Our project’s simple vision is to “enchant young and old alike with the finest carousel in the world, promote the artistry of carousel building by sharing our skills and talents and build community spirit by opening our venue to events and activities.”
Details About The Carousel
This carousel will eventually consist of 52 total animals and, being a menagerie style unit, has a variety ranging from a seven-foot tall giraffe, dogs, cats, zebras, unicorns, dragons, and yes, even lions, tigers, and bears, (oh my!) just to name a few! The animals are situated on three rows, where the outside row (large animals) are “standers” while the middle and inside row animals (medium and small sized respectively) are “jumpers”. Each row will eventually also have two replacement animals and there are five seasonal animals planned, bringing our total to sixty-three animals. As of July of 2022, there are 41 animals on the carousel, with plans to add three more before the year is done.
We are so fortunate to have had a 1909 Dentzel Carousel Corporation mechanism donated to our project. Our initial plan was to purchase a new mechanism that would hold 32 animals. However, Bill Dentzel, great-grandson of Gustav Dentzel the founder of Dentzel Carousel Corporation, heard of our project and arranged for the antique mechanism to be donated to us. The Albany Carousel owes a great debt of gratitude to both Bill Dentzel and the National Carousel Association, the actual owner of the mechanism prior to it being donated to our project through Bill Dentzel.
This classic mechanism took over ten years to restore to working order; every wooden gear tooth, every mirror panel, every motor that turns the carousel platform, has been meticulously restored. The lead engineer on this project is a gentleman by the name of Carl Baker, who with a fine crew of volunteers has done a fantastic job in turning this truckload of “oh my word, what have we gotten ourselves into” into the marvel it is today!
There are many ways to bring joy to our community here at the carousel, from carousel operator to gift shop cashier to cafe attendant to volunteer artisan.
Painting & Carving
Much of the carving takes place by individuals that are complete beginners. For those starting out, we loan out the tools necessary to begin your adventure and set you on the path with a beginning project. We give brief introductory carving instructions and discuss safety, then we turn you loose to create your art!!! Everyone advances at their own pace and there is always somebody around that is willing to answer any question you might have. Soon you will see your carving come to life.
Painting is also performed by volunteers and, like the carvers, they start on beginning projects and advance at their own pace. The painting process is called “stippling”, it is a time-consuming activity but the results are amazing. We use oil paints and document what paints are used on each animal so that when the time comes an animal can be repaired.
We also invite experienced carvers and painters to join us and provide instruction for volunteers. Help with passing on techniques that were once commonplace but now considered “old-world” is a major goal. We provide this instruction to anyone over the age of 14 who demonstrates both the desire to learn and to adhere to our safety standards and general policies.
Museum and Gift Shop
Our museum and gift shop are also staffed by volunteers. Docents who spend time learning about our museum display pieces, informing the visiting public of the history behind those items, and speaking in general about the project are rewarded with the awe that is introduced to those that had no idea about this past art, sometimes docents even give tours of the project if they wish.
We welcome anyone who wishes to volunteer as a Museum Docent, Carousel Operator, Operator Assistant, or Gift Shop volunteer. We will train these individuals about our project and show you how to the job you are interested in. We provide the opportunity to meet new friends and learn new skills that will last a lifetime and even possibly inspire others in your life to participate.