Albany Institute of History and Art. The Albany Institute of History & Art is a museum in Albany, New York, United States, dedicated to collecting, preserving, interpreting and promoting interest in the history, art, and culture of Albany and the Upper Hudson Valley region.
   It is located on Washington Avenue in downtown Albany. Founded in 1791, it is among the oldest museums in the United States.
   Several other institutions have merged over time to become today's Albany Institute. The earliest were learned societies devoted to the natural sciences, and for a time it was the state legislature's informal advisory body on agriculture.
   Robert R. Livingston was the first president. Joseph Henry delivered his first paper on electromagnetism to the Institute.
   Its collections of animal, vegetable and mineral specimens from state surveys eventually became the foundations of the New York State Museum. Later in the century it became more focused on the humanities, and eventually merged with the Albany Historical and Art Society. It has had its present name since 1926. Over the course of the 20th century it has become more firmly established as a regional art museum. The institute's three-building complex includes the late 19th-century Rice Building, the only freestanding Beaux-Arts mansion in the city, designed by Richard Morris Hunt and donated to the institute by one of its former benefactors. Its main building is a 1920s C
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