Photos: Albany's State Education Building opens for tours

ALBANY — The public was invited to get a rare glimpse inside the State Education Building, one of the state capital’s grandest buildings, on Saturday when the first in a series of new monthly tours was launched.

It’s the first time the building has been open for regular public tours since the State Museum and Library were moved from the Education Building to the Cultural Education Center in the 1970s.

“The Education Building was a modern marvel when it was built over 100 years ago and continues to amaze and delight today with its stunning architecture, art and history,” Board of Regents Chancellor Betty A. Rosa said when the new tour schedule was announced earlier this summer. “I encourage adults, families and students to register for a tour and learn about this grand, historic building.”

The Education Building, which celebrated its centennial in 2012, was designed by renowned New York City architect Henry Hornbostel, one of 63 architects to submit plans, and was constructed by the Rochester firm R. T. Ford and Company. Construction began in 1908 and the building was dedicated in 1912.

At the time, the cost to construct the building amounted to roughly $4 million and covered everything from the purchase of the land to building construction. The Education Building was the first major building constructed in the U.S. solely as a headquarters for the administration of education. In addition to State Education Department staff, the Education Building originally housed the State Library and State Museum — now located in the Cultural Education Center.

New York State Museum staff lead the tours, giving visitors a chance to see the historic Chancellors Hall, Regents Room and the Rotunda adorned with murals by Albany native Will H. Low.

The free tours — held on the second Saturday of every month and accommodating 25 people — take place at 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m., and run 45 minutes. (Tours of the state Capitol across Washington Avenue will be held the same days at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.)

Register for tours here.

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