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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

Man in collection area
Published January 14, 2016 | 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, 2016 | 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, 2015 | 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, 2015 | 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, 2015 | 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, 2015 | 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...

bird in hand
Published July 27, 2015 | 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...

gold coin 1859
Published June 26, 2015 | 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...

old petition
Published June 26, 2015 | 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...

brown baskets
Published June 26, 2015 | 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...

Hicks-Seaman Ceramics
Published June 26, 2015 | 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...

Frog lady costume mask
Published December 9, 2013 | 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...

Men talking about their memory
Published December 9, 2013 | 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...

Lake George
Published December 3, 2013 | Native American Archaeology

New York State Museum archaeologists have identified archaeological remains associated with a small Early Archaic camp dating to approximately 8,000 B.C. along the shore of Lake George in Warren County, New York. The site produced bifurcate and Genesee projectile points that would have been used...

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