The New York State Museum is a research-backed institution in Albany, New York, United States. It is located on Madison Avenue, attached to the south side of the Empire State Plaza, facing onto the plaza and towards the New York State Capitol. The museum houses art, artifacts (prehistoric and historic), and ecofacts that reflect New York State’s cultural, natural, and geological development. Operated by the New York State Education Department's Office of Cultural Education, it is the nation's oldest and largest state museum.
Formerly located in the State Education Building, the museum now occupies the first four floors of the Cultural Education Center, a ten story, 1,500,000-square-foot (140,000 m2) building that also houses the New York State Archives and New York State Library.
The New York State Museum was founded in 1836 as the New York State Geological and Natural History Survey, formed in 1836 by Governor William Marcy to document the mineral wealth of the state. In 1870, it was reorganized as the New York State Museum of Natural History under the trusteeship of the regents of the State University. The museum was located in the State Education Building from 1912 until 1976, when it was moved to the Cultural Education Center upon the Empire State Plaza's completion. The current location opened on July 4, 1976, and 15,000 people took part in the ceremony.