Partners for Albany Stories (PASt) is offering “Pull Up a Chair: Hidden Stories of Albany’s Famous Seats” as a special collaborative program during the month of October. This initiative adds a fun local twist to the national traveling exhibition, The Art of Seating: 200 Years of America Design, featured at the Albany Institute of History & Art (AIHA) October 1 – December 31, 2016.
Chairs will be in the spotlight at nine PASt sites—a group of historical, cultural, and preservation organizations in and around Albany—to help tell intriguing stories about the people who used them and their times. These everyday objects, whether utilitarian, elegant, or innovative, provide an inside view of lives ranging from Dutch settlers and Founding Fathers to Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Some chairs represent the seats of action for social justice and religious freedom.
During October at any of the nine sites, visitors can pick up a “PAStport to History” offering a 20% discount on adult admissions as an incentive to see featured chairs at one or more PASt organizations. (Some sites do not charge admission). Visitors who get their PAStport stamped at three sites will qualify to participate in a free drawing on November 4th. Prizes include a beautifully crafted reproduction Shaker chair and a basket of memberships and select items from PASt gift shops.
Special programs and tours will also be offered. In the Hot Seat—a free and enlightening PASt event hosted at the AIHA on October 13 at 6:30pm —will take visitors on a virtual “grand tour” of featured chairs and their stories. From October 1 through December 17, Historic Cherry Hill will offer a special tour, Historic CHAIRy Hill: a tour of the Van Rensselaer Seat(s), which tells the story of the Van Rensselaer household through a wild assortment of chairs representing a motley array of people, stories, designs, and functions. The tour will be offered Wednesdays and Saturdays at 1, 2, and 3 pm with the exception of October 29th. The New York State Capitol will offer a special tour, The Man in the Chair: Franklin Delano Roosevelt (October 6 at 1pm and 5:30pm), and the Empire State Plaza will offer a tour entitled Isamu Noguchi, Artist and Designer (November 2 at 12pm). The Shaker Heritage Society is offering a presentation Peculiar Grace: The Shakers and Their Chairs at the Albany Institute of History & Art (October 27 at 6pm). See details on these and information on other activities at www.albanyinstitute.org/art-of-seating.html.