Current Exhibitions & Events

Guided Tours

Seasonal Hours 

Join a seasonal guided tour with a friendly Cole Site Educator to explore the 1815 Main House where Thomas Cole lived and worked. The experience features the multimedia installation The Parlors and the exhibition Thomas Cole’s Creative Process, which includes original works by the artist.


The Parlors

Open on select days

Visit The Parlors, an immersive experience in the first floor of the Main House where historic restoration meets multimedia technology.The carefully researched restoration has transformed the first floor of Cole’s home to his original design, as visitors in his day would have experienced it and features recently discovered hand-painted decorative borders by Thomas Cole himself which represent the earliest-known interior decorative painting by an American artist. Photo © Peter Aaron/OTTO

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Mind Upon Nature: Thomas Cole’s Creative Process

Open on select days 

Explore Thomas Cole’s working process and ideas through an array of original sketches and paintings made by Cole, alongside the books and objects that inspired him. Discover the pigments and materials he used to realize his influential paintings. This special exhibition is located upstairs in the Main House and is comprised of original objects, ninety percent of which are from the Cole Site collection.


Painting: Diagram of Kontrasts, 1834, Thomas Cole. Courtesy of Collection Richard Sharp.

“Essay on American Scenery” contest

Deadline: Saturday, Feb 24, 2018

Winners Announced: Monday, March 26, 2018

Submit your writing today for publication by the Thomas Cole National Historic Site. The contest will be judged by a panel of leading Thomas Cole scholars and curators, and land conservation experts. In 1836, Thomas Cole wrote Essay on American Scenery, reflecting on the beauty of the American landscape and decrying its disappearance at the hands of industrialization. We invite you to respond to the question,“How is the American landscape changing today?”

Drawing: Frederic Edwin Church (1826–1900), Portrait of Thomas Cole, c. 1845, pencil on paper, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., John Wilmerding Collection

Guidelines Read Cole's Essay

Sunday Salon: Frederic Church in Thomas Cole’s Catskills

Jennifer Raab, Ph.D.

Sun, Mar 4, 2018 @ 2pm 

Jennifer Raab, Ph.D. is Associate Professor in the History of Art at Yale University. The lecture will be held in Thomas Cole’s New Studio in Catskill, NY. The series is sponsored by David & Laura Grey and James & Dianne Lewis.

Information & Tickets

Top of the Met

Honorary Co-Chairs Stephen Hannock & Sting

Honorees Elizabeth Kornhauser & Tim Barringer

Fri, Mar 9, 2018 

Join us in NYC for cocktails at the Metropolitan Museum of Art followed by a seated dinner in a private room at the top of the Met. We look forward to toasting our outstanding colleagues at the Met and at Yale on this unforgettable evening with you.

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Sunday Salon: Idyllic and Industrial Visions: Thomas Cole, William Guy Wall, and the Hudson River

Sophie Lynford

Sun, Apr 8, 2018 @ 2pm 

Sophie Lynford is a Ph.D. candidate in the History of Art at Yale University. The lecture will be held in Thomas Cole’s New Studio in Catskill, NY. The series is sponsored by David & Laura Grey and James & Diane Lewis.

Information & Tickets

Members’ Preview

Fri, Apr 27 & Sat, Apr 28, 2018

11 am – 2 pm 

Members are invited to preview the special exhibition Picturesque and Sublime in Thomas Cole’s New Studio during these special preview hours, before it opens to the public. The exhibition is presented in partnership with the Yale Center for British Art and will be on view from May 1 through November 4.


Opening Reception

Sat, Apr 28, 2018

4 – 6 pm 

Join us in Catskill to toast the opening of the 2018 special exhibition Picturesque and Sublime: Thomas Cole’s Trans-Atlantic Inheritance, presented in partnership with the Yale Center for British Art and members of the Yale University Art History Department.


Picturesque and Sublime: Thomas Cole’s Trans-Atlantic Inheritance

May 1 – Nov 4, 2018 

Picturesque and Sublime: Thomas Cole’s Trans-Atlantic Inheritance is presented in Thomas Cole’s New Studio, in partnership with the Yale Center for British Art and members of the Yale University History of Art Department. Explore how Cole transformed the well-developed British traditions of landscape representation into a new, bold formulation, the American Sublime.

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Curator’s Talk

Tim Barringer, Paul Mellon Professor, History of Art at Yale University

Sun, May 13, 2018

2 pm 

Dr. Barringer is co-curator of the exhibition Picturesque and Sublime opening at the Thomas Cole Site on May 1, 2018, as well as co-curator of Thomas Cole’s Journey: Atlantic Crossings at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2018. The lecture will be held at Temple Israel, 220 Spring Street in Catskill, NY, adjacent to the historic site.


Past Exhibitions & Events

Sunday Salon: In the Footsteps of Thomas Cole

Shannon Vittoria, Ph.D.

Sun, Feb 4, 2018 @ 2pm 

Shannon Vittoria, Ph.D., Research Associate, American Wing, The Metropolitan Museum of Art is working on the major exhibition Thomas Cole’s Journey: Atlantic Crossings opening at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on January 30, 2018. The lecture will be held in Thomas Cole’s New Studio in Catskill, NY. The series is sponsored by David & Laura Grey and James & Diane Lewis.

Information & Tickets

Sunday Salon: Thomas Cole: On Paper

Nicholas Robbins

Sun, Jan 7, 2018 @ 2pm 

Nicholas Robbins is a Ph.D. candidate in the History of Art at Yale University.The lecture will be held in Thomas Cole’s New Studio in Catskill, NY. The series is sponsored by David & Laura Grey and James & Diane Lewis.

Information and Tickets

A Holiday Gathering

Sat, Dec 9 

You are cordially invited to a Holiday Gathering in Thomas Cole’s New Studio on Saturday, December 9. Festive libations will be served from 5 to 7 pm in Thomas Cole’s New Studio with dinner to follow at the homes of convivial neighbors. Seating for dinners is extremely limited. Please RSVP by December 1st.


KIKI SMITH / From the Creek

Aug 12 – Nov 19, 2017

The second annual exhibition in the series OPEN HOUSE: Contemporary Art in Conversation with Cole featuring a site specific installation by the internationally acclaimed contemporary artist Kiki Smith. Operating from the concept that all art is contemporary, the OPEN HOUSE series activates conversations between artists and ideas across the centuries.
Photo © Peter Aaron/OTTO
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Sanford R. Gifford in the Catskills

Apr 30 – Oct 29, 2017 

The 2017 exhibition presented in Thomas Cole’s New Studio gallery explores the work of the Hudson River School artist, Sanford R. Gifford. Curated by Kevin J. Avery, Senior Research Scholar at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue. Sanford R. Gifford in the Catskills explores the artist’s creative process and for the first time brings the original paintings to a venue just a few miles from the sites that inspired them. Photo © Peter Aaron/OTTO

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Sanford R. Gifford in the Catskills: The Art Trail


You’ve seen the paintings, now get out there and see the views. Follow the footsteps of 19th century Hudson River School artist Sanford R. Gifford and trace the origins of America’s first major art movement back to nature. These famous scenes are now on view in the New Studio gallery, but the originals are out there in the wilderness for you to experience.

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The 12th Annual Raymond Beecher Memorial Lecture

Tues, Oct, 24 


A reception with cocktails and light hors d’oeuvres followed by remarks by Elizabeth Mankin Kornhauser, Ph.D. Alice Pratt Brown Curator of American Paintings and Sculpture, The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Hosted by the Thomas Cole Board of Trustees and Connie Simmons and James Krugman. This is a ticketed event with limited availability.

Painting: Thomas Cole, View from Mount Holyoke, Northampton, Massachusetts, after a Thunderstorm—The Oxbow,  1836. Oil on canvas, 51 ½ x 76 in. Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of Mrs. Russell Sage, 1908, 08.228.


Catskill Fall First Fridays


Join us in celebrating all that the Village of Catskill has to offer on Friday, September 1 and Friday, October 6. Fall First Fridays will include free admission to the historic site, extended hours at local shops within walking distance, and special events including a fashion show, live music, a dance festival, and a local farmers market.

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Picturing the Sublime

Exhibition: Sunday, September 24

Submission deadline: Tuesday, September 5

Show your artwork in Picturing the Sublime, the 6th annual exhibition of postcard-sized original artworks celebrating the Catskills and the Hudson River Valley. Open to all ages.

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2017 Community Day and First Annual Skywalk Arts Festival

Free Admission

Sun, Sept 24, 1 – 4 pm

The Thomas Cole Site is buzzing and everyone is invited to join in the fun for free on Sunday, September 24th from 1pm to 4pm, rain or shine. Community day is presented in partnership with the first ever Skywalk Arts Festival at the Rip Van Winkle Bridge in collaboration with the Thomas Cole Site and Olana State Historic Site. Guests can explore Thomas Cole’s home and studios, the special exhibitions Sanford R. Gifford in the Catskills, and KIKI SMITH / From the Creek, and the immersive installation The Parlors. The event will feature the annual open call exhibition Postcards from the Trail, as well as games, demonstrations, refreshments, and activities for the whole family.

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Kids Paint Out!

Free Admission

Sun, Aug 20, 10 am – 1 pm

Kids of all ages are invited to the Thomas Cole Site to explore the home and studios of Thomas Cole and to paint the landscapes that captivated him. This event is free and all necessary materials will be provided. Advance reservations are appreciated, but drop-ins on the day of the event are welcome. Children must be accompanied by an adult. For questions or reservations contact

The Thomas Cole Site Annual Summer Party

Sat, June 24 from 7 -11 pm

152 William Street, Catskill, NY 12414

Join us for a spectacular evening under the stars on the banks of the Hudson River in Catskill, NY to benefit the Thomas Cole National Historic Site. The event features sweeping views of the Hudson River, elegant cocktails, a magnificent seated dinner and the opportunity to bid on thrilling get-aways and other fabulous auction items.

Information & Tickets Auction Items

Opening Lecture “Sanford R. Gifford in the Catskills”

Dr. Kevin Avery

Sun, Apr 30 at 2 pm

Join Dr. Kevin Avery, Senior Research Scholar at The Metropolitan Museum of Art and curator of the Thomas Cole Site 2017 exhibition “Sanford R. Gifford in the Catskills,” to discuss the exhibition featuring paintings by 19th-Century landscape painter Sanford Gifford, whose work was Inspired by Cole.

Image credit: Sanford Gifford, Ledge on South Mountain, in the Catskills, 1861-62. Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum

Information & Tickets

2017 Opening Day

Free admission

Sun, Apr 30 from 11 am – 2 pm

Join us for Opening Day of our 2017 season. The historic site will offer free admission from 11 am to 2 pm. This special event will include the unveiling of The Parlors in the Main House and the opening of the 2017 New Studio exhibition Sanford R. Gifford in the Catskills curated by Kevin Avery, Senior Research Scholar at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Image credit: Detail of Thomas Cole’s decorative borders in the East Parlor of the artist’s home. 

SUNDAY SALONS: “A Painter’s Paradise”: Thomas Cole and His Transformative Experience in Florence, 1831-32

John F. McGuigan, Jr. 

Sun, Apr 9 at 2 pm

Join independent scholar John McGuigan as he explores the critical twelve months Cole lived and worked in Florence, the place Cole’s biographer called “next to home itself, the happiest place in which he ever lived,” and where he produced some of the finest paintings of his career.

Thomas Cole, View of Florence, 1837. Oil on canvas. 39 11/8 x 63 1/8 inches. Mr. and Mrs. William H. Marlatt Fund, The Cleveland Museum of Art

Information & Tickets

Behind-the-Scenes Tours

Sun, Jan 7, Feb 12, Mar 12 & April 9 at 1 & 3:30 pm

Join us for a sneak preview into the installation of The Parlors, an immersive experience in the newly restored rooms where America’s first major art movement was born. These special tours take place on the second Sunday of each month from January through April on the same days as the Sunday Salons. Opening in May 2017, the Parlors integrates a meticulous historic restoration with interactive audio visual technology to bring to life the two main parlors of Thomas Cole’s home.

Information & Tickets

SUNDAY SALONS: Buried Treasure: Thomas Cole’s Decoration of Cedar Grove

Jean Dunbar, Matthew Mosca

Sun, Mar 12 at 2 pm

Meet the historic interiors experts – Jean Dunbar, of Historic Design, Inc. and Matthew Mosca, of Artifex, Ltd. – as they reveal the story behind the amazing discovery of Thomas Cole’s decorative painted borders on the walls of his home that had been hidden from view for over a century. The borders will be unveiled in May with the completion of the Parlors, an immersive experience in the the newly restored rooms in the Main House.

SUNDAY SALONS: The Influence of the Dutch Golden Age on the Hudson River School

Lloyd DeWitt

Sun, Feb 12 at 2 pm

Join Dr. Lloyd DeWitt, Chief Curator and Irene Leache Curator of European Art at the Chrysler Museum of Art, as he explores the transformational influence of the 17th century Dutch landscape painting on Cole and other Hudson River School artists.

Please note, this lecture did take place despite the inclement weather and there are no plans to reschedule another one at this time.

SUNDAY SALONS: Reinventing Thomas Cole’s Home

Elizabeth Jacks & Alan Wallach

Sun, Jan 8 at 2 pm

In May 2017, the Cole site unveils a project that has been in the making for over a decade, the Parlors Project. Join Elizabeth Jacks, Executive Director of the Cole site and Alan Wallach, Ralph H. Wark Professor of Art and Art History and Professor of American Studies Emeritus at the College of William and Mary, for a sneak preview of this highly innovative installation.

A Holiday Gathering in Thomas Cole’s New Studio

Sat, Dec 10 at 5 pm

Please join us for a special holiday event that will take place in our newest building, the reconstructed “New Studio.” Festive libations will be served starting at 5 pm in the gallery. Guests are then invited to one of six magnificent nearby private homes for a scrumptious holiday dinner, seated around a table with both old friends and new acquaintances. Please note: the dinners for this event are now sold out, but tickets are still available for the cocktail portion of the evening.

Cover art by Carrie Feder, painted on a print of Portrait of Thomas Cole by Asher B. Durand, 1838. Berkshire Museum

Thomas Cole: The Artist as Architect

May through October 2016

In celebration of the reconstruction of Thomas Cole’s Italianate studio at the Thomas Cole National Historic Site, the 2016 exhibition and the accompanying book focus on Cole’s architectural interests, and feature major works by Cole that are rarely seen in this region, including his iconic painting, The Architect’s Dream.


JASON MIDDLEBROOK: Nature Builds / We Cover

August through October 2016

The Thomas Cole National Historic Site is pleased to announce the start of a new series of contemporary installations entitled OPEN HOUSE: Contemporary Art in Conversation with Cole, and the inaugural exhibition, Jason Middlebrook: Nature Builds / We Cover. The artworks are installed throughout the Main House as well as outside on the lawn.


The Raymond Beecher Memorial Lecture

October 9 at 2 pm

Taking Time to Look: The Landscape Films of Peter Hutton

by Scott MacDonald, PhD

Join Scott MacDonald, author of 14 books on independent cinema, as he presents the work of filmmaker Peter Hutton, the foremost Hudson River film artist of the past half-century, who passed away on June 25. For over thirty years MacDonald’s passion has been introducing audiences to the worlds of alternative film and video. The lecture will take place at the Arts Center Theater at the Columbia Greene Community College and a reception will follow. Lecture tickets are $9, or $8 for members.

Guided Hikes

Visit the magnificent nearby views that are depicted in Thomas Cole’s paintings. Our guided hikes are offered from June to October, and each begins at 9 am. During other times you can pick up our guidebookvisit our free online guide at Hudson River School and visit on your own. See suggested itineraries

Guided Hikes will begin again in the spring. 


New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.