The ACHA began collecting historical artifacts and art related to Albany County when first formed in 1942.
The largest artifact in the ACHA’s collection is the Ten Broeck Mansion itself. The Federal-style home was built in 1798 for Brigadier General Abraham Ten Broeck and his wife, Elizabeth Van Rensselaer Ten Broeck. Named “Prospect,” the mansion, attributed to noted architect Philip Hooker, was sited to have optimal views of the Hudson River. In c. 1835, the Mansion acquired its extensive examples of Greek Revival architecture, including a barrel-vaulted central ceiling and grand staircase to a “viewing deck” on the roof overlooking the Hudson River. In 1848, it was purchased by Thomas Worth Olcott, a noted banker and investor in African-American businesses, remaining in the Olcott family for 100 years.
The Mansion features Ten Broeck and Olcott family furnishings, including fine portraits of the Ten Broecks by noted painter Ammi Phillips (1788-1865). The collections include fine early American silver, furnishings by noted Albany cabinetmaker John Meads (1777-1859), and an international collection of ceramics. The Mansion’s wine cellar is rare and unique. Constructed in by Thomas Worth Olcott and stocked with rare imported wines, the wine cellar was bricked up in 1919 months before Prohibition took effect and left untouched until it was rediscovered in the mid 20th century.
Additional collections include artifacts related to Albany County history: textiles, documents, books, drawings, portraits, furniture, and photographs. The ACHA’s collections include archaeological evidence of enslaved persons collected in digs by the NYS Museum (Albany NY), which are currently housed at the NYS Museum.
The ACHA is actively seeking collections which relate to the history of the Ten Broeck Mansion and gardens and the history of Albany County.
Priority areas for collecting include:
- artifacts and documents related to Abraham Ten Broeck (1763-1810) and Elizabeth Van Rensselaer (1763-1813)
- artifacts and documents related to Thomas Worth Olcott (1795-1880)
- artifacts, documents, and images (photographs, drawings, paintings) related to African Americans in Albany County
- artifacts, documents, and images (photographs, drawings, paintings) related to immigrants in Albany County
- artifacts, documents, and images (photographs, drawings, paintings) related to individuals who worked as servants in Albany County
The ACHA is also seeking specific items to help complete its exhibits in the Ten Broeck Mansion:
- glassware (particularly stemware, pitchers, and decanters) c. 1850-1880 (does not need to be a complete set, connection to Albany County preferred)
Potential items for the ACHA’s museum collections are reviewed by the ACHA’s Collections Committee. Please contact the ACHA’s Executive Director for more information.
Please note as an nonprofit museum, the ACHA is unable to offer appraisals or valuations of potential donations or artifacts.