Celebrating Troy: 200 x 200 will be on view in the Robinson Family Meeting Room at the museum from September 12 to Dec. 17, 2016 in honor of the Troy’s bicentennial as a city. Earlier this year a call was put out to the community for the loan of objects and other materials that people felt told the story of Troy’s 200 years as a city. RCHS was very pleased with the response from the community – over 30 lenders, both private individuals and institutions have generously lent their collections to the show. RCHS then added a few recent acquisitions to the permanent collections to help focus on the following themes:
Troy Origins and Growth
The exhibit of over 200 pieces of Troy’s history will be up through the end of the year, including the Greens Show (Dec. 1-4, 2016).
Visions of Troy: 200 Years a City
Exhibit dates: February 26, to December 17, 2016.
The historical society, at 57 Second St., is open from noon to 5 p.m. Thursday to Saturday.
“Visions of Troy: 200 Years A City” starts the bicentennial celebration of Troy’s establishment as a city in 1816. The exhibit will capture Troy’s history in 50-year increments. The years 1816, 1866, 1916, 1966 and 2016 are used as touch points. Troy has been in the heart of U.S. history from giving the country Samuel Wilson as the model for Uncle Sam through the Industrial Revolution, when it was one of the nation’s richest communities, to the present.
The exhibit also features the restored neon signs from the now closed South End Tavern. Here is a Times Union Article about the exhibit.
Marcus Kwame Anderson
I love to create art of various kinds. Much of my art is a representation of the beauty and diversity of the African Diaspora. I believe that the arts can be a powerful vehicle for change and I often incorporate social commentary into my work. One of my goals is to spark thought and conversation. I have a lot to say and art is my favorite form of communication.
Daesha Devon Harris
Just Beyond the River: A Folk Tale
Narratives are central to my art practice and the stories that inspire my work have both local origins and that of the greater African diaspora. Through the telling of these stories I adamantly claim the central role that African Americans have played not just in the making of America but in enriching its history and cultural heritage.
Inspired by Negro Folklore, Slave Narratives and the Harlem Renaissance poets, the selected works from Just Beyond the River, reference the seminal role that rivers and waters have played in the Black American experience. This work claims the significant contributions and sacrifices that our ancestors gave civilization in both life and in death and acknowledges the burden of social constructs that to this day continue to threaten people of color.
The “Promised Land” of the Freedmen’s Bureau has been thwarted by many social systems, but in spite of these obstacles there has been agency, uplift and success among African American communities. I make it a point to illustrate that the Black community is not defined by these barriers, but rather show the strength, faith and hope of a people.
Picturesque Oakwood: Commemorating 125 Years of the Gardner Earl Memorial Chapel & Crematorium.
Exhibit dates: September 9, to December 19, 2015.
Oakwood Cemetery is one of the most exceptional cemeteries in the United States. Organized in 1848 by the Troy Cemetery Association at the height of the rural cemetery movement, Oakwood’s park like setting is the final resting place for more than 50,000 people including, Samuel Wilson, women’s education pioneer Emma Willard and many military figures . The spectacular Gardner Earl Memorial Chapel & Crematorium opened in 1890 and is now a National Historic Landmark. This exhibit looks at the origins of Oakwood, the prominent figures in landscape architecture that helped to design the cemetery and the many contributions of the Friends of Oakwood Cemetery.
Scenic Overlook: Perspectives on Rensselaer County’s Changing Landscape
With paint, ink and photography, artists have portrayed views of Rensselaer County’s landscape for over two hundred years. This new exhibit highlights their art as documents of the ever-changing landscape and our evolving perspectives on our surroundings. The exhibit features over 50 works from RCHS’s permanent collection, including historic paintings by Joseph Hidley and William R. Tyler, historic photographs by James Irving and James F. Cowee, and contemporary photographs by Tom Killips and Brenda Ann Kenneally, as well as a number of works loaned especially for this exhibit.
Opens February 27, 2015 during Troy Night Out, 5-8pm through 12/19
“UNCLE SAM: THE MAN IN LIFE AND LEGEND”
The Rensselaer County Historical Society is now the home for Uncle Sam and his story:
Uncle Sam: The Man in Life and Legend.
Samuel “Uncle Sam” Wilson (1766-1854) is undoubtedly Troy’s most famous son. Arriving in Troy in the late 18th century and participating in the community’s early growth and success, he was also a witness to the expansion of our nation and the development of our national identity.
The Historical Society’s exhibit, Uncle Sam: The Man in Life and Legend, examines both the real man and the national symbol using objects from the museum’s collections, including archeological artifacts from the site of one of Sam Wilson’s houses and historical prints and images of our national symbol. Visitors will be able to see how the story of the man and the legend evolved and learn how this real person and national icon continue to impact us today.
The Edgar Holloway (1914-2008) Watercolor and Etchings, Part III
A rotating exhibit located on the second floor of the museum. In the early 1970s, Rev. Thomas Phelan was inspired to raise awareness of Troy and the surrounding area’s amazing architectural and industrial heritage. Valuing the power art has to move people to action, Rev. Phelan commissioned English artist Edgar Holloway to spend three summers, from 1973 to 1975, in Troy to document the historic buildings and street scenes. His three years in New York resulted in over 80 watercolors and 15 etchings that have become a historical record unto themselves of the way Troy, Cohoes, and other outlying areas looked in the mid-1970s. Through Holloway’s art, people began to see the inherent beauty in these often neglected buildings. Advocacy groups formed and several buildings were preserved through the actions of individuals inspired by Holloway’s art.
Open January 30 through May 29, 2015
Rudy Helmo: Rensselaer County’s Expressionist Artist
This exhibit brought together Helmo’s work for the first time in over two decades and included paintings from the RCHS collection and on loan from private lenders.
John Henry & The Baltimores of Troy, Spring 2015
These 19th century photographs depicting the Henry family and their friends were recently re-discovered at the Whitehall Free Library when Clifford Oliver, a photographer who lives in Greenwich, NY, was alerted to their existence. The photos tell the story of the Henry family who were related by marriage to the Baltimore family, a prominent Troy abolitionist family.
At the Corner of Second and State: Where Troy’s History Intersects, Fall 2014
At the Corner of Second & State will be displayed in the main exhibit area of RCHS, the Grimm Gallery. As a key location in Troy’s original grid pattern, laid out on Jacob Vanderheyden’s farm in 1781, the four corners that make up the intersection of Second and State Streets, and the surrounding blocks, witnessed many important events and developments over the years.
Utilizing the rich archival collections at RCHS, the exhibit will explore four themes (the grid, architecture, cultural history, social action) and feature historic photographs and objects.
Highlighted items include: Architectural Plans of key buildings, such as the YWA building; Votes for Women banner c. 1915; Seat from the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall; Art pieces from the Troy School of Arts and Crafts; Photographs of parades, group portraits taken on the steps of the Music Hall and more.
The exhibit opened at the RCHS 87th Annual Meeting on Monday, September 8, 2014 and remained on view for 15 weeks, including during the annual RCHS Holiday Greens Show, which closed on December 20, 2014.
“Conserving the Welfare and Best Interests of our Depositors”: The Troy Savings Bank, Fall 2014
This companion exhibit to the main exhibit focuses on the Troy Savings Bank – its history and impact.
Hoarding History: Why the Museum Collects, Spring 2014
Museums are often compared to icebergs – what is on view at any given time is just the tip of it all. Why collect if people can’t see it all the time? RCHS’s new exhibit explores how and why the museum collects, cares for and uses collections by focusing on the wide variety of things acquired since 2000. Visitors will have the opportunity to view over 100 recent acquisitions and learn about the process RCHS goes through to be able to bring new aspects of Rensselaer County’s history to the public while preserving the artifacts that tell these stories for future generations. Ceramics, glass, furniture and other large objects, historic clothing and textiles, library and archival collections and fine arts items are all represented in the exhibit. RCHS’s largest artifact, the Hart-Cluett House, has its own section.
For the Public Good: Health & Medicine in Rensselaer County, Fall 2013
In the 19th century, booming industry and a burgeoning transportation network dramatically increased the population of Rensselaer County. Rising populations contributed to overcrowded housing, poor sanitation and an already overtaxed fresh water supply. Outbreaks of cholera, typhoid, diphtheria, flu and tuberculosis followed; attacking the working poor, who were often new immigrants, the hardest.
For the Public Good focuses on the partnerships that developed between the medical profession, emerging social service agencies and city and county government to eliminate these scourges and promote a healthier, vibrant community.
This exhibit is sponsored by the Lucille A. Herold Trust and E. Stewart Jones Law Firm
At the Foot of the Hills: Landscapes of Arthur Gibbes Burton
August 13, 2013 – September 28, 2013
Arthur Gibbes Burton (1883 – 1969) was born in West Troy and spent his childhood in Hoosick Falls, graduating from Hoosick Fall High School in 1901. His uncle and aunt, Jacob and Clara Groesbeck, financed his education at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn where he graduated with degrees in fine art and mechanical drawing. The picturesque rural scenery of his youth and the West River Valley where he settled with his wide greatly influenced the direction his artistic career took. This exhibition, organized by Warren Broderick, will be on view through September 28, 2013.