Special Projects

Exhibition Support for Paintings of Addy®: Dahl Taylor's Original Illustrations for American Girl

Make a gift of $100 or more to the annual fund now until December 31, 2017 and you will be entered to win a private tour of the Paintings of Addy®: Dahl Taylor’s Original Illustrations for American Girl® andWell-Dressed in Victorian Albany: 19th Century Fashion from the Albany Institute Collection exhibitions, followed by lunch with Albany Institute Curator Diane Shewchuk.

The Albany Institute of History & Art recently opened its exhibition, Paintings of Addy®: Dahl Taylor’s Original Illustrations for American Girl®. The show presents a selection of Taylor’s illustrations paired with historical objects from the museum’s rich collection.

In 1995, Taylor was commissioned to re-illustrate the six-book Addy® series for American Girl, which combined beautifully produced dolls and historical fiction to become a national sensation. The artist drew inspiration from the city of Albany and used models from the area for Addy® and recurring characters from the series. This exhibition presents more than forty paintings Taylor created to illustrate the story of Addy Walker, a nine-year-old girl born into slavery who escapes to freedom during the American Civil War. It also includes artifacts from the museum’s collection to illustrate daily life during the mid-nineteenth century.

In an effort to deepen engagement with this exhibition, the museum’s education department has developed a Junior Interpreter Program that aims to enhance students' appreciation of art, culture, and history while enabling them to practice professional skills and prepare for college. For the pilot year, thirteen 8th through 12th-grade students from Albany and surrounding communities will use Paintings of Addy® as the basis for public tours. Students will receive specialized training as museum guides and work collaboratively to develop interactive gallery tours using their own voices. These tours, held on Saturdays from January through May, will discuss the history of American slavery, the Underground Railroad, and Civil War, as well as the artistic process that brought the story of Addy® to life.

The Albany Institute will offer visitors additional educational opportunities, including:

  • Art for All, a drop-in art program in the museum’s art studio for guests of all ages, will feature a series of projects that draw inspiration from the exhibition;
  • School Tours will expand the narrative and images featured in Addy® using historical objects from the museum’s collection that connect to the New York State Social Studies Framework;
  • an Audio Tour that will feature Addy’s® own words and historical information;
  • a Hands-on History & Art Cart for visitors to experience hands-on engagement with objects related to the exhibition and the nineteenth century; and
  • a Family Night on March 2, 2018, that will celebrate the exhibition, featuring Civil War era crafts and free activities that offer a glimpse into daily life in the 1860s.

These programs provide multiple platforms for visitor engagement with the exhibition, but they cannot happen without your support. As we close the year,we hope make a donation and support this exciting project. Thank you for your consideration. 

****Details: Private Tour with AIHA Curator Diane Shewchuk. No purchase necessary. Eligible entrants are entered to win a private tour for two of the Albany Institute of History and Art’s Well-Dressed in Victorian Albany: 19th Century Fashion from the Albany Institute Collection  and Paintings of Addy®: Dahl Taylor's Original Illustrations for American Girl exhibitions, followed by lunch at the Crisan Cafe. Offer runs from 12:00AM EDT November 15, 2017 through 11:59PM EDT December 31, 2017. Entrants must be at least 18 years of age. Employees of the Albany Institute of History and Art and their family members are not eligible to win. All contributions of $100.00 and up will be automatically enter the donor in the contest. To enter without a donation, please send an email or send a letter with your name, phone number, address, and date of birth to Nick DeMarco, Director of Development, at demarcon@albanyinstitute.org, or Albany Institute of History and Art, 125 Washington Avenue, Albany, NY 12210.Winner will be announced January 5, 2018, and will be notified by email and telephone. Entrant information will not be shared with third parties.