Research and Collections

From its beginning in 1836, the New York State Museum has been home to some of the nation’s leading scientists, including pioneers in archaeology, paleontology, ethnology, and botany. Its collections now rank among the finest in many fields and total more than sixteen million specimens, objects, and artifacts.

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    Archaeology

  • Biology

  • Geology

  • Cultural History

    History

  • Native American Ethnography

  • Paleontology

Research at the New York State Museum today is as exciting as it is varied, with scientists and historians actively directing projects in biology, anthropology, geology, paleontology, and history. Research by staff represents one tangible way in which information about the natural and cultural histories of New York, and the world, is made available to the public. Research findings are presented in scholarly and popular publications, at professional meetings, in exhibitions, and in public programs.

Researchers throughout the world use the collections of the New York State Museum to address questions about New York's natural and human heritage. The Museum’s collections are made available to researchers and scholars and are also used in exhibitions and public programs. Participation in Museum collections curation and research projects is possible through internships and volunteer opportunities.

To explore the Museum’s Research and Collections Division, hover your mouse over the Research and Collections block at the top navigation bar. 

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...

Archaeology Open House 2016
Published July 6 | Archaeology

Archaeologists with the New York State Museum are working at Schuyler Flatts in Albany County to learn more about life along the Hudson River hundreds of years ago and how Europeans, Africans, and Native Americans left their marks in the form of artifacts and building foundations. On Saturday,...

University at Albany Presidential Award
Published May 11 | Archaeology

 

New York State Museum Archaeology staff recently received the University at Albany’s President’s Award for Exemplary Public Engagement in recognition of the joint Museum-University archaeological field school at the Pethick Site in Schohaire County, New York. New York State...

Published February 29 | Ichthyology

In 2014, the State Museum acquired Dr. Howard Reisman's (emeritus professor at Long Island University) personal collection of fish specimens. The collection has over 2,500 individual specimens, including a substantial number of samples from the marine waters surrounding Long Island.

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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...

Published January 14 | Ornithology

Alyssa FitzGerald is a Ph.D student at SUNY Albany and works at the Museum to conduct research for her doctoral program. Alyssa's research is focused on studying three closely-related species of thrushes. She wants to know why and how these birds, which look very similar to the untrained...

Published January 14 | Mammalogy

A 20-foot long Cuvier's Beaked Whale skeleton was acquired by the State Museum in 2014. Worldwide, there are less than 250 Cuvier's Beaked Whale specimens in collections. These whales, also known as goose-beaked whales, are known to be one of the deepest diving whales. One Cuvier's Beaked Whale...

Published January 14 | Mineralogy

From rocks to gems to minerals, there are thousands of specimens in the Museum's mineralogy collection. "Every mineral can tell you a story," says Dr. Marian Lupulescu, curator of geology at the State Museum.

Many New York pegmatite rock minerals (igneous rocks with large crystals) are...

Million Dollar Beach Site
Published December 9 | CRSP

One of the first things archaeologists seek to understand when they are investigating a site is the stratigraphy. This entails both documentary research and ground-truthing through test excavations like shovel test pits (STPs) or small excavation units. At its most basic, stratigraphy is...

Million Dollar Beach Site
Published December 9 | CRSP

The Million Dollar Beach Site was identified in August of 2013 during a survey of the area around the DEC parking lot and campground prior to road improvements (see Photo 1). This survey proceeded directly into limited test excavations after the discovery of almost 2,000 prehistoric artifacts...

Published October 9 | Paleobotany

Did you know that fossils of the Earth's oldest trees are part of the State Museum's collections? In the late 19th century, scientists uncovered evidence of the world's oldest known forest in Gilboa, NY (Schoharie County). Since then, the Museum has collected a variety of specimens from the site...

Published August 11 | Mineralogy

Dissakisite-(Ce) - Ca(Ce,REE)(Mg,Fe2+)(Al,Fe3+)2Si3O12(OH) - the magnesium analogue of the more common allanite (Ce), was found in a specimen from the Henry Rudy Farm, in Orange County. It occurs as millimeter-size pink crystals...

Published July 27 | Ornithology

Two papers have been published describing ornithological research by NYSM scientists. The papers are based on Ph.D. dissertation work conducted by Dr. Joel Ralston, former University at Albany graduate student, and NYSM Graduate Fellow under the supervision of NYSM Curator of Birds, Dr. Jeremy...

Published June 26 | CRSP

Since 2012, archaeologists from the State Museum have been working alongside a highway construction project in Utica, uncovering artifacts from the early 19th century.

Why? The archaeologists are members of the Cultural Resources Survey Program (CRSP)at the State Museum. CRSP helps...

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...

Published June 26 | Ethnography

The Museum recently acquired a unique collection of 20th century Abenaki Native American materials. The collection was donated by Rodney Johnson of Rochester, NY. Rodney wanted to find a permanent home for the collection that had been handed down through four generations of his family - he chose...

Published June 26 | Historical Archaeology

The State Museum recently acquired an archaeological collection from the former Institute for Long Island Archaeology at Stony Brook University. This collection consists of artifacts from 47 significant archaeological sites, including both prehistoric Native American and historic Euro-American...

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...

Published December 9 | Archaeology

When former Research and Collections Assistant Director and Curator of Ichthyology Dr. Robert Daniels retired in late 2012, he took with him over 30 years of specialist knowledge of the Museum’s fish collection, as well as key information about the Museum’s history and administrative activities...

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