Albany Institute’s Hudson River School collection goes virtual

In its latest move toward virtual art exhibits, the Albany Institute of History and Art has launched a 3D digital tour of its Hudson River School collection — highlighting 83 paintings by Frederic Church, Thomas Cole, Asher Durand and 32 other artists.

The technology showcases one of the museum’s most popular exhibits — also one of the largest and most significant Hudson River School collections anywhere — and will be used in the future with STEAM programming and further efforts to digitize AIHA’s exhibits, says a news release announcing its launch.

Featured  in the virtual Hudson River School survey are 16 works by founder Thomas Cole as well as two by his sister, Sarah. Others include George Herbert McCord’s 1887 study of Lake George and John Vanderlyn’s 1802-1803 paintings of Niagara Falls.

In a statement, AIHA executive director Tammis K. Groft said the museum will now “turn to brainstorming how to transform even more of our museum’s collections into a virtual experience.” Among the content already online at are virtual renderings of its  “Capital Region in 50 Objects” and Google Street Views into different galleries and corners of the building.

The project was sponsored by Tom Nardacci, who runs the Troy Innovation Garage and the Bull Moose Club coworking spaces.

“When my family canceled our April trip to Paris, I decided to take my children on a virtual tour through The Louvre and thought, why can’t we recreate this experience right here in the Capital Region?” said Nardacci, also in a statement.  “I engaged with Tammis and the team at the Albany Institute to brainstorm how to get this project off the ground while people are still at home and homeschooling their children.”