Digital Immersive Experiences

The Thomas Cole National Historic Site offers visitors digital immersive experiences throughout the authentic historic interiors of the artist’s home. Experiences include paintings that come to life, audio soundscapes, letters that appear on desks and 270-degree floor-to-ceiling projections. In award-winning installations, the Thomas Cole Site combines authentic historic spaces with hidden digital installations to bring to life the artist’s own writings and his iconic works of art.

The Parlors

The Parlors brings Thomas Cole’s voice back into the East and West Parlors of his historic home. In the East Parlor, learn about Cole’s artistic ambitions and concern for the environment as the paintings on the wall come to life. In the West Parlor, the business of art proves trickier. Discover private letters that appear on tables between Thomas and Maria Bartow, the women who married him and advised him on business negotiations, and Cole and his patrons.

Read Thomas Cole's Words Brought to Life in the East Parlor

Read Thomas Cole’s Private Letters Brought to Life in the West Parlor


How many people does it take to make a successful artist?


Can imaginary views tell the truth?


Can development be balanced with preservation?


What is a “landscape” painting?

House Studio

Immerse yourself in a mountain adventure. Thomas and Maria and their friends Mr. and Mrs. Asher B. Durand hiked Schroon Mountain in the Adirondacks and the experience inspired Thomas’s painting, View of Schroon Mountain, Essex County, New York, After a Storm, 1838. A mash-up of 270-degree projections of drone imagery of the mountain today and Thomas’s sketches are narrated by Cole’s description of the hike from his private journal. The experience ends with the finished painting projected on a canvas in this very room where Thomas painted it.

Read Thomas Cole's Words Brought to Life in the House Studio Read Maria Bartow Cole's Letter on the Hike to Schroon Mountain

Sitting Room

Discover mini soundscapes in the Sitting Room, a private second-floor room where Thomas and Maria and their extended family would gather. Approach Thomas Cole’s desk to hear his pencil scratching and his musings on art, including “Without art, man would scarce be human.” On the table by the empire sofa, browse historic headlines from local newspapers and hear Thomas’s concern for the new government of the United States in the years between the Revolutionary and Civil Wars.

Read Thomas Cole's Words Brought to Life in the Sitting Room

The Parlors installation were made possible by the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor, and also by the Institute of Museum and Library Services MA-10-15-0116-15. Support provided by Empire State Development’s I LOVE NEW YORK program under the Market NY initiative. Additional support provided by Herzog’s of Kingston, Geoff Howell Studio and the Hudson River Valley Greenway, Eli Wilner & Company. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this exhibition do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Support for programs at the Thomas Cole National Historic Site is provided by the New York State Council on the Arts.

The Sitting Room and Side Studio were made possible by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Henry Luce Foundation.

Installation views by Peter Aaron/OTTO, Projection view by Tasha Hurley

Jennifer GreimDigital Immersive Experiences