The History Department at the New York State Museum cares for and interprets over 4 million artifacts, researches the state’s history, and disseminates this history through books, articles, exhibitions, public programs, and social media.  The History Department works with scholars, municipal historians, curators, archivists, librarians, and members of the public around the state to interpret the past and collect for the future. 

The New York State Museum History Collections are vast – from an 18th century colonial Dutch armchair to a Norden bombsite from WWII to a painting by Romare Bearden.  The artifacts in our collection tell the stories of the people of New York State.  To better manage these collections, they are divided into the categories of social history, political history, cultural history, and economic history.  

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Provides resources and news for historians throughout New York State

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News Articles

1947 Tavern Television
Published August 4 | Social History

The State Museum recently acquired a fully-restored 1947 Tavern Television made by the United States Television Manufacturing Corporation (USTMC). Made in New York City, this unit is believed to be one of only five known sets left in the United States and the only one that is in operating...

Liquor Chest
Published February 29 | Political History

A liquor chest used by soldiers in the American Revolution and the War of 1812 was recently donated to the New York State Museum. The chest was donated by the descendants of Captain Abraham Swartwout (an officer on General George Washington's staff during the American Revolution) and Brigadier...

old petition
Published June 26 | Social History

The Museum recently acquired a series of 1917 Franklin County women's suffrage petitions from Jean Kubaryk, a teacher at North Warren Central School District. Ms. Kubaryk had been displaying the petitions in her classroom for years, but decided to donate the petitions to the Museum so they can...

Frog lady costume mask
Published December 9 | Cultural History

The New York State Museum’s history collections contain two frog costumes for humans and one frog costume for a dog. These costumes belonged to Harry and Friede DeMarlo, a vaudeville couple that once played circuses and vaudeville houses all over the world, ultimately retiring to a farm in...

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