ashley.hopkins-benton's picture

Ashley Hopkins-Benton

Senior Historian and Curator, Social History


M.A., History Museum Studies, Cooperstown Graduate Program, State University of New York College at Oneonta, 2008
B.A., Art Studio and Art Education, State University of New York College at Potsdam, 2006

Professional Affiliations
Teaching the Hudson Valley, THVIP (advisory board member)

As curator of social history, my research and collections work primarily focuses on women’s history (especially the history of the fight for women’s rights), LGBTQ+ history, immigration, and religion, as well as the collections areas of sculpture, toys, glassware, and ceramics.

Currently, my research is focused on Albany’s LGBTQ+ community, and specifically the Pride Center of the Capital Region, as well as the political fight for greater rights for the LGBTQ+ community in the City of Albany. I am working to build LGBTQ+ representation in the New York State Museum’s collection, and have been collecting oral histories from community members.

My major exhibition and publication projects include Votes for Women: Celebrating New York’s Suffrage Centennial (2017) and Enterprising Waters: The History and Art of New York’s Erie Canal (2020).

Previously, a large portion of my research has focused on American sculpture, especially the work of Henry DiSpirito, a 20th century Italian immigrant sculptor. My first book, Breathing Life Into Stone: The Sculpture of Henry DiSpirito (Fenimore Art Museum, 2013), told the story of DiSpirito’s direct carving in stone and wood, his immigration to Utica, NY, and his involvement  in the community of Utica and at Utica college. This work also led to the exploration of other stories within the immigrant community in Utica, including the work of folk artist Placido Tobasso.


Hopkins-Benton, A., 2023. Artifact NY: Industrial Sewing Machine. New York History 104, 184 - 188. doi:10.1353/nyh.2023.a902909
Lemak, J.A., Hopkins-Benton, A., 2017. Votes for Women: Celebrating New York's Suffrage Centennial, Excelsior Editions. State University of New York Press, Albany, New York.