Calling all digital explorers! Discover Albany's history, attractions, exhibits and more without leaving your couch. Historic sites, museums, art galleries and more from Albany County (and beyond!) offer a wide array of virtual experiences. These online offerings are perfect educational opportunities for kids and the whole family! Scroll on for virtual tours, online educational resources, videos, podcasts, lesson plans and more.
Learn about Albany’s rich 400 year-old history at home! Recently Discover Albany and the City of Albany officially launched the virtual tour of the Albany Heritage exhibit captured by Hudson Reality Capture. Dive into the city's connection to the Underground Railroad or the Erie Canal, peruse Made-In-Albany products (perforated toilet paper! billiard balls!), learn about the city's Dutch roots and more. Stay tuned for a director’s cut version that will include annotations throughout the exhibit.
Looking for a fun, engaging virtual event for your group? Discover Albany offers private virtual lectures on topics from Albany's Dutch roots, to historic haunts, to politics & prohibition.
The Albany Institute of History & Art has teachers and parents covered! Available on the museum's website, there are a variety of teacher resources and classroom activities. Check out The Capital Region in 50 Objects for 18 lessons featuring digital reproductions and supporting materials for students (or anyone!) to learn about the history and culture of the Capital Region through 50 objects. The Hudson River School STEAM: Art & the Environment resource is a set of 3 lessons with digital reproductions and primary sources that will introduce students to the connection between America's first artistic movement and environmental sciences.
Wander the halls of Ten Broeck Mansion virtually! The historic mansion in Albany's Arbor Hill neighborhood was built in 1798 for Revolutionary War General Abraham Ten Broeck. Click through the 3D Tour captured by Hudson Virtual Tours to see the Federal-style home's bedrooms, hallways, parlors and more. It is a great way to experience two centuries of Albany history! Plus the tour was filmed during the holiday season, so enjoy the festive decorations adorning the mansion's halls.
Still haven't made it inside the Albany Capital Center yet? Explore every nook and cranny of Albany’s convention center with the Virtual Reality Tour. In addition to exploring the meeting space, dive into the impressive murals by Albany-based artist Dahl Taylor in the main lobby. Visit this interactive website about the murals and learn more from local historians about the items being depicted.
48 Hudson, the Van Ostrande-Radliff House, was built in 1728 and is the oldest surviving building in Albany. Historic Albany Foundation is working to stabilize and preserve this important piece of America's Dutch history. Step back in time, without ever leaving your home, on a virtual tour of the building. Learn about Dutch architecture, the people that lived there, the restoration efforts and more!
Erie Canal was once billed the eighth wonder of the world. Learn about this historic byway with online resources available from the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor. The website has historical photographs, lesson plans, itineraries, PDFs and more. These resources help students and kids learn about the Erie Canal through images and documents.
Thomas Cole National Historic Site
Is the Thomas Cole National Historic Site on your travel bucket list? Visit the historic site's extensive video library to learn all about Thomas Cole and the American landscape painting movement. Watch "Sunday Saloons" for speakers discussing the art movement, dive into "Curator Talks" for insights to the site's collections, or peruse "Cole Site Originals" for peek inside the historic site.
The Albany Pine Bush Preserve is a globally-rare habitat located in Albany County. Embark on a virtual field trip to the preserve with this 13-minute video co-produced by WMHT. Watch to learn about the unique fire-dependent ecosystem, the endangered karner blue butterfly and ways you can help protect this Albany County treasure. The Albany Pine Bush Preserve has additional online resources available such as word searches for kids, activities for self-guided groups and an "Agents of Discovery" mobile app.
Explore the site of America's first Shaker settlement from your couch! Shaker Heritage Society has developed VirtualWatervilet featuring a plethora of digital tools to dive into the fascinating history of the site and the Shakers. Learn about the demolished buildings, embark on a map tour of the site, listen to snippets of Shaker music and so much more!
Local theater company, Creative License, recorded the "Tales of Old Albany" podcast. History buffs will love this dynamic way to take a deep dive into Albany's history, local families and historic events. The podcast episodes focus in on the life, times, and friendships of Albany’s most historic families, the Schuylers and the Ten Broecks. One episode features the letter penned by Dirck Ten Broeck detailing the Hamilton-Burr duel and the passing of his "dear departed friend."
Connect with art online! Albany Center Gallery has 360 tours of previous exhibits available on the gallery's website. Tour the gallery's past exhibits such as Dorothy Englander: Then & Now, Beyond Limits and Interact. These tours are a great way to experience art from the comfort of your own home.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation offers resources for teachers and learners of all ages focused on the Hudson River Estuary. Download Hudson River lesson plans, booklets, workshops and more. These are wonderful tools to encourage future generations to become river stewards. Virtually journey down the river and marvel at the sights with the Hudson River Virtual Tour.
The New York State Museum offers a variety of online educational opportunities. These online resources are fun and engaging ways to learn about the art, science and history of New York State. Browse the Fort Orange Educational Guide for video interviews and lessons highlighting this key piece of Albany's history. Explore educational resources for the Fifteenth Amendment, Ice Age Mammals, Votes for Women and more!
History buffs with an interest in learning more about America's (and Albany's!) Dutch roots can dive into the online resources available form the New Netherland Institute. There is a section of the website for students with digital exhibits, YA book recommendations, Dutch treats and more. Another section is for teachers with educational research guides and online classroom materials.
Engage in the fascinating story of the Underground Railroad with online resources from the Underground Railroad History Project of the Capital Region. The organization's website has several downloadable resources available for kids learning at home including "The Anti-Slavery Alphabet - A Coloring Book" and "The Underground Railroad Puzzle Pack." There is also a story about William and Ellen Craft's escape from slavery available.