The New York State Museum is a research-backed institution in Albany, New York, United States.
It is located on Madison Avenue, attached to the south side of the Empire State Plaza, facing onto the plaza and towards the New York State Capitol. The museum houses art, artifacts (prehistoric and historic), and ecofacts that reflect New York’s cultural, natural, and geological development. Operated by the New York State Education Department’s Office of Cultural Education, it is the nation’s oldest and largest state museum. Formerly located in the State Education Building, the museum now occupies the first four floors of the Cultural Education Center, a ten-story, 1,500,000-square-foot (140,000 m2) building that also houses the New York State Archives and New York State Library.
As a research institution, the New York State Museum houses several programs, centers, and initiatives that further the geological, biological, archaeological and historical understanding of areas within and outside of New York State. The following is a list of several of these programs.
- The Biodiversity Research Initiative (BRI)(defunct) – A partnership among conservation and environmental groups in New York State, the Biodiversity Research Initiative seeks to advance information and research for the conservation of New York State’s biodiversity by funding research projects, sponsoring conferences and seminar series, and directing other initiatives. BRI hosts a biennial scientific conference at the New York State Museum. Partner groups include the American Museum of Natural History, Audubon New York, the New York Natural Heritage Program, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation, the State Education Department, the State University of New York, and The Nature Conservancy.
- The Center for Stratigraphy and Paleontology (CSP) – In addition to conducting basic research on the stratigraphy and fossil history of the State and adjoining regions, and disseminating subsurface geological data to the public, the CSP also works to conserve and make accessible the extensive subsurface and fossil collections of the New York State Museum.
- Cultural Resource Survey Program (CRSP) – A cultural resources management (CRM) program that conducts historical and archaeological research for the State of New York. The program’s work assists other State agencies, such as the New York State Department of Transportation (DOT), the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), and the Office of General Services (OGS), in meeting and adhering to their state and federal preservation mandates. This specifically refers to Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, a federal law enacted in 1966 to preserve the cultural and historic resources in the United States. In doing so, CRSP works closely with New York State’s Historic Preservation Officer and the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.
- The Laboratory for Conservation and Evolutionary Genetics (LCEG) – The LCEG is a molecular phylogenetics laboratory designed for use by researchers studying animal and plant evolution. The facility provides technology that allows Museum researchers to analyze genetic variability among organisms by DNA nucleotide sequencing. The laboratory also houses the Museum’s Genome Bank, a frozen tissue collection that complements the traditional dried-specimen collections by preserving plant and animal DNA for future study.
- The Wildlife Science and Conservation Initiative – This program works to address the impact, both broad and fine, that human disturbances and habitat fragmentation have had on the behavior, ecology, and evolution of carnivores. While their work has primarily focused on carnivores in New York State, the Initiative has also worked to develop an automated telemetry system in Panama and investigates behavioral changes among male lions in Tsavo, Kenya.