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16 Museums & Cultural Centers to Visit in the Hudson Valley

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Photo courtesy of Magazzino Italian Art

Love all things arts and culture? This autumn, head to these top museums and cultural centers for inspiring exhibits in the Hudson Valley.

By Megan Wilson and Megan Ashcroft

The Valley may be best loved for trail hiking this time of year, but if you haven’t visited our region’s many excellent museums and cultural centers, you are in for a treat. These 16 inspiring spots—featuring art, history, science, and more—have exciting new exhibits this season.

Albany

Albany Institute of History & Art Albany

Photo courtesy of Albany Institute of History & Art, Albany

Albany Institute of History & Art, Albany

albanyinstitute.org

Claim to fame: It’s one of the oldest museums in the country (founded in 1791) that specializes in documenting upper HV history—including paintings from Hudson River School artists.

Don’t miss: “Gordon Parks: I, Too, Am America,” a collection of photos that examine race and American society starting November 12.

New York State Museum, Albany

nysm.nysed.gov

Claim to fame: This history museum is all about New York and its diverse regions.

Don’t miss: Exhibitions on photographer Berenice Abbott, artist Thomas Hart Benton, and 1600s-era Albany trading post Fort Orange, all running through the end of the year.

University Art Museum, Albany

albany.edu/museum

Claim to fame: An ever-changing display of contemporary visual art.

Don’t miss: Wire and found object sculptures and distorted vinyl text by artist and writer Sara Magenheimer in her show “Dailies,” as well as a collection of 16 large screen prints inspired by the typography and lights found in Times Square from the late artist Chryssa. Both close December 5.

Columbia

Art Omi Ghent

Photo by Bryan Zimmerman

Art Omi, Ghent

artomi.org

Claim to fame: The superb 120-acre sculpture and architecture park with towering contemporary works.

Don’t miss: “Allana Clarke: A Particular Fantasy” in the Newmark Gallery. This exhibition of photography, sculpture, video, and text-based works blends socio-political research with visual art. On display until January 2023.

Dutchess

DIA Beacon, Beacon

dia.org

Claim to fame: Housed in a former Nabisco factory, Dia offers a wide variety of world-class contemporary art.

Don’t miss: The exhibition of Robert Irwin’s work “Full Room Skylight – Scrim V” which was installed in August.

Frances Leham Loeb Art Center Poughkeepsie

Photo courtesy of the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Vassar College

Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Poughkeepsie

vassar.edu/theloeb

Claim to fame: Their permanent collection includes over 22,000 works and exhibitions that highlight Vassar students’ creative endeavors, some of which are rooted in social justice.

Don’t miss: “Ways of Unseeing in Photography” and “On The Grid,” an exploration of how artists use and reject grids. Both close on December 22.

Hessel Museum of Art, Annandale-on-Hudson

ccs.bard.edu

Claim to fame: This extension of Bard College’s nationally renowned Center for Curatorial Studies is open to the public and presents experimental group and solo shows.

Don’t miss: Dara Birnbaum’s “Reaction,” a retrospective of her work in the United States that encourages rebellion against authority across video, 2D art, and performance pieces. On display until November 27.

Locust Grove Estate, Poughkeepsie

lgny.org

Claim to fame: This Italianate mansion—which was Samuel Morse’s country home—overlooks the Hudson River and serves as a museum and nature preserve.

Don’t miss: Over 20 landscape paintings by local 19th-century painter Caroline Morgan Clowes, as well as her personal letters and drawings. Plus, in December, visit the estate for its stunning holiday decorations. Open November 4–December 31.

Greene

Thomas Cole National Historic Site, Catskill

thomascole.org

Claim to fame: In the former home of Hudson River School founder Thomas Cole (read more about him on page 104), visitors can learn the history of his work and enjoy rotating exhibits.

Don’t miss: In “A Memorial to Ice at the Dead Deer Disco,” open through November 27, Marc Swanson displays a new series of sculptural installations of dioramas and nature displays inspired by Thomas Cole.

Orange

Storm King Art Center New Windsor

Photo by Nick Knight \ courtesy of Sarah Sze Studio

Storm King Art Center, New Windsor

stormkingartcenter.org

Claim to fame: An expansive collection of large-scale outdoor sculptures and site-specific commissions on a sweeping 500-acre campus.

Don’t miss: Through the first week of November, catch these two temporary installations: “Shade Tree” by Brandon Ndife, which circles a maple with furniture cast in polyurethane foam and resin; and earth and bronze sculptures by Wangechi Mutu.

Putnam

Magazzino Italian Art Cold Spring

Photo courtesy of Magazzino Italian Art

Magazzino Italian Art, Cold Spring

magazzino.art

Claim to fame: Showcasing postwar and contemporary work of Italian artists.

Don’t miss: “Tappeto-Natura,” Piero Gilardi’s three-dimensional sculptures. On display through January, the pieces examine the relationship between art and life, as well as nature and man-made materials.

Manitoga: The Russel Wright Design Center Garrison

Installation of “Formafantasma at Manitoga’s Dragon Rock: Designing Nature” at Manitoga/The Russel Wright Design Center. Photo by Michael Biondo, courtesy of Manitoga / Michael Biondo Photography

Manitoga: The Russel Wright Design Center, Garrison

visitmanitoga.org

Claim to fame: This former estate and modernist home of designer Russell Wright is a National Historic Landmark that presents exhibitions about living in harmony with nature.

Don’t miss: A presentation on the relationship between design and the natural world by Andrea Trimarchi and Simone Farresin of Formafantasma. The exhibit is in partnership with Magazzino Italian Art. Closes November 14.

Ulster

Reher Center for Immigrant Culture and History, Kingston

rehercenter.org

Claim to fame: Preserving the history of Valley immigrants, past and present.

Don’t miss: “Stitched Together,” a student-researched exhibit and interpretation of the lives of nine women who worked at the former Kingston-based F. Jacobson and Sons Shirt Factory in 1918. On view through December.

Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art, New Paltz

newpaltz.edu

Claim to fame: Located on the SUNY New Paltz campus, this museum’s collection is comprised of over 6,000 pieces that span a 4,000-year period, plus the work of BFA and MFA students at the end of each semester.

Don’t miss: Two special partner exhibits: “Benjamin Wigfall & Communications Village” showcases paintings and prints from both Wigfall and artists who were inspired by him, and “For Context: Prints from the Dorsky Collection” explores Wigfall’s techniques.

Westchester

The Armour-Stiner Octagon House Irvington

Courtesy of The Armour-Stiner Octagon House, Irvington

The Armour-Stiner Octagon House, Irvington

armourstiner.com

Claim to fame: This eight-sided pink home replicates Donato Bramante’s 1502 Tempietto in Rome. Learn about the writers, poets, and artists who lived here—before the National Trust for Historic Renovation acquired it in 1976.

Don’t miss: Victorian Christmas evening tours from November 11–December 30.

Hudson River Museum, Yonkers

hrm.org

Claim to fame: A planetarium, as well as exhibits that connect art with history and the natural world.

Don’t miss: “Cycles of Nature,” which looks at the circle of life through landscape paintings and photography, and “The Art of Skywatching,” which explores what stargazers observe when looking at the sky through art. Both are open through early 2023.

Related: 37 Art Centers Every Hudson Valleyite Should Visit

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