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New exhibit highlights history of rail transit in Rensselaer County

Sixteen posters at the Albany-Rensselaer Joseph L. Bruno train station explore the development of railroads in the county, from the Troy, Ballston, and Saratoga Line of the mid-1830s to today’s Amtrak station.

At a ceremony Tuesday, state Assemblyman John McDonald, a Democrat from the 108th District, says the displays will help educate the traveling public.

“Many of the people are from the area, as you know, sometimes the history, sometimes underneath our nose, we don't even know about it,” McDonald said.

The posters were designed by Joey Morse, a recent graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He says it’s thrilling to see his work on display.

“I've been through the design process, but not really from start to finish. And being able to see your actual final product installed is pretty rewarding,” Morse said.

RPI professor Sarah Tack says the project came to be when the Hart Cluett museum's Brendan Kennedy approached the school looking for a collaboration.

"And then Joey came to me. He's an architecture major with a Graphic Design Minor, looking to immerse himself in a project for his last semester, and bing, the light bulb went off," Tack said.

Rensselaer County Historian and Hart Cluett Museum Executive Director Kathy Sheehan says the planning process was exciting.

"It was really interesting when we were planning this and we started out, I think, with maybe about 50 photographs of the probably 15,000 that we have in the collection, and to whittle it all down," Sheehan said.

Panels depict the construction and destruction of the Green Island Bridge in a fire in 1862 and the collapse of a replacement in 1977, for example.

You can see pictures of the exhibit in the gallery at the top of this article.

A 2022 Siena College graduate, Alexander began his journalism career as a sports writer for Siena College's student paper The Promethean, and as a host for Siena's school radio station, WVCR-FM "The Saint." A Cubs fan, Alexander hosts the morning Sports Report in addition to producing Morning Edition. You can hear the sports reports over-the-air at 6:19 and 7:19 AM, and online on WAMC.org. He also speaks Spanish as a second language. To reach him, email ababbie@wamc.org, or call (518)-465-5233 x 190. You can also find him on Twitter/X: @ABabbieWAMC.