Museums to strut their stuff
ESAM to show off 3 historic planes
CAPITAL REGION Visitors to the Empire State Aerosciences Museum in Glenville will soon be able to catch a glimpse of the museum’s most recent acquisitions: three historic aircraft acquired in April from the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in New York City.
The unveiling of the planes is being done in conjunction with New York State Museum Week, which runs from Thursday to June 6. The first time event is sponsored by “I Love New York,” the state’s tourism program.
“The planes will be on display for the first time,” said Kevin Millington, a member of the museum’s board of trustees. “It’s pretty historic.”
The planes — a Russian-designed MiG-15 fighter, the Douglas F3-D Skyknight fighter and the British naval aircraft the Supermarine Scimitar — have joined the extensive collection of historic aircraft located in the museum’s Air Park.
“The museum is a local gem,” Millington said. “We hope to see more visitors.”
Museums throughout the Capital Region are participating in Museum Week. Some of these museums are holding special programs or opening new exhibits, while others are hoping the increased publicity will draw new visitors. Officials say they hope to make people aware of the many great museums outside of New York City.
Eric Scheffel, a spokesman for “I Love New York,” said one of the goals of the week is to showcase the variety of museums throughout the state, “from the [Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City] to little museums upstate.” Even smaller museums have a positive economic impact on their communities, he said.
The Schenectady Museum is holding several special events, according to Chris Hunter, curator of collections and exhibitions.
The museum’s science discovery demonstration on Saturday, titled “Photos Under a Microscope,” will explore the history and science of photography. This event, which starts at 12:30 p.m., will be followed by a talk about photography from the Albany County Hall of Records at 1 p.m. On June 3, Hunter will deliver a lecture on the museum’s digitization project, which involves rebroadcasting more than 1,000 of General Electric films in its collection on YouTube.
On June 5, the Schenectady Museum will host a viewing of the planet Venus as it makes its transit across the sun; if the weather is good, telescopes will be set up outside and planetarium staff will provide commentary.
The last transit of Venus occurred in 2004 and won’t happen again until 2117.
Hunter said Museum Week events are designed to highlight the strengths of the Schenectady Museum’s collection. The week overall will show what museums have to offer and “show the value of museums as not only old-fashioned places where you look at things, but as places where you look forward, and use technology to preserve collections.”
One lesser-known museum participating in New York State Museum Week is the Wildlife Sports & Educational Museum in Vail Mills, which promotes outdoor sports such as hunting, fishing and trapping and features full-size mounts of a wide variety of wildlife. It is home to the New York State Outdoorsmen Hall of Fame.
The wildlife museum opened almost six years ago and has expanded in recent years, according to Robert Kazmierski, president of the board of directors. The museum acquired a mounted moose over the winter and has continued to add new elements to its collection, which includes every bear native to North America, exotic birds and more than 100 mounted bucks.
“We might have to put an addition on,” Kazmierski said. “Our 14,000-square-foot building is getting filled up.” Even so, “a lot of people don’t know about us. There are people who drive by four or five times a week and never stop. We hope people will make the museum a destination.”
The Albany Institute of History and Art is opening an exhibition of artwork by Troy elementary school students in conjunction with the week on Tuesday, said Nycole Kinns, a spokeswoman. The students created accordion books as part of a program on the book arts. The book exhibition will run through June 3.
Other exhibits, such as an exhibit examining the impact of George Washington’s presidency on sculptors, artists and tradespeople, are ongoing.
“We hope it unites museums throughout New York and brings attention to them,” Kinns said. “A lot of people are surprised that we’re here. They don’t know that we’re a museum.”
The New York State Museum is hosting the 2012 Best of SUNY Student Art Exhibition in conjunction with Museum Week. The exhibit, which opens on June 2 and runs through Sept. 3, features artwork selected by a panel of jurors from the fall 2011 and spring 2012 student art exhibitions.
For a list of New York State Museum Week participants, visit www.iloveny.com.