Trustee

Summer 2012

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News from the State Librarian

From the Desk of Jeffrey W. Cannell, Deputy Commissioner for Cultural Education and Acting State Librarian

Summer 2012 issue of Trustee

The State Library Contributes to Capitol Exhibits

The New York State Capitol Building currently houses many documents and artifacts crucial to the development of the state.  The New York State Library, along with the state Museum and Archives, provided many of the materials now on display in the historic building that highlight the rich history of New York.  With the recent reopening of the Hall of Governors, the State Capitol is becoming increasingly accessible to the general public and, as a result, individuals visiting Albany are able to explore past events that helped shape New York State.

Governor Andrew Cuomo's first order of business as New York State Governor was to reopen the Hall of Governors in the State Capitol building.  Official portraits of almost all 56 governors of New York State line the walls, and the New York State Library contributed many of the documents on display.  A bill on the sale of slaves from 1762, Grover Cleveland's Resignation Notice from January 6, 1885, the certificate of appointment of George Moore Smith, and the Greater New York City Charter from 1897 are just some of the many items on display that the State Library provided, allowing the Hall of Governors to create a detailed and accurate representation of the history of New York.

The State Library also contributed towards the New York State Judiciary - Blue Room which, after a long history of use by all three branches of government, is currently used by Governors for press conferences, cabinet meetings and public functions.  The State Library provided items such as a receipt for expenses from Robert R. Livingston as a delegate to examine the boundary dispute between New York and Massachusetts from 1784, as well as a first edition copy of Commentaries on American Law, written by Chief Justice of the New York Supreme court and Chancellor of the Court of Appeals, James Kent, from 1826.

Special exhibits are also offered at the State Capitol, such as the recent Black History Month exhibit in the War Room.  Currently, the New York State: Birthplace of Memorial Day exhibit features various documents and artifacts that depict the history of Memorial Day in New York.  The State Library provided several items for this exhibit, including original sheet music for patriotic songs, a poster advertising Declaration Day (which would later be called Memorial Day), and an Editorial Cartoon published in the Albany Times Union in 1963.

Walk-in tours of the Capitol building are offered free of charge Monday through Friday.  Visitors are also able to download a self-guided audio tour, and resources are offered to teachers bringing their students to learn about the history of their home state.  Special programs are also made available, such as a new tour, 1861: Banners for Glory - A Civil War Tour of the New York State Capitol.  For information on arranging a tour, call the Plaza Visitor Center at (518) 474-2418.

The Capitol's website provides online exhibits, such as the State Museum's focus on the 1911 Capitol building fire.  In addition, more information on each historic room and exhibit open to the public in the State Capitol building can be found online.  For example, an exhibit titled From Seneca Falls to the Supreme Court: New York's Women Leading the Way, highlights a wide range of 36 noteworthy New York women, from Susan B. Anthony to Lucille Ball.  The exhibit features many historic artifacts, including a poster provided by the State Library that portrays an angry Rosie the Riveter.  Images of these artifacts can be viewed online, and each woman featured in the exhibit is described.

To learn more about State Capitol exhibits, visit http://www.hallofgovernors.ny.gov/, or schedule your tour today!  To learn more about the New York State Library and its many treasures, visit:
http://www.nysl.nysed.gov/.

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