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.

  • Three Sisters Diorama

    Archaeology

  • moth

    Biology

  • close up layers of rock

    Geology

  • Cultural History

    History

  • White basket

    Native American Ethnography

  • Cohoes Mastodon

    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

View of the exhibit, "Community and Continuity: Native American Art of New York" at the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art, SUNY New Paltz
Published November 9 | Ethnography

 “Community and Continuity: Native American Art of New York,” an exhibition at The Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art at SUNY New Paltz, featuring selections from the New York State Museum’s collections of contemporary...

OPS excavation crew, September 20, 2018
Published October 25 | Native American Archaeology

In September, NYSM archaeologists completed the 2018 excavations at the OPS Paleoindian site in Madison County, New York. The OPS site has yielded fluted points of the Crowfield "style," indicating an early Native American encampment dating to the late Ice Age, circa 12,000-11,600 years ago....

Detail of Suffern Rockshelter pot
Published October 25 | Native American Archaeology

From the 1930s through the early 1960s, avid avocational archaeologist Dr. James Vieth collected and conducted test excavations on Native American archaeological sites, most often in Rockland County, southeastern New York. His son, James Vieth Jr., accompanied his father on many of these field...

Dreaming of Wild Foods
Published April 6 | Ethnography

In FY 2016-2017, NYSM acquired eight stunning new artworks by artists previously not represented in the Contemporary Native American Art Collection (part of the Ethnology Collections). The selections, from artists with nascent and well-established careers include: Noel Chrisjohn Benson (Oneida...

“Ageswe’gaiyo” (oil on panel), with the women of the NYSM Anthropology Collections
Published March 8 | Ethnography

“Ageswe’gaiyo” (oil on panel), one of the 2016 purchases for the NYSM Contemporary Native American Art Collection arrived today at the museum, which is also International Women's Day 2017 (March 8). This exquisite painting features the artist, Luanne Redeye (Seneca), offering a glimpse of her...

rock collections
Published November 30 | Mineralogy

The Museum's mineralogy collection constitutes the world's largest and most complete array of New York State minerals. However, the collection also contains thousands of non-New York specimens, including minerals from Europe, Africa, Asia, and North and South America. 

A recent...

Native American Baskets
Published September 14 | Ethnography

The Museum recently acquired a collection of 19th and 20th century Mahican and Mohawk baskets. The baskets range in size and decoration, from miniature baskets to large gathering baskets, fancy baskets with curlicues, and baskets with stamped and dyed splints in indigo and yellow colors.

...

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 Archaeologist,...

Long island fish collection example
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.

...

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...

alyssafitzgerald
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...

beaked whale skeleton
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...

Man in collection area
Published January 14 | Historical Archaeology

Jordon Loucks is a Ph.D student at SUNY Albany and works at the Museum to conduct research for his doctoral program.

Jordon's research is focused on early 19th century immigrants in the Northeast United States, with a particular emphasis on Irish immigrants. "A typical day for me at the...

Marian Lupulescu in the mineral collection
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...

tree stump with roots fossil
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...

Jamborite detail
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...

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