Arrange a Group Visit
The Thomas Cole National Historic Site welcomes groups to visit the historic home, studio, and grounds of Thomas Cole in Catskill, New York. Group tours are welcome by advance appointment during the open season (May – October), on any day of the week except Monday. Between November and April, group tours are of limited availability, generally Tuesday through Friday. Please call us to inquire about the date you would like to visit. In addition to tours of the Main House and studio, groups may enjoy the gardens, a picnic on the lawn, or a visit to related sites nearby such as the Hudson River School Art Trail; Olana, the home of Cole's pupil Frederic Church; Thomas Cole's gravesite, or the Bronck Museum.
Smaller groups (ten or fewer people) are also welcome to visit the Main House during regular hours of operation without appointment. Large groups are encouraged to make advance arrangements.
Whether you contact us by phone, fax, or email, please supply the following information:
- The number of people in your group
- The preferred date and time of your visit
- A contact name
- A contact postal address, phone number, and email address
To make a reservation, or request more information:
- Make your reservation online using our online form.
- Download a Group Reservation Form that you can print and either mail or fax.
- By telephone: 518-943-7465 ext. 5, and ask for Melissa Gavilanes
- By fax: 518-943-0652
Admission to the grounds is free of charge.
Admission to the Main House and Old Studio is by guided tour.
Tickets are $9 per person during regular open hours.
For visits during off hours, admission is $9 per person, plus $25 for each tour guide that we provide. We require at least one tour guide for every 12 people. If your group is very small, your total cost may revert to the minimum, which is $115.
Please email, call or fax in advance for visits during off hours.
About Your Visit
A visit to the Thomas Cole National Historic Site provides entry into the world of the man who became the father of American landscape painting and founder of the Hudson River School of art. Visitors gather in the visitor center where they can view a 15-minute film about Thomas Cole and his creative process. Your guide will then meet you up on the porch of the Main House, where one of the most perfect views of the Catskill Mountain range can be enjoyed. Your tour will enter the 1815 Federal yellow-brick Main House and visit the historic rooms where the Cole family lived, including the West Parlor where Thomas Cole was married, and the upstairs rooms where his children were born and where Cole died in 1848. The Main House also includes gallery rooms, where exhibitions of art from the Hudson River School and beyond are on display. The tour continues into the "Old Studio" where Cole painted many of his best known works, and which still contains Cole's original easels and art-making materials. At the conclusion of the tour, visitors can learn even more by exploring a database of Thomas Cole paintings online at our "learning portal". At their leisure they may browse the museum shop where a variety of items related to Thomas Cole and landscape painting are available for purchase, and read the educational panels and displays before they depart.
Bus Tour Logistics
Bus parking is available in the adjacent parking lot that is shared with Temple Israel, accessible from Spring Street. Please drive all the way into the lot and park in the upper portion. From the parking lot, visitors can proceed to the visitor center (the white barn) and gather there for the commencement of their tour. It is recommended to allow at least one hour for your visit. However, shorter or longer visits can be arranged to accommodate your schedule.
Other Sites For Your Itinerary
Hudson River School Art Trail
Walk into a 19th-century landscape painting! The Hudson River School Art Trail takes you to the sites that inspired America’s first great landscape painters -- Thomas Cole, Frederic Church, Asher B. Durand, Jasper Cropsey, Sanford Gifford and other pioneering American artists -- and to see the landscapes that launched the Hudson River School of art. Visit the Art Trail website for more information: Hudson River School Art Trail.
Olana State Historic Site
Just across the river from Cedar Grove, Olana was the home of Frederic Edwin Church (1826-1900), a major figure in the Hudson River School of landscape painting and the pupil of Thomas Cole. Built high on a hill near Hudson, New York between 1870 and 1891, Olana offers magnificent sweeping vistas of the Catskill Mountains, the Hudson River and the Taconic Hills. Called by Church "the Center of the World," Olana's Persian style house and 250 acres of picturesque grounds are a personal vision of harmony between people and the American landscape.
The Bronck Museum
More than 300 Years of Hudson Valley History are reflected in the cluster of architecturally significant buildings that comprise the Bronck Museum, including the Hudson Valley's oldest home, built in 1663. After eight generations of Broncks had maintained the homestead as a working farm, it came to the Greene County Historical Society, which maintains the Bronck Homestead as its headquarters and as a museum to house valuable historical collections which reflect the region's history.