For much of 2009, Albany has celebrated the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson's exploration of his namesake river. As the year draws to a close, I'd like to recommend two excellent exhibits at the area's leading museums.
Ongoing through next March is the New York State Museum's 1609, an exhibit showcasing a number of rare artifacts including an 18th-century Dutch cannon, handwritten documents, Native American displays, antique furniture, and everyday objects from the region's early history. The Museum's site provides a virtual tour of the exhibit, but it is well worth seeing in person.
Not far away, the Albany Institute of History & Art is hosting the Hudson River Panorama, an extensive exhibit of art and historic objects - from paintings and sculptures by 19th century artists to cast iron stoves - highlighting four centuries of life in the Hudson Valley. This museum has long been one of my favorite places and this exhibit has been one of the best I've seen in recent years. The Panorama ends just after New Year's so you only have a few more weeks to see it.