I have lived in the capital area for about two years now, and it is weird that I am still randomly encountering things that trigger memories of my grandmother. Yes, I am going to start this post out by talking about my grandmother, if you are here to laugh at Veronica you can just skip down to the next picture and skip the most of sappy stuff.
When I was younger, and my parents were eager to get rid of Matt and I, and we would be dumped on our Grandmother’s doorstep without much forewarning she would normally take us to the museum in downtown Albany. When I was younger I was positive that this was because she was awesome and wanted us to learn about cool things while looking at really old stuff. As an adult I know that she probably did that because it is free to get in, open most days, and an attempt is made to air condition it in the summer. Also it would entertain the two of us for a couple of hours and all she had to do was follow us around slowly, I have noticed as an grown-up type that there are plenty of benches—which I seem to remember her using a lot.
One of the things that I do remember very well (besides the bird exhibit in the dead middle of everything that Veronica and I discovered we both have the same childhood memory of hating), is the Adirondack section. I am pretty sure that part of the reason that I recall this is because most of the time the places that they talked about in the displays that were considered crazy and wilderness like were about an hour south of where I lived. The other part, I am sure, had to be with me viewing the entire section like New York’s attempt to claim a lame wild west. Wow fishing, hunting, and stupid stuff with trees?!? That sounds less like people trying to make a living while roughing it and more like a really good afternoon for my father.
It should be pointed out that one of the reasons that I had a hard time, at moments, walking through the place was because 60-70% of it has not changed in the last 20 years. It is like going back to my parents’ house and staring at the same wall that used to be behind my TV, after about 10 minutes I can remember stupid crap that I hadn’t thought about in years. Granted this was more memories of my brother and I fighting in public and my Grandmother snapping, “Stop it!” at us, but at times it was a little hard.
All that said, there is also a display of the history of Albany that seems to mainly be from research done in the 70’s. I am pretty sure that display was put together three weeks after the dig was completed and hasn’t been moved since. Granted, reading about how people got drunk back around the revolution is entirely more interesting now because I can totally relate to them—it still make you wonder how long this museum cannot change its displays before it ends up in a museum of some kind itself.
Some of the stuff that was new was pretty impressive, even though some of the old displays could probably be a historic find in their own right at this point. I am sure that Veronica will fill in the person’s name, but there was an entire collection of work on the Adirondacks that some guy took in the late 1890’s. As mentioned before, most of the photos were from south of my parents’ house and still, at the time, considered to be some kind of wild frontier. Although every so often you would get an image that simply said something like, “Wilmington and Whiteface Mountain”, and it would be way more interesting—mainly because that involves me in some way.
Go ahead and say what you want about history, the entire process becomes so much more interesting when it involves you directly some way. For example there was also a display of great art that has been done by students throughout the SUNY system. While walking through it there was little doubt that some people really have an eye for painting for pottery or whatever new kind of art these kids are doing now? None of it was really impressive because there are talented people everywhere, but the moment that there was even a single good piece from SUNY Potsdam I got excited.
The same exact thing happened while I was walking through the pictures of Veronica’s Park. Sure, I know some of these town names off hand, some of those towns are now places friends of mine live. The moment that a single place that I have lived shows up I get excited. Sadly the one thing that had my interest the most was the map from the late 1800’s. I was simply so excited to point out where my parents live that I lost focus the same way that Veronica does in the afternoon.