FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
New York State Museum Celebrates Reopening of Iconic Carousel
The New York State Museum’s beloved antique carousel reopened to the public today after extensive repairs and upgrades, State Education Commissioner Betty A. Rosa announced. Dozens of local elementary school students and their teachers joined Commissioner Rosa to celebrate* the carousel’s restoration and were treated to a reading of “Carousel” by Pat Cummings and an ice cream party courtesy of Stewart’s Shops. The entire carousel was disassembled, new parts fabricated, and meticulous repairs made by some of the few remaining specialized craftsmen in the country, and then reassembled over the past three years. The carousel, accommodating up to 50 riders at a time, will be open to the public Tuesday through Sunday, between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Board of Regents Chancellor Lester W. Young, Jr. said, “New Yorkers can once again experience the joy of carousel rides just in time for summer. We are thrilled that children and families can now experience this piece of our history in the way it was meant to be – repaired and refurbished to its original glory – and ready to make lasting memories for years to come.”
State Education Commissioner Betty A. Rosa said, “The State Museum Carousel is truly a work of art. Members of the Museum staff have worked diligently alongside craftsmen with highly specialized skills to painstakingly bring the more than 100-year-old carousel back to life for our visitors. It is gratifying that this labor of love is complete, and I encourage everyone to experience first-hand the nostalgic magic of this treasured artifact.”
Deputy Commissioner of Cultural Education and the Director of the New York State Museum Mark Schaming said, “The reopening of the carousel at the New York State Museum is the perfect addition to summer plans for New Yorkers and tourists alike. This treasured piece of history holds immense cultural significance and will provide a joyful experience for visitors of all ages. We invite everyone to come and experience this iconic carousel and everything that this Museum has to offer.”
Museum staff searched far and wide to find the skilled craftsmen to work with the carousel’s wooden animals and antique machinery, discovering that only a handful of experts remain in the nation who can conduct such restoration work. Some of this labor included adding center pole bearings, new hardware, installation of 758 energy-efficient LED bulbs, and other routine maintenance to return the carousel to its original allure.
Some of the work completed by Museum personnel included: research and development for plastics and engineering of new components; machining a new thrust washer for the center bearing; adding new safety cables, and hardware throughout the carousel; lighting, carpet, paint, sound system, and custom moldings to repair damaged benches; and rebuilding and repairing of the constant oiler, among many other efforts. A timelapse video of these repairs in process may be found on the New York State Museum Carousel website.
About the NYS Museum Carousel
As one of the Museum’s most popular attractions, the carousel hosts thousands of riders each year. Located on the fourth floor of the Museum, the treasured full-size, 48-foot diameter carousel boasts 36 horses, two donkeys, two deer, two chariots, and a spinning tub. The animals featured on the NYS Museum carousel were carved around 1895 by Charles Dare of Brooklyn, a German immigrant and toymaker, and the carousel was built by the renowned Herschell-Spillman Company of North Tonawanda, New York between 1912 and 1916. This historic artifact is a treasured part of the New York State Museum’s Collection. Much more information may be found on the Museum’s carousel website.
Happening at the Museum
The carousel’s reopening is the latest of several exciting happenings at the NYS Museum. The historic A-train has been repaired and recently reopened. The 1940s subway car, a perennial favorite for families, is on exhibit in New York Metropolis Hall, near the Sesame Street feature.
Discovery Place, an interactive space that encourages hands-on learning while young visitors explore different stations, is now also welcoming back visitors. It features computer exhibits and real fossil and crystal specimens from the Museum’s collections that children of all ages can enjoy.
Times Union readers once again named the NYS Museum the Best Museum for 2023 in the newspaper's annual “Best Of” survey. According to the Times Union, the NYS Museum received more mentions than the next four venues combined.
The State Museum is a program of the New York State Education Department’s Office of Cultural Education. Located at 222 Madison Avenue in Albany, the Museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. It is closed on the Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day. Admission is free. Further information about current exhibitions, educational opportunities and other programming can be obtained by calling (518) 474-5877 or by visiting the Museum’s website.
*Photos of today’s event are available upon request.
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