of the Civil War on the physical landscape, and played an important role in both industrialization and environmental preservation.

This talk, based on the exhibition East of the Mississippi: Nineteenth-Century American Landscape Photography, on view at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, March 12-July 16, 2017, will offer an overview of this vivid chapter of America’s photographic history.


Free with museum admission


IMAGE: Von’ Storch Breaker, Thomas H. Johnson, Scranton, Pennsylvania, c. 1863–1865, Albumen photographic print on letterpress mount, Gift of the estate of J. Tabor Loree, Delaware and Hudson Railroad Collection, JD 82-09