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Rensselaer County Historical Society gets new name, new vision



TROY – The Rensselaer County Historical Society has re-branded itself, with the 92-year-old non-profit changing its name in order to seize on increasing interest in its collections.

The organization will now be known as Historic Rensselaer County at the Hart Cluett Museum.

In the last five years, attendance at the museum complex of three buildings at 57 Second St. has risen 33 percent from 7,500 to 10,000, said Karin Krasevac-Lenz, executive director of the museum and society.

The museum announced its rebranding at its annual gala Thursday night. New signs went up Friday morning at the downtown museum.

“The board has been talking about this for the last 20 years or more. The discussions picked up three years ago in preparation for the 90th anniversary,” Krasevac-Lenz said.

The historical society wanted to shed its dusty image and speak to new residents in the county and those who are joining its membership ranks, while maintaining its ties to the past. Sara Tack, who teaches design at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, designed the society's new logo and sign pro bono. Marketing research was donated by a regional firm anonymously.

“It reaches not only people who are new to the county, but also speaks to people who are long-time residents of the county who haven’t visited the museum on Second Street,” Krasevac-Lenz said.

The new identity comes as the museum also works with a Smithsonian Institution pilot program.  The national "How We Work" exhibit is tailored to highlight how local history fits into the American story and will be shown at 10 small museums around the country. Part of the Museum on Main Street program, it is the first time that collections normally found on the Mall in Washington D.C, where the Smithsonian museums are based, will be exhibited in communities that are smaller.

The Hart Cluett Museum wasn’t the only historic piece of Capital Region getting a new look.

Across the Hudson River in Cohoes, Acting Mayor Chris Briggs opened the revamped Cohoes Visitor Center in the first floor of the historic Cohoes Music Hall at the north end of Remsen Street. The city received $127,000 in grants to upgrade its exhibits to tell the city’s history and its links to the Erie Canal.

Acting Cohoes Mayor Christ Briggs speaks at the reopening of the Cohoes Visitors Center at the north end of Remsen Street in the Cohoes Music Hall building Cohes, New York.

TROY – The Rensselaer County Historical Society has re-branded itself, with the 92-year-old non-profit changing its name in order to seize on increasing interest in its collections.

The organization will now be known as Historic Rensselaer County at the Hart Cluett Museum.

In the last five years, attendance at the museum complex of three buildings at 57 Second St. has risen 33 percent from 7,500 to 10,000, said Karin Krasevac-Lenz, executive director of the museum and society.

The museum announced its rebranding at its annual gala Thursday night. New signs went up Friday morning at the downtown museum.

“The board has been talking about this for the last 20 years or more. The discussions picked up three years ago in preparation for the 90th anniversary,” Krasevac-Lenz said.

The historical society wanted to shed its dusty image and speak to new residents in the county and those who are joining its membership ranks, while maintaining its ties to the past. Sara Tack, who teaches design at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, designed the society's new logo and sign pro bono. Marketing research was donated by a regional firm anonymously.

“It reaches not only people who are new to the county, but also speaks to people who are long-time residents of the county who haven’t visited the museum on Second Street,” Krasevac-Lenz said.

The new identity comes as the museum also works with a Smithsonian Institution pilot program.  The national "How We Work" exhibit is tailored to highlight how local history fits into the American story and will be shown at 10 small museums around the country. Part of the Museum on Main Street program, it is the first time that collections normally found on the Mall in Washington D.C, where the Smithsonian museums are based, will be exhibited in communities that are smaller.

The Hart Cluett Museum wasn’t the only historic piece of Capital Region getting a new look.

Across the Hudson River in Cohoes, Acting Mayor Chris Briggs opened the revamped Cohoes Visitor Center in the first floor of the historic Cohoes Music Hall at the north end of Remsen Street. The city received $127,000 in grants to upgrade its exhibits to tell the city’s history and its links to the Erie Canal.

The long-awaited renovations to the Cohoes Visitors Center will provide an entirely unique and high quality experience, showcasing the city’s most recognized historical attribute, the Erie Canal,” Briggs said.

The New York State Canal Corporation provided $62,000, with a $65,000 grant provided from the New York State Council for the Arts and the state’s Regional Economic Development Council awards.

“The legacy of Cohoes and the heritage of the Erie Canal are forever intertwined,” said Brian U. Stratton, New York State Canal Corporation director. “This is the place where the Erie Canal’s designers overcame some of their most formidable challenges and enable the Canal to transform New York and this nation into a dominating center of commerce and trade.”

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