2022 Special Exhibitions

Each year the Thomas Cole National Historic Site presents special historic and contemporary art exhibitions in the New Studio, Main House, and across the Site. Additionally, we have ongoing presentations and displays of artworks and objects from the Site’s collection and on long-term loan. Check out our past exhibitions.

Historic Exhibition

Thomas Cole’s Studio: Memory and Inspiration

April 30–October 30, 2022 in the New Studio

Curator: Franklin Kelly, Senior Curator and Christiane Ellis Valone Curator of American Paintings at the National Gallery of Art.

This exhibition will reassemble the paintings that were in Thomas Cole’s studio when he died suddenly at the age of 47 in 1848 and explore the significance of the artist’s late work for art in America.

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Contemporary Exhibition

Marc Swanson: A Memorial to Ice at the Dead Deer Disco

July 16–November 27, 2022 in the Main House

Curator: Denise Markonish, Senior Curator and Director of Exhibitions at MASS MoCA

The companion exhibition is on view at MASS MoCA in North Adams, Massachusetts, through January 1, 2023.

A new series of installations by Catskill, NY-based artist Marc Swanson inspired by the artwork and writings of Thomas Cole (1801-1848). The exhibition is jointly presented at the Thomas Cole National Historic Site and MASS MoCA.

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Permanent Exhibition

Mind Upon Nature: Thomas Cole’s Creative Process

In the Main House

This exhibition is an exploration of the Thomas Cole’s working process, ideas, and vision. As evidenced in Cole’s artwork and writing, he was fascinated with art, nature, myth, history, and called for a balance between the natural and built worlds. In this special new installation, visitors will see major paintings by Cole alongside a rich array of the artist’s sketches, the books and objects that inspired him, and the pigments and materials that Cole used to realize his artworks.

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The Pollinator Pavilion

Through Fall 2022 on the Grounds

 Visit the site-specific outdoor public artwork designed by internationally renowned artists Mark Dion and Dana Sherwood. The Pavilion provides a fantastical architectural setting to encounter birds year-round while exploring a nurturing relationship with nature.


About Historic Exhibitions

Each year, The Thomas Cole National Historic Site invites a guest curator to bring a new perspective to Thomas Cole’s work by creating a new exhibition of nineteenth-century art in Thomas Cole’s reconstructed New Studio. The exhibitions bring together artwork from museums and private collections across the country.

About Contemporary Exhibitions

 OPEN HOUSE: Contemporary Art in Conversation with Cole is an annual series of curated contemporary artist installations located within, and in response to, the historic home and studios of artist Thomas Cole. Operating from the concept that all art is contemporary, the program activates conversations between artists across centuries. Exhibitions and artworks have ranged from those that literally reference Thomas’s iconic works to those that expand on issues and themes relevant to him, including art, landscape, history, and balancing the built and natural worlds. OPEN HOUSE projects shed light on the connections between nineteenth century American art and our contemporary moment.

About the Permanent Exhibition

Mind Upon Nature: Thomas Cole’s Creative Process is an exhibition of original objects and works of art on view in the Main House. The exhibition explores Thomas Cole’s working process, ideas, and vision through a rich array of sketches, the books and objects that inspired him, and the pigments and materials he used to realize his artworks. This exhibition is refreshed annually and highlights original objects and artwork from the museum collection and major works on long-term loan. It is located inside the Main House.

Meg DiStefanoOur Special Exhibitions