Sitting majestically atop Albany’s State Street hill, the New York State Capitol has served as the seat of government for New York since the 1880s. The building is a marvel of late 19th-century architectural grandeur, built by hand of solid masonry over a period of 32 years. All tours of the New York State Capitol last up to one hour and are free of charge.
Security: Visitors to the Capitol are required to pass through metal detectors and have bags scanned through an x-ray machine. Personal belongings such as backpacks and large bags should be left behind. Sharp objects, such as pocket knives, nail clippers, weapons, and nuisance devices such as whistles and noise makers are not allowed into the building.
The Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller Empire State Plaza is at the center of one of the most spectacular capitals in the world: a 98 ½-acre city-within-a-city that includes one of the greatest public collections of modern art in the country, a cultural education center, and a unique performing arts center, The Egg. On this tour, discover this world-class complex. Learn how government and culture are housed within the Modern architecture of the Empire State Plaza, including the Plaza's memorials, visit inside The Egg, and receive an overview of the Plaza Art Collection.
Art historians have called the Empire State Plaza Art Collection "the greatest collection of modern American art in any single public site that is not a museum." The Collection was formed under the direction of Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller during construction of the Empire State Plaza (1966–1978). Ninety-two works of Abstract Expressionist art are on permanent display throughout the Plaza.
The Plaza Art Collection is a public collection owned by the people of New York State and cared for by the New York State Office of General Services.
Tours of the Plaza Art Collection are offered by appointment, Monday - Friday, between 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.
To schedule a tour, call the Empire State Plaza Vistor Center at (518) 474-2418.
Everyone is welcome to learn more about Abstract Expressionism and discover new ways of looking at art. Tours will invite participants to engage with the collection and learn the history of featured artists. Every tour will focus on a different selection of artworks and on various themes including: sculptures in nature, women artists in the collection, art you can touch, creating the collection, artists who are World War II veterans, and art as propaganda in the Cold War. Weather permitting, tours will look at pieces located outdoors on the Plaza; if there is rain, tours will take place inside on the concourse.
Visitors are invited to combine their Saturday Capitol tour with a tour of the New York State Education Building. Visitors must reserve separately for each tour. See below for dates, times and registrations.
The Education Building of the State of New York was completed in 1912 and was the first major governmental building constructed exclusively for educational purposes. The tour begins with a look at the architectural elements of the building. Inside, it includes stops at The Liberty Bell, the Rotunda, the mural paintings, the Regents Room, and concludes with a viewing of the monumental artwork “The Genius of America” in Chancellor’s Hall. (45 minutes)
The New York State Executive Mansion is located on Eagle Street in downtown Albany. Since 1875, this house has been home to New York's governors and their families. It is a house that is eclectic in style, filled with history and rich with tradition. It remains a fitting symbol of the variety and greatness of the Empire State.
General Tour: The general tour takes the visitor on a journey through the Mansion, examining its roles as both an official residence and a private home to New York's governors and their families. Tour discussion focuses on past and present New York State governors, architectural history, furnishings and artwork, and the Mansion's present existence as a LEED-certified building.
Student Tour: The student tour focuses on four key periods in the Mansion's history: the Victorian era, 1920s to the mid-1930s, 1960s to the present, and the 21st Century. Through the use of artifacts, furnishings and art, students will explore the Executive Mansion's significance to the culture and history of New York State. The tour culminates with a discussion about the Executive Mansion in the 21st century, including the importance of sustainable living and the Mansion’s LEED-Gold certification.
Pre-Visit Resource Kit For Teachers: Teachers who plan to bring their classes to the Executive Mansion are encouraged to download and use the Mansion Tour Program Resource Kit. The kit provides information and activities designed to enhance the tour experience for the students.